Nehemiah – Chapter 8

The Bible – Old Testament

Nehemiah

Index

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13.

Nehemiah

Chapter 8

1

Now when the seventh month came, the whole people gathered as one man in the open space before the Water Gate, and they called upon Ezra the scribe to bring forth the book of the law of Moses which the LORD prescribed for Israel.

2

On the first day of the seventh month, therefore, Ezra the priest brought the law before the assembly, which consisted of men, women, and those children old enough to understand.

3

Standing at one end of the open place that was before the Water Gate, he read out of the book from daybreak till midday, in the presence of the men, the women, and those children old enough to understand; and all the people listened attentively to the book of the law.

4

Ezra the scribe stood on a wooden platform that had been made for the occasion; at his right side stood Mattithiah, Shema, Anaiah, Uriah, Hilkiah, and Maaseiah, and on his left Pedaiah, Mishael, Malchijah, Hashum, Hashbaddanah, Zechariah, Meshullam.

5

Ezra opened the scroll so that all the people might see it (for he was standing higher up than any of the people); and, as he opened it, all the people rose.

6

Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God, and all the people, their hands raised high, answered, “Amen, amen!” Then they bowed down and prostrated themselves before the LORD, their faces to the ground.

7

(The Levites Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodiah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, and Pelaiah explained the law to the people, who remained in their places.)

8

Ezra read plainly from the book of the law of God, interpreting it so that all could understand what was read.

9

Then (Nehemiah, that is, His Excellency, and) Ezra the priest-scribe (and the Levites who were instructing the people) said to all the people: “Today is holy to the LORD your God. Do not be sad, and do not weep”-for all the people were weeping as they heard the words of the law.

10

He said further: “Go, eat rich foods and drink sweet drinks, and allot portions to those who had nothing prepared; for today is holy to our LORD. Do not be saddened this day, for rejoicing in the LORD must be your strength!”

11

(And the Levites quieted all the people, saying, “Hush, for today is holy, and you must not be saddened.”)

12

Then all the people went to eat and drink, to distribute portions, and to celebrate with great joy, for they understood the words that had been expounded to them.

13

On the second day, the family heads of the whole people and also the priests and the Levites gathered around Ezra the scribe and examined the words of the law more closely.

14

They found it written in the law prescribed by the LORD through Moses that the Israelites must dwell in booths during the feast of the seventh month;

15

and that they should have this proclamation made throughout their cities and in Jerusalem: “Go out into the hill country and bring in branches of olive trees, oleasters, myrtle, palm, and other leafy trees, to make booths, as the law prescribes.”

16

The people went out and brought in branches with which they made booths for themselves, on the roof of their houses, in their courtyards, in the courts of the house of God, and in the open spaces of the Water Gate and the Gate of Ephraim.

17

Thus the entire assembly of the returned exiles made booths and dwelt in them. Now the Israelites had done nothing of this sort from the days of Jeshua, son of Nun, until this occasion; therefore there was very great joy.

18

Ezra read from the book of the law of God day after day, from the first day to the last. They kept the feast for seven days, and the solemn assembly on the eighth day, as was required.

Index

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13.

Nehemiah – Chapter 7

The Bible – Old Testament

Nehemiah

Index

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13.

Nehemiah

Chapter 7

1

When the wall had been rebuilt, I had the doors set up, and the gatekeepers (and the singers and the Levites) were put in charge of them.

2

Over Jerusalem I placed Hanani, my brother, and Hananiah, the commander of the citadel, who was a more trustworthy and God-fearing man than most.

3

I said to them: “The gates of Jerusalem are not to be opened until the sun is hot, and while the sun is still shining they shall shut and bar the doors. Appoint as watchmen the inhabitants of Jerusalem, some at their watch posts, and others before their own houses.”

4

Now the city was quite wide and spacious, but its population was small, and none of the houses had been rebuilt.

