Nehemiah 6; Acts 19; Psalm 59

Conspiracy Against Nehemiah

Now when aSanballat and Tobiah and bGeshem the Arab and the rest of our enemies heard that I had built the wall and that there was no breach left in it (calthough up to that time I had not set up the doors in the gates), Sanballat and Geshem sent to me, saying, Come and let us meet together at Hakkephirim in the plain of dOno. But they intended to do me harm. And I sent messengers to them, saying, I am doing a great work and I cannot come down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and come down to you? And they sent to me four times in this way, and I answered them in the same manner. In the same way Sanballat for the fifth time sent his servant to me with an open letter in his hand. In it was written, It is reported among the nations, and Geshem1 also says it, that you and ethe Jews intend to rebel; that is why you are building the wall. And according to these reports you wish to become their king. And you have also set up prophets to proclaim concerning you in Jerusalem, There is a king in Judah. And now the king will hear of these reports. So now come and let us take counsel together. Then I sent to him, saying, No such things as you say have been done, for you are inventing them out of your own mind. For they all wanted to frighten us, thinking, Their hands will drop from the work, and it will not be done. But now, O God,2 strengthen my hands.

10 Now when I went into the house of Shemaiah the son of Delaiah, son of Mehetabel, who was fconfined to his home, he said, Let us meet together in the house of God, within the temple. Let us close the doors of the temple, for they are coming to kill you. They are coming to kill you by night. 11 But I said, Should such a man as I run away? And what man such as I could go into the temple and live?3 I will not go in. 12 And I understood and saw that God had not sent him, gbut he had pronounced the prophecy against me because Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him. 13 For this purpose he was hired, that I should be afraid and act in this way and sin, and so they could give me a bad name in order to taunt me. 14 hRemember Tobiah and Sanballat, O my God, according to these things that they did, and also ithe prophetess Noadiah and the rest of the prophets who wanted to make me afraid.

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. 17 Moreover, in those days the nobles of Judah sent many letters to Tobiah, and Tobiah’s letters came to them. 18 For many in Judah were bound by oath to him, because he was the son-in-law of Shecaniah the son of lArah: and his son Jehohanan had taken the daughter of mMeshullam the son of Berechiah as his wife. 19 Also they spoke of his good deeds in my presence and reported my words to him. And Tobiah sent letters to make me afraid.


Paul in Ephesus

19 And it happened that while tApollos was at Corinth, Paul passed uthrough the inland1 country and came to Ephesus. There he found some disciples. And he said to them, vDid you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed? And they said, No, wwe have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit. And he said, xInto what then were you baptized? They said, Into yJohn’s baptism. And Paul said, yJohn baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people zto believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, Jesus. On hearing this, athey were baptized in2 the name of the Lord Jesus. And bwhen Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and cthey began speaking in tongues and dprophesying. There were about twelve men in all.

And ehe entered the synagogue and for three months spoke boldly, reasoning and persuading them fabout the kingdom of God. gBut when some became stubborn and hcontinued in unbelief, speaking evil of ithe Way before the congregation, he withdrew from them and took the disciples with him, reasoning daily in the hall of Tyrannus.3 10 This continued for jtwo years, so that kall the residents of Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks.

The Sons of Sceva

11 And lGod was doing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, 12 lso that even handkerchiefs or aprons that had touched his skin were carried away to the sick, and their diseases left them and mthe evil spirits came out of them. 13 Then some of the itinerant Jewish nexorcists oundertook to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, pI adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul proclaims. 14 Seven sons of a Jewish high priest named Sceva were doing this. 15 But the evil spirit answered them, qJesus I know, and Paul I recognize, but who are you? 16 And the man in whom was the evil spirit leaped on them, mastered all4 of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. 17 And this became known to all the residents of Ephesus, both Jews and Greeks. And fear fell upon them all, and rthe name of the Lord Jesus was extolled. 18 Also many of those who were now believers came, sconfessing and divulging their practices. 19 And a number of those who had practiced magic arts brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted the value of them and found it came to fifty thousand pieces of silver. 20 So the word of the Lord tcontinued to increase and prevail mightily.

