Old Testament in a year – Day 351

Nehemiah 4: 1 - 6: 19

1But when Sanballat heard that we were building the wall, he was angry, and was very indignant, and mocked the Jews. 2He spoke before his brothers and the army of Samaria, and said, “What are these feeble Jews doing? Will they fortify themselves? Will they sacrifice? Will they finish in a day? Will they revive the stones out of the heaps of rubbish, since they are burnt?”
3Now Tobiah the Ammonite was by him, and he said, “What they are building, if a fox climbed up it, he would break down their stone wall.”
4“Hear, our God, for we are despised. Turn back their reproach on their own head. Give them up for a plunder in a land of captivity. 5Don’t cover their iniquity. Don’t let their sin be blotted out from before you; for they have insulted the builders.”
6So we built the wall; and all the wall was joined together to half its height, for the people had a mind to work.
7But when Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabians, the Ammonites, and the Ashdodites heard that the repairing of the walls of Jerusalem went forward, and that the breaches began to be filled, they were very angry; 8and they all conspired together to come and fight against Jerusalem, and to cause confusion amongst us. 9But we made our prayer to our God, and set a watch against them day and night because of them.
10Judah said, “The strength of the bearers of burdens is fading and there is much rubble, so that we are not able to build the wall.” 11Our adversaries said, “They will not know or see, until we come in amongst them and kill them, and cause the work to cease.”
12When the Jews who lived by them came, they said to us ten times from all places, “Wherever you turn, they will attack us.”
13Therefore I set guards in the lowest parts of the space behind the wall, in the open places. I set the people by family groups with their swords, their spears, and their bows. 14I looked, and rose up, and said to the nobles, to the rulers, and to the rest of the people, “Don’t be afraid of them! Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your houses.”
15When our enemies heard that it was known to us, and God had brought their counsel to nothing, all of us returned to the wall, everyone to his work. 16From that time forth, half of my servants did the work, and half of them held the spears, the shields, the bows, and the coats of mail; and the rulers were behind all the house of Judah. 17Those who built the wall, and those who bore burdens loaded themselves; everyone with one of his hands did the work, and with the other held his weapon. 18Amongst the builders, everyone wore his sword at his side, and so built. He who sounded the trumpet was by me. 19I said to the nobles, and to the rulers and to the rest of the people, “The work is great and widely spread out, and we are separated on the wall, far from one another. 20Wherever you hear the sound of the trumpet, rally there to us. Our God will fight for us.”
21So we did the work. Half of the people held the spears from the rising of the morning until the stars appeared. 22Likewise at the same time I said to the people, “Let everyone with his servant lodge within Jerusalem, that in the night they may be a guard to us, and may labour in the day.” 23So neither I, nor my brothers, nor my servants, nor the men of the guard who followed me took off our clothes. Everyone took his weapon to the water.
1Then there arose a great cry of the people and of their wives against their brothers the Jews. 2For there were some who said, “We, our sons and our daughters, are many. Let us get grain, that we may eat and live.” 3There were also some who said, “We are mortgaging our fields, our vineyards, and our houses. Let us get grain, because of the famine.” 4There were also some who said, “We have borrowed money for the king’s tribute using our fields and our vineyards as collateral. 5Yet now our flesh is as the flesh of our brothers, our children as their children. Behold, we bring our sons and our daughters into bondage to be servants, and some of our daughters have been brought into bondage. It is also not in our power to help it, because other men have our fields and our vineyards.”
6I was very angry when I heard their cry and these words. 7Then I consulted with myself, and contended with the nobles and the rulers, and said to them, “You exact usury, everyone of his brother.” I held a great assembly against them. 8I said to them, “We, after our ability, have redeemed our brothers the Jews that were sold to the nations; and would you even sell your brothers, and should they be sold to us?” Then they held their peace, and found not a word to say. 9Also I said, “The thing that you do is not good. Shouldn’t you walk in the fear of our God because of the reproach of the nations, our enemies? 10I likewise, my brothers and my servants, lend them money and grain. Please let us stop this usury. 11Please restore to them, even today, their fields, their vineyards, their olive groves, and their houses, also the hundredth part of the money, and of the grain, the new wine, and the oil, that you are charging them.”