5

When my God had put it into my mind to gather together the nobles, the magistrates, and the common people, and to examine their family records, I came upon the family list of those who had returned in the earliest period. There I found the following written:

6

1 These are the inhabitants of the province who returned from the captivity of the exiles whom Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, had carried away, and who came back to Jerusalem and Judah, each man to his own city

7

(those who returned with Zerubbabel, Jeshua, Nehemiah, Azariah, Raamiah, Nahamani, Mordecai, Bilshan, Mispereth, Bigvai, Nehum, and Baanah). The census of the men of Israel:

8

sons of Parosh, two thousand one hundred and seventy-two;

9

sons of Shephatiah, three hundred and seventy-two;

10

sons of Arah, six hundred and fifty-two;

11

sons of Pahath-moab who were sons of Jeshua and Joab, two thousand eight hundred and eighteen;

12

sons of Elam, one thousand two hundred and fifty-four;

13

sons of Zattu, eight hundred and forty-five;

14

sons of Zaccai, seven hundred and sixty;

15

sons of Binnui, six hundred and forty-eight;

16

sons of Bebai, six hundred and twenty-eight;

17

sons of Azgad, two thousand three hundred and twenty-two;

18

sons of Adonikam, six hundred and sixty-seven;

19

sons of Bigvai, two thousand and sixty-seven;

20

sons of Adin, six hundred and fifty-five;

21

sons of Ater who were sons of Hezekiah, ninety-eight;

22

sons of Hashum, three hundred and twenty-eight;

23

sons of Bezai, three hundred and twenty-four;

24

sons of Hariph, one hundred and twelve;

25

sons of Gibeon, ninety-five;

26

men of Bethlehem and Netophah, one hundred and eighty-eight;

27

men of Anathoth, one hundred and twenty-eight;

28

men of Beth-azmaveth, forty-two;

29

men of Kiriath-jearim, Chephirah, and Beeroth, seven hundred and forty-three;

30

men of Ramah and Geba, six hundred and twenty-one;

31

men of Michmas, one hundred and twenty-two;

32

men of Bethel and Ai, one hundred and twenty-three;

33

men of Nebo, fifty-two;

34

sons of another Elam, one thousand two hundred and fifty-four;

35

sons of Harim, three hundred and twenty;

36

sons of Jericho, three hundred and forty-five;

37

sons of Lod, Hadid, and Ono, seven hundred and twenty-one;

38

sons of Senaah, three thousand nine hundred and thirty.

39

The priests: sons of Jedaiah who were of the house of Jeshua, nine hundred and seventy-three;

40

sons of Immer, one thousand and fifty-two;

41

sons of Pashhur, one thousand two hundred and forty-seven;

42

sons of Harim, one thousand and seventeen.

43

The Levites: sons of Jeshua, Kadmiel, Binnui, Hodeviah, seventy-four.

44

The singers: sons of Asaph, one hundred and forty-eight.

45

The gatekeepers: sons of Shallum, sons of Ater, sons of Talmon, sons of Akkub, sons of Hatita, sons of Shobai, one hundred and thirty-eight.

46

The temple slaves: sons of Ziha, sons of Hasupha, sons of Tabbaoth,

47

sons of Keros, sons of Sia, sons of Padon,

48

sons of Lebana, sons of Hagaba, sons of Shalmai,

49

sons of Hanan, sons of Giddel, sons of Gahar,

50

sons of Reaiah, sons of Rezin, sons of Nekoda,

51

sons of Gazzam, sons of Uzza, sons of Paseah,

52

sons of Besai, sons of the Meunites, sons of the Nephusites,

53

sons of Bakbuk, sons of Hakupha, sons of Harhur,

54

sons of Bazlith, sons of Mehida, sons of Harsha,

55

sons of Barkos, sons of Sisera, sons of Temah,

56

sons of Neziah, sons of Hatipha.

57

Descendants of the slaves of Solomon: sons of Sotai, sons of Sophereth, sons of Perida,

58

sons of Jaala, sons of Darkon, sons of Giddel,

59

sons of Shephatiah, sons of Hattil, sons of Pochereth-hazzebaim, sons of Amon.

60

The total of the temple slaves and the descendants of the slaves of Solomon was three hundred and ninety-two.

61

The following who returned from Tel-melah, Tel-harsha, Cherub, Addon, and Immer were unable to prove that their ancestral houses and their descent were Israelite:

62

sons of Delaiah, sons of Tobiah, sons of Nekoda, six hundred and forty-two.

63

Also, of the priests: sons of Hobaiah, sons of Hakkoz, sons of Barzillai (he had married one of the daughters of Barzillai the Gileadite and became known by his name).

64

These men searched their family records, but their names could not be found written there; hence they were degraded from the priesthood,

65

2 and His Excellency ordered them not to partake of the most holy foods until there should be a priest bearing the Urim and Thummim.

