Nehemiah 1–2:8; Nehemiah 6:15–16; Nehemiah 13:10–22

Nehemiah Illustration

Nehemiah

Report from Jerusalem

The words of aNehemiah the son of Hacaliah.

Now it happened in the month of bChislev, cin the twentieth year, as I was in dSusa the citadel, that eHanani, one of my brothers, came with certain men from Judah. And I asked them concerning the Jews who escaped, who had survived the exile, and concerning Jerusalem. And they said to me, The remnant there in the province who had survived the exile is in great trouble and fshame. gThe wall of Jerusalem is broken down, hand its gates are destroyed by fire.

Nehemiah’s Prayer

As soon as I heard these words I isat down and wept and mourned for days, and I continued fasting and praying before the jGod of heaven. And I said, O Lord God of heaven, kthe great and awesome God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, llet your ear be attentive and your eyes open, to hear the prayer of your servant that I now pray before you day and night for the people of Israel your servants, mconfessing the sins of the people of Israel, which we have sinned against you. Even nI and my father’s house have sinned. oWe have acted very corruptly against you and have not kept the commandments, the statutes, and the rules pthat you commanded your servant Moses. Remember the word that you commanded your servant Moses, saying, If you are unfaithful, qI will scatter you among the peoples, rbut if you return to me and keep my commandments and do them, sthough your outcasts are in the uttermost parts of heaven, from there I will gather them and bring them tto the place that I have chosen, to make my name dwell there. 10 uThey are your servants and your people, whom you have redeemed by your great power and by your strong hand. 11 O Lord, llet your ear be attentive to the prayer of your servant, and to the prayer of your servants who delight to fear your name, and give success to your servant today, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man.

Now I was vcupbearer to the king.

Nehemiah Sent to Judah

In the month of Nisan, win the twentieth year of King xArtaxerxes, when wine was before him, yI took up the wine and gave it to the king. Now I had not been sad in his presence. And the king said to me, Why is your face sad, seeing you are not sick? This is nothing but zsadness of the heart. Then I was very much afraid. I said to the king, aLet the king live forever! Why should not my face be sad, bwhen the city, the place of my fathers’ graves, lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire? Then the king said to me, What are you requesting? So I prayed cto the God of heaven. And I said to the king, If it pleases the king, and if your servant has found favor in your sight, that you send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers’ graves, that I may rebuild it. And the king said to me (dthe queen sitting beside him), How long will you be gone, and when will you return? So it pleased the king to send me ewhen I had given him a time. And I said to the king, If it pleases the king, let letters be given me fto the governors of the province Beyond the River, that they may let me pass through until I come to Judah, and a letter to Asaph, the keeper of the king’s forest, that he may give me timber to make beams for the gates of gthe fortress of the temple, and for the wall of the city, and for the house that I shall occupy. And the king granted me what I asked, hfor the good hand of my God was upon me.


The Wall Is Finished

15 So the wall was finished on the twenty-fifth day of the month Elul, in fifty-two days. 16 And jwhen all our enemies heard of it, all the nations around us were afraid and fell greatly in their own esteem, kfor they perceived that this work had been accomplished with the help of our God.


10 I also found out that dthe portions of the Levites had not been given to them, so that the Levites and the singers, who did the work, had fled each eto his field. 11 fSo I confronted the officials and said, gWhy is the house of God forsaken? And I gathered them together and set them in their stations. 12 Then all Judah brought hthe tithe of the grain, wine, and oil into the storehouses. 13 And iI appointed as treasurers over the storehouses Shelemiah the priest, Zadok the scribe, and Pedaiah of the Levites, and as their assistant Hanan the son of Zaccur, son of Mattaniah, jfor they were considered reliable, and their duty was to distribute to their brothers. 14 kRemember me, O my God, concerning this, and do not wipe out my good deeds that I have done for the house of my God and for his service.

15 In those days I saw in Judah people treading winepresses lon the Sabbath, and bringing in heaps of grain and loading them on donkeys, and also wine, grapes, figs, and all kinds of loads, mwhich they brought into Jerusalem on the Sabbath day. And nI warned them on the day when they sold food. 16 Tyrians also, who lived in the city, brought in fish and all kinds of goods and sold them on the Sabbath to the people of Judah, in Jerusalem itself! 17 oThen I confronted the nobles of Judah and said to them, What is this evil thing that you are doing, pprofaning the Sabbath day? 18 qDid not your fathers act in this way, and did not our God bring all this disaster1 on us and on this city? Now you are bringing more wrath on Israel by profaning the Sabbath.

19 As soon as it rbegan to grow dark at the gates of Jerusalem before the Sabbath, I commanded that the doors should be shut and gave orders that they should not be opened until after the Sabbath. And I stationed some of my servants at the gates, that no load might be brought in on the Sabbath day. 20 Then the merchants and sellers of all kinds of wares lodged outside Jerusalem once or twice. 21 sBut I warned them and said to them, Why do you lodge outside the wall? If you do so again, I will lay hands on you. From that time on they did not come on the Sabbath. 22 Then I commanded the Levites tthat they should purify themselves and come and guard the gates, to keep the Sabbath day holy. uRemember this also in my favor, O my God, and spare me according to the greatness of your steadfast love.