A Riot at Ephesus

21 Now after these events Paul resolved in the Spirit uto pass through vMacedonia and Achaia and wgo to Jerusalem, saying, After I have been there, xI must also see Rome. 22 And having sent into Macedonia two of yhis helpers, zTimothy and Erastus, he himself stayed in Asia afor a while.

23 About that time bthere arose no little disturbance concerning cthe Way. 24 For a man named Demetrius, a silversmith, who made silver shrines of Artemis, dbrought no little business to the craftsmen. 25 dThese he gathered together, with the workmen in similar trades, and said, Men, you know that from this business we have our wealth. 26 And you see and hear that not only in Ephesus but in almost all of Asia this Paul has persuaded and turned away a great many people, esaying that fgods made with hands are not gods. 27 And there is danger not only that this trade of ours may come into disrepute but also that the temple of the ggreat goddess Artemis may be counted as nothing, and that she may even be deposed from her magnificence, she whom all Asia and the world worship.

28 When they heard this they were enraged and were crying out, gGreat is Artemis of the Ephesians! 29 So the city was filled with the confusion, and they rushed together into the theater, dragging with them Gaius and hAristarchus, Macedonians who were Paul’s icompanions in travel. 30 But when Paul wished to go in among the crowd, the disciples would not let him. 31 And even some of the Asiarchs,5 who were friends of his, sent to him and were urging him not to venture into the theater. 32 jNow some cried out one thing, some another, for the assembly was in confusion, and most of them did not know why they had come together. 33 Some of the crowd prompted Alexander, whom the Jews had put forward. And Alexander, kmotioning with his hand, wanted to make a defense to the crowd. 34 But when they recognized that he was a Jew, for about two hours they all cried out with one voice, lGreat is Artemis of the Ephesians!

35 And when the town clerk had quieted the crowd, he said, Men of Ephesus, who is there who does not know that the city of the Ephesians is temple keeper of the great Artemis, and of the sacred stone that fell from mthe sky?6 36 Seeing then that these things cannot be denied, you ought to be quiet and do nothing rash. 37 For you have brought nthese men here who are neither osacrilegious nor blasphemers of our goddess. 38 If therefore Demetrius and the craftsmen with him have a complaint against anyone, the courts are open, and there are pproconsuls. Let them bring charges against one another. 39 But if you seek anything further,7 it shall be settled in the regular assembly. 40 For we really are in danger of being charged with rioting today, since there is no cause that we can give to justify this commotion. 41 And when he had said these things, he dismissed the assembly.


Deliver Me from My Enemies

To the choirmaster: according to xDo Not Destroy. A yMiktam1 of David, zwhen Saul sent men to watch his house in order to kill him.

59  aDeliver me from my enemies, O my God;

bprotect me from those who crise up against me;

deliver me from dthose who work evil,

and save me from ebloodthirsty men.

For behold, they flie in wait for my life;

fierce men gstir up strife against me.

hFor no transgression or sin of mine, O Lord,

for no fault of mine, they run and make ready.

iAwake, come to meet me, and see!

You, jLord God of hosts, are God of Israel.

Rouse yourself to punish all the nations;

spare none of those who treacherously plot evil. Selah

Each evening they kcome back,

howling like dogs

and prowling about the city.

There they are, lbellowing with their mouths

with mswords in their lips

for nWho, they think,2 will hear us?

But you, O Lord, olaugh at them;

you hold all the nations in derision.

O my Strength, I will watch for you,

for you, O God, are pmy fortress.

10  qMy God in his steadfast love3 rwill meet me;

God will let me slook in triumph on my enemies.

11  Kill them not, lest my people forget;

make them totter4 by your power and tbring them down,

O Lord, our ushield!

12  For vthe sin of their mouths, the words of their lips,

let them be trapped in their pride.

For the cursing and lies that they utter,

13  wconsume them in wrath;

consume them till they are no more,

that they may xknow that God rules over Jacob

to ythe ends of the earth. Selah

14  zEach evening they come back,

howling like dogs

and prowling about the city.

15  They awander about for food

and growl if they do not get their fill.

16  But I will sing of your strength;

I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning.

For you have been to me ba fortress

and ca refuge in dthe day of my distress.

17  O my Strength, I will sing praises to you,

for you, O God, bare my fortress,

ethe God who shows me steadfast love.