66

The entire assembly taken together came to forty-two thousand three hundred and sixty,

67

not counting their male and female slaves, who were seven thousand three hundred and thirty-seven. They also had two hundred male and female singers. Their horses were seven hundred and thirty-six, their mules two hundred and forty-five,

68

their camels four hundred and thirty-five, their asses six thousand seven hundred and twenty.

69

Certain of the family heads contributed to the service. His Excellency put into the treasury one thousand drachmas of gold, fifty basins, thirty garments for priests, and five hundred minas of silver.

70

Some of the family heads contributed to the treasury for the temple service: twenty thousand drachmas of gold and two thousand two hundred minas of silver.

71

The contributions of the rest of the people amounted to twenty thousand drachmas of gold, two thousand minas of silver, and sixty-seven garments for priests.

72

3 The priests, the Levites, the gatekeepers, the singers, the temple slaves, and all Israel took up residence in their cities.

1 [6-72a] See note on  Ezra 2:1-67.

2 [65, 69] His Excellency: see note on  Ezra 2:63.

3 [ 7:72b- 8:18] To be read after  Ezra 8:36. The gloss mentioning Nehemiah in  Nehemiah 7:9 was inserted in this Ezra section after the dislocation of several parts of Ezra-Nehemiah had occurred. There is no clear evidence of a simultaneous presence of Nehemiah and Ezra in Jerusalem;  Nehemiah 12:26;  12:36 are also scribal glosses.

Index

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13.

Nehemiah – Chapter 6

The Bible – Old Testament

Nehemiah

Index

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13.

Nehemiah

Chapter 6

1

When it had been reported to Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem the Arab, and our other enemies that I had rebuilt the wall and that there was no breach left in it (though up to that time I had not yet set up the doors in the gates),

2

Sanballat and Geshem sent me this message: “Come, let us hold council together at Caphirim in the plain of Ono.” They were planning to do me harm.

3

However, I sent messengers to them with this reply: “I am engaged in a great enterprise and am unable to come down; why should the work stop, while I leave it to come down to you?”

4

Four times they sent me this same proposal, and each time I gave the same reply.

5

Then, the fifth time, Sanballat sent me the same message by one of his servants, who bore an unsealed letter

6

containing this text: “Among the nations it has been reported – Geshem is witness to this – that you and the Jews are planning a rebellion; that for this reason you are rebuilding the wall; and that you are to be their king” – and so on.

7

“Also, that you have set up prophets in Jerusalem to proclaim you king of Judah. Now, since matters like these must reach the ear of the king, come, let us hold council together.”

8

I sent him this answer: “Nothing of what you report has taken place; rather, it is the invention of your own mind.”

9

They were all trying to frighten us, thinking, “Their hands will slacken in the work, and it will never be completed.” But instead, I now redoubled my efforts.

10

I went to the house of Shemaiah, son of Delaiah, son of Mehetabel, who was unable to go about, and he said: “Let us meet in the house of God, inside the temple building; let us lock the doors of the temple. For men are coming to kill you; by night they are coming to kill you.”

11

My answer was: “A man like me take flight? Can a man like me enter the temple to save his life? I will not go!”

12

For on consideration it was plain to me that God had not sent him; rather, because Tobiah and Sanballat had bribed him, he voiced this prophecy concerning me

13

that I might act on it out of fear and commit this sin. Then they would have had a shameful story with which to discredit me.

14

Keep in mind Tobiah and Sanballat, O my God, because of these things they did; keep in mind as well Noadiah the prophetess and the other prophets who were trying to frighten me.

15

1 The wall was finished on the twenty-fifth day of Elul; it had taken fifty-two days.

16

When all our enemies had heard of this, and all the nations round about had taken note of it, our enemies lost much face in the eyes of the nations, for they knew that it was with our God’s help that this work had been completed.

17

2 At that same time, however, many letters were going to Tobiah from the nobles of Judah, and Tobiah’s letters were reaching them,

18

for many in Judah were in league with him, since he was the son-in-law of Shecaniah, son of Arah, and his son Jehohanan had married the daughter of Meshullam, son of Berechiah.

19

Thus they would praise his good deeds in my presence and relate to him whatever I said; and Tobiah sent letters trying to frighten me.

1 [15] Elul: the sixth month (August-September). Fifty-two days: according to Josephus (Antiquities XI, v 8), the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem by Nehemiah took two years and four months, which seems more probable.