12Then they said, “We will restore them, and will require nothing of them. We will do so, even as you say.”
Then I called the priests, and took an oath of them, that they would do according to this promise. 13Also I shook out my lap, and said, “So may God shake out every man from his house, and from his labour, that doesn’t perform this promise; even may he be shaken out and emptied like this.”
All the assembly said, “Amen,” and praised the LORD. The people did according to this promise.
14Moreover from the time that I was appointed to be their governor in the land of Judah, from the twentieth year even to the thirty-second year of Artaxerxes the king, that is, twelve years, I and my brothers have not eaten the bread of the governor. 15But the former governors who were before me were supported by the people, and took bread and wine from them, plus forty shekels of silver; yes, even their servants ruled over the people, but I didn’t do so, because of the fear of God. 16Yes, I also continued in the work of this wall. We didn’t buy any land. All my servants were gathered there to the work. 17Moreover there were at my table, of the Jews and the rulers, one hundred and fifty men, in addition to those who came to us from amongst the nations that were around us. 18Now that which was prepared for one day was one ox and six choice sheep. Also fowls were prepared for me, and once in ten days a store of all sorts of wine. Yet for all this, I didn’t demand the governor’s pay, because the bondage was heavy on this people. 19Remember me, my God, for all the good that I have done for this people.
1Now when it was reported to Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem the Arabian, and to the rest of our enemies that I had built the wall, and that there was no breach left in it (though even to that time I had not set up the doors in the gates), 2Sanballat and Geshem sent to me, saying, “Come! Let’s meet together in the villages in the plain of Ono.” But they intended to harm me.
3I sent messengers to them, saying, “I am doing a great work, so that I can’t come down. Why should the work cease while I leave it and come down to you?”
4They sent to me four times like this; and I answered them the same way. 5Then Sanballat sent his servant to me the same way the fifth time with an open letter in his hand, 6in which was written, “It is reported amongst the nations, and Gashmu says it, that you and the Jews intend to rebel. Because of that, you are building the wall. You would be their king, according to these words. 7You have also appointed prophets to proclaim of you at Jerusalem, saying, ‘There is a king in Judah!’ Now it will be reported to the king according to these words. Come now therefore, and let’s take counsel together.”
8Then I sent to him, saying, “There are no such things done as you say, but you imagine them out of your own heart.” 9For they all would have made us afraid, saying, “Their hands will be weakened from the work, that it not be done.” But now, strengthen my hands.
10I went to the house of Shemaiah the son of Delaiah the son of Mehetabel, who was shut in at his home; and he said, “Let us meet together in God’s house, within the temple, and let’s shut the doors of the temple; for they will come to kill you. Yes, in the night they will come to kill you.”
11I said, “Should a man like me flee? Who is there that, being such as I, would go into the temple to save his life? I will not go in.” 12I discerned, and behold, God had not sent him, but he pronounced this prophecy against me. Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him. 13He was hired so that I would be afraid, do so, and sin, and that they might have material for an evil report, that they might reproach me. 14“Remember, my God, Tobiah and Sanballat according to these their works, and also the prophetess Noadiah and the rest of the prophets that would have put me in fear.”
15So the wall was finished in the twenty-fifth day of Elul, in fifty-two days. 16When all our enemies heard of it, all the nations that were around us were afraid, and they lost their confidence; for they perceived that this work was done by our God. 17Moreover in those days the nobles of Judah sent many letters to Tobiah, and Tobiah’s letters came to them. 18For there were many in Judah sworn to him because he was the son-in-law of Shecaniah the son of Arah; and his son Jehohanan had taken the daughter of Meshullam the son of Berechiah as wife. 19Also they spoke of his good deeds before me, and reported my words to him. Tobiah sent letters to put me in fear.
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