2 [17-19] These verses should be read immediately after v 14.

Index

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13.

Nehemiah – Chapter 5

The Bible – Old Testament

Nehemiah

Index

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13.

Nehemiah

Chapter 5

1

Then there rose a great outcry of the common people and their wives against certain of their fellow Jews.

2

Some said: “We are forced to pawn our sons and daughters in order to get grain to eat that we may live.”

3

Others said: “We are forced to pawn our fields, our vineyards, and our houses, that we may have grain during the famine.”

4

Still others said: “To pay the king’s tax we have borrowed money on our fields and our vineyards.

5

And though these are our own kinsmen and our children are as good as theirs, we have had to reduce our sons and daughters to slavery, and violence has been done to some of our daughters! Yet we can do nothing about it, for our fields and our vineyards belong to others.”

6

I was extremely angry when I heard the reasons they had for complaint.

7

1 After some deliberation, I called the nobles and magistrates to account, saying to them, “You are exacting interest from your own kinsmen!” I then rebuked them severely,

8

saying to them: “As far as we were able, we bought back our fellow Jews who had been sold to Gentiles; you, however, are selling your own brothers, to have them bought back by us.” They remained silent, for they could find no answer.

9

I continued: “What you are doing is not good. Should you not walk in the fear of our God, and put an end to the derision of our Gentile enemies?

10

I myself, my kinsmen, and my attendants have lent the people money and grain without charge. Let us put an end to this usury!

11

I ask that you return to them this very day their fields, their vineyards, their olive groves, and their houses, together with the interest on the money, the grain, the wine, and the oil that you have lent them.”

12

They answered: “We will return everything and exact nothing further from them. We will do just what you ask.” Then I called for the priests and had them administer an oath to these men that they would do as they had promised.

13

I also shook out the folds of my garment, saying, “Thus may God shake from his home and his fortune every man who fails to keep this promise, and may he thus be shaken out and emptied!” And the whole assembly answered, “Amen,” and praised the LORD. Then the people did as they had promised.

14

Moreover, from the time that King Artaxerxes appointed me governor in the land of Judah, from his twentieth to his thirty-second year – during these twelve years neither I nor my brethren lived from the governor’s allowance.

15

The earlier governors, my predecessors, had laid a heavy burden on the people, taking from them each day forty silver shekels for their food; then too, their men oppressed the people. But I, because I feared God, did not act thus.

16

Moreover, though I had acquired no land of my own, I did my part in this work on the wall, and all my men were gathered there for the work.

17

Though I set my table for a hundred and fifty persons, Jews and magistrates, as well as those who came to us from the nations round about,

18

and though the daily preparations were made at my expense – one beef, six choice muttons, poultry – besides all kinds of wine in abundance every ten days, despite this I did not claim the governor’s allowance, for the labor lay heavy upon this people.

19

Keep in mind, O my God, in my favor all that I did for this people.

1 [7] You are exacting interest from your own kinsmen!: contrary to the Mosaic law ( Deut 23:20).

Index

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13.

Nehemiah – Chapter 4

The Bible – Old Testament

Nehemiah

Index

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13.

Nehemiah

Chapter 4

1

When Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites, and the Ashdodites heard that the restoration of the walls of Jerusalem was progressing – for the gaps were beginning to be closed up – they became extremely angry.

2

Thereupon they all plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem and thus to throw us into confusion.

3

We prayed to our God and posted a watch against them day and night for fear of what they might do.

4

Meanwhile the Judahites were saying: “Slackened is the bearers’ strength, there is no end to the rubbish; Never shall we be able the wall to rebuild.”

5

Our enemies thought, “Before they are aware of it or see us, we shall come into their midst, kill them, and put an end to the work.”

6

When the Jews who lived near them had come to us from one place after another, and had told us ten times over that they were about to attack us,

7

I stationed guards down below, behind the wall, near the exposed points, assigning them by family groups with their swords, their spears, and their bows.

8

I made an inspection, then addressed these words to the nobles, the magistrates, and the rest of the people: “Have no fear of them! Keep in mind the LORD, who is great and to be feared, and fight for your brethren, your sons and daughters, your wives and your homes.”

9

When our enemies became aware that we had been warned and that God had upset their plan, we all went back, each to his own task at the wall.

10

From that time on, however, only half my able men took a hand in the work, while the other half, armed with spears, bucklers, bows, and breastplates, stood guard behind the whole house of Judah

11

as they rebuilt the wall. The load carriers, too, were armed; each did his work with one hand and held a weapon with the other.

12

Every builder, while he worked, had his sword girt at his side. Also, a trumpeter stood beside me,

13

for I had said to the nobles, the magistrates, and the rest of the people: “Our work is scattered and extensive, and we are widely separated from one another along the wall;

14

wherever you hear the trumpet sound, join us there; our God will fight with us.”

15

Thus we went on with the work, half of the men with spears at the ready, from daybreak till the stars came out.

16

At the same time I told the people to spend the nights inside Jerusalem, each man with his own attendant, so that they might serve as a guard by night and a working force by day.

17

Neither I, nor my kinsmen, nor any of my attendants, nor any of the bodyguard that accompanied me took off his clothes; everyone kept his weapon at his right hand.

Index

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13.

Nehemiah – Chapter 3

The Bible – Old Testament

Nehemiah

Index

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13.

Nehemiah

Chapter 3

1

1 Eliashib the high priest and his priestly brethren took up the task of rebuilding the Sheep Gate. They timbered it and set up its doors, its bolts, and its bars, then continued the rebuilding to the Tower of Hananel.

2

At their side the men of Jericho were rebuilding, and next to them was Zaccur, son of Imri.

3

The Fish Gate was rebuilt by the sons of Hassenaah; they timbered it and set up its doors, its bolts, and its bars.

4

At their side Meremoth, son of Uriah, son of Hakkoz, carried out the work of repair; next to him was Meshullam, son of Berechiah, son of Meshezabel; and next to him was Zadok, son of Baana.

5

Next to him the Tekoites carried out the work of repair; however, some of their outstanding men would not submit to the labor asked by their lords.

6

The New City Gate was repaired by Joiada, son of Paseah; and Meshullam, son of Besodeiah; they timbered it and set up its doors, its bolts, and its bars.

7

At their side were Melatiah the Gibeonite, Jadon the Meronothite, and the men of Gibeon and of Mizpah, who were under the jurisdiction of the governor of West-of-Euphrates.

8

2 Next to them the work of repair was carried out by Uzziel, son of Harhaiah, a member of the goldsmiths’ guild, and at his side was Hananiah, one of the perfumers’ guild. They restored Jerusalem as far as the wall of the public square.

9

Next to them the work of repair was carried out by Rephaiah, son of Hur, leader of half the district of Jerusalem,

10

and at his side was Jedaiah, son of Harumaph, who repaired opposite his own house. Next to him Hattush, son of Hashabneiah, carried out the work of repair.

11

The adjoining sector, as far as the Oven Tower, was repaired by Malchijah, son of Harim, and Hasshub, of Pahath-moab.

12

At their side the work of repair was carried out by Shallum, son of Hallohesh, leader of half the district of Jerusalem, by himself and his daughters.

13

The Valley Gate was repaired by Hanun and the inhabitants of Zanoah; they rebuilt it and set up its doors, its bolts, and its bars. They also repaired a thousand cubits of the wall up to the Dung Gate.

14

The Dung Gate was repaired by Malchijah, son of Rechab, leader of the district of Beth-haccherem; he rebuilt it and set up its doors, its bolts, and its bars.

15

The Spring Gate was repaired by Shallum, son of Colhozeh, leader of the district of Mizpah; he rebuilt it, roofed it over, and set up its doors, its bolts, and its bars. He also repaired the wall of the Aqueduct Pool near the king’s garden as far as the steps that lead down from the City of David.

16

After him, the work of repair was carried out by Nehemiah, son of Azbuk, leader of half the district of Beth-zur, to a place opposite the tombs of David, as far as the artificial pool and the barracks.

17

After him, the Levites carried out the work of repair: Rehum, son of Bani. Next to him, for his own district, was Hashabiah, leader of half the district of Keilah.

18

After him, their brethren carried out the work of repair: Binnui, son of Henadad, leader of half the district of Keilah;

19

next to him Ezer, son of Jeshua, leader of Mizpah, who repaired the adjoining sector, the Corner, opposite the ascent to the arsenal.

20

After him, Baruch, son of Zabbai, repaired the adjoining sector from the Corner to the entrance of the house of Eliashib, the high priest.

21

After him, Meremoth, son of Uriah, son of Hakkoz, repaired the adjoining sector from the entrance of Eliashib’s house to the end of the house.

22

After him, the work of repair was carried out by the priests, men of the surrounding country.

23

After them, Benjamin and Hasshub carried out the repair in front of their houses; after them, Azariah, son of Maaseiah, son of Ananiah, made the repairs alongside his house.

24

After him, Binnui, son of Henadad, repaired the adjoining sector from the house of Azariah to the Corner (that is, to the Angle).

25

After him, Palal, son of Uzai, carried out the work of repair opposite the Corner and the tower projecting from the Upper Palace at the quarters of the guard. After him, Pedaiah, son of Parosh, carried out the work of repair

26

to a point opposite the Water Gate on the east, and the projecting tower.

27

After him, the Tekoites repaired the adjoining sector opposite the great projecting tower, to the wall of Ophel (the temple slaves were dwelling on Ophel).

28

Above the Horse Gate the priests carried out the work of repair, each before his own house.

29

After them Zadok, son of Immer, carried out the repair before his house, and after him the repair was carried out by Shemaiah, son of Shecaniah, keeper of the East Gate.

30

After him, Hananiah, son of Shelemiah, and Hanun, the sixth son of Zalaph, repaired the adjoining sector; after them, Meshullam, son of Berechiah, repaired the place opposite his own lodging.

31

After him, Malchijah, a member of the goldsmiths’ guild, carried out the work of repair as far as the quarters of the temple slaves and the merchants, before the Gate of Inspection and as far as the upper chamber of the Angle.

32

Between the upper chamber of the Angle and the Sheep Gate, the goldsmiths and the merchants carried out the work of repair.

33

When Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, it roused his anger and he became very much incensed. He ridiculed the Jews,

34

saying in the presence of his brethren and the troops of Samaria: “What are these miserable Jews trying to do? Will they complete their restoration in a single day? Will they recover these stones, burnt as they are, from the heaps of dust?”

35

Tobiah the Ammonite was beside him, and he said: “It is a rubble heap they are building. Any fox that attacked it would breach their wall of stones!”

36

Take note, O our God, how we were mocked! Turn back their derision upon their own heads and let them be carried away to a land of captivity!

37

Hide not their crime and let not their sin be blotted out in your sight, for they insulted the builders to their face!

38

We, however, continued to build the wall, which was soon filled in and completed up to half its height. The people worked with a will.

1 [1-32] The construction work on the gates and walls of the city is described in counterclockwise direction, beginning and ending at the Sheep Gate (to the north of the temple). The exact sites of many of the topographical points mentioned are uncertain.

2 [8] Wall of the public square: that is, the section of wall bounding the place of assembly outside the Gate of Ephraim, or New City Gate; cf  Nehemiah 3:6;  8:16.

Index

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13.

Nehemiah – Chapter 2

The Bible – Old Testament

Nehemiah

Index

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13.

Nehemiah

Chapter 2

1

In the month Nisan of the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when the wine was in my charge, I took some and offered it to the king. As I had never before been sad in his presence,

2

the king asked me, “Why do you look sad? If you are not sick, you must be sad at heart.” Though I was seized with great fear,

3

I answered the king: “May the king live forever! How could I not look sad when the city where my ancestors are buried lies in ruins, and its gates have been eaten out by fire?”

4

The king asked me, “What is it, then, that you wish?” I prayed to the God of heaven

5

and then answered the king: “If it please the king, and if your servant is deserving of your favor, send me to Judah, to the city of my ancestors’ graves, to rebuild it.”

6

Then the king, and the queen seated beside him, asked me how long my journey would take and when I would return. I set a date that was acceptable to him, and the king agreed that I might go.

7

I asked the king further: “If it please the king, let letters be given to me for the governors of West-of-Euphrates, that they may afford me safe-conduct till I arrive in Judah;

8

also a letter for Asaph, the keeper of the royal park, that he may give me wood for timbering the gates of the temple-citadel and for the city wall and the house that I shall occupy.” The king granted my requests, for the favoring hand of my God was upon me.

9

Thus I proceeded to the governors of West-of-Euphrates and presented the king’s letters to them. The king also sent with me army officers and cavalry.

10

1 When Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite slave had heard of this, they were very much displeased that someone had come to seek the welfare of the Israelites.

11

When I had arrived in Jerusalem, I first rested there for three days.

12

Then I set out by night with only a few other men (for I had not told anyone what my God had inspired me to do for Jerusalem) and with no other animals but my own mount.

13

2 I rode out at night by the Valley Gate, passed by the Dragon Spring, and came to the Dung Gate, observing how the walls of Jerusalem lay in ruins and its gates had been eaten out by fire.

14

Then I passed over to the Spring Gate and to the King’s Pool. Since there was no room here for my mount to pass with me astride,

15

I continued on foot up the wadi by night, inspecting the wall all the while till I once more reached the Valley Gate, by which I went back in.

16

The magistrates knew nothing of where I had gone or what I was doing, for as yet I had disclosed nothing to the Jews, neither to the priests, nor to the nobles, nor to the magistrates, nor to the others who would be concerned about the matter.

17

Afterward I said to them: “You see the evil plight in which we stand: how Jerusalem lies in ruins and its gates have been gutted by fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, so that we may no longer be an object of derision!”

18

Then I explained to them how the favoring hand of my God had rested upon me, and what the king had said to me. They replied, “Let us be up and building!” And they undertook the good work with vigor.

19

On hearing of this, Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah the Ammonite slave, and Geshem the Arab mocked us and ridiculed us. “What is this that you are about?” they asked. “Are you rebelling against the king?”

20

3 My answer to them was this: “It is the God of heaven who will grant us success. We, his servants, shall set about the rebuilding; but for you there is to be neither share nor claim nor memorial in Jerusalem.”

1 [10] Sanballat the Horonite: the governor of the province of Samaria [ Nehemiah 3:32(33,34)], apparently a native of one of the Beth-horons. A letter from the Jews living at Elephantine in southern Egypt, dated 408-407 B. C., mentions “Delayah and Shelemyah, the sons of Sanballat, the governor of Samaria.” Although his own name was Babylonian-Sin-uballit, i.e., “Sin (the moon god) has given life”-his two sons had names referring to Yahweh. Tobiah, the Ammonite slave: the governor of the province of Ammon in Transjordan. His honorary title, “servant” (in Hebrew, ebed), i.e., of the king, could also be understood as slave, and Nehemiah no doubt meant it in this derogatory sense. The Tobiads remained a powerful family even in Maccabean times ( 2 Macc 3:11). Sanballat and Tobiah, together with Geshem the Arab ( Nehemiah 2:19;  6:1, 2), who was probably in charge of Edom and the regions to the south and southeast of Judah, opposed the rebuilding of Jerusalem’s walls on political grounds; the city was the capital of a rival province.

2 [13-15] Nehemiah left Jerusalem by the Valley Gate near the northwestern end of the old City of David and went south down the Tyropoean Valley toward the Dragon Spring (or the En-rogel of  Joshua 15:7;  18:16;  2 Sam 17:17;  1 Kings 1:9 now known as Job’s Well) at the juncture of the Valley of Hinnom and the Kidron Valley; he then turned north at the Dung Gate (or the Potsherd Gate of  Jeremiah 19:2) at the southern end of the city and proceeded up the wadi, that is, the Kidron Valley, passing the Spring Gate (at the Spring of Gihon) and the King’s Pool (unidentified); finally he turned west and then south to his starting point.

3 [20] Neither share nor claim nor memorial: although Sanballat and Tobiah were Yahwist, Nehemiah would not let them participate in any of the rights of the religious community in Jerusalem.

Index

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13.

Nehemiah – Chapter 1

The Bible – Old Testament

Nehemiah

Index

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13.

Nehemiah

Chapter 1

1

The words of Nehemiah, the son of Hacaliah. 1 In the month Chislev of the twentieth year, I was in the citadel of Susa

2

when Hanani, one of my brothers, came with other men from Judah. I asked them about the Jews, the remnant preserved after the captivity, and about Jerusalem,

3

and they answered me: “The survivors of the captivity there in the province are in great distress and under reproach. Also, the wall of Jerusalem lies breached, and its gates have been gutted with fire.”

4

When I heard this report, I began to weep and continued mourning for several days; I fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.

5

I prayed: “O LORD, God of heaven, great and awesome God, you who preserve your covenant of mercy toward those who love you and keep your commandments,

6

may your ear be attentive, and your eyes open, to heed the prayer which I, your servant, now offer in your presence day and night for your servants the Israelites, confessing the sins which we of Israel have committed against you, I and my father’s house included.

7

Grievously have we offended you, not keeping the commandments, the statutes, and the ordinances which you committed to your servant Moses.

8

But remember, I pray, the promise which you gave through Moses, your servant, when you said: ‘Should you prove faithless, I will scatter you among the nations;

9

but should you return to me and carefully keep my commandments, even though your outcasts have been driven to the farthest corner of the world, I will gather them from there, and bring them back to the place which I have chosen as the dwelling place for my name.’

10

They are your servants, your people, whom you freed by your great might and your strong hand.

11

2 O Lord, may your ear be attentive to my prayer and that of all your willing servants who revere your name. Grant success to your servant this day, and let him find favor with this man”-for I was cupbearer to the king.

1 [1] The first mission of Nehemiah, from the twentieth year of Artaxerxes I, lasted from the spring ( Nehemiah 2:1) of 445 B. C. until 433 B. C. ( Nehemiah 5:14). It is recounted in  Nehemiah 1:1- 6:15;  12:27-43;  6:16- 7:5;  11:1-21 which may be read in that order.

2 [11] Cupbearer to the king: an important official in the royal household. Because Nehemiah could appear in the queen’s presence ( Nehemiah 2:6), it is commonly presumed that he was a eunuch; but this is not necessarily so.

Index

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13.

Nehemiah – Introduction

The Bible – Old Testament

Nehemiah

Index

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13.

Nehemiah

Introduction

Problems common to the combined Books Ezra-Nehemiah have been pointed out in the Introduction to the Book of Ezra. The achievements of the two men were complementary; each helped to make it possible for Judaism to maintain its identity during the difficult days of the Restoration. Nehemiah was the man of action who rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem and introduced necessary administrative reforms. Ezra in turn was the great religious reformer who succeeded in establishing the Torah as the constitution of the returned community.

The biblical sources for Nehemiah’s life and work are the autobiographical portions scattered through the book. They are called the “Memoirs of Nehemiah,” and have been used more extensively and effectively by “the Chronicler” than the “Memoirs of Ezra.” No competent scholar questions the authenticity of Nehemiah’s memoirs. From these and other sources, the picture emerges of a man dedicated to the single purpose of the welfare of his people. Despite temperamental shortcomings, Nehemiah was a man of good practical sense combined with deep faith in God. In view of his selfless service to a community capable of severely testing any leader, we can be indulgent toward his numerous appeals to God to credit him with the work he had done. Nehemiah was a layman, and his generous dedication of talents to the service of God and of God’s people remains an example of undiminished force for laymen today.

The Book of Nehemiah is divided as follows:

I. The Deeds of Nehemiah ( Nehemiah 1:1- 7:72)

II. Promulgation of the Law ( Nehemiah 8:1- 13:31)

Index

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13.

 

Ezra – Chapter 10

The Bible – Old Testament

Ezra

Index

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

Ezra

Chapter 10

1

While Ezra prayed and acknowledged their guilt, weeping and prostrate before the house of God, a very large assembly of Israelites gathered about him, men, women, and children; and the people wept profusely.

2

Then Shecaniah, the son of Jehiel, one of the sons of Elam, made this appeal to Ezra: “We have indeed betrayed our God by taking as wives foreign women of the peoples of the land. Yet even now there remains a hope for Israel.

3

Let us therefore enter into a covenant before our God to dismiss all our foreign wives and the children born of them, in keeping with what you, my lord, advise, and those who fear the commandments of our God. Let the law be observed!

4

Rise, then, for this is your duty! We will stand by you, so have courage and take action!”

5

Ezra rose to his feet and demanded an oath from the chiefs of the priests, from the Levites and from all Israel that they would do as had been proposed; and they swore it.

6

1 Then Ezra retired from his place before the house of God and entered the chamber of Johanan, son of Eliashib, where he spent the night neither eating food nor drinking water, for he was in mourning over the betrayal by the exiles.

7

A proclamation was made throughout Judah and Jerusalem that all the exiles should gather together in Jerusalem,

8

and that whoever failed to appear within three days would, according to the judgment of the leaders and elders, suffer the confiscation of all his possessions, and himself be excluded from the assembly of the exiles.

9

2 All the men of Judah and Benjamin gathered together in Jerusalem within the three-day period: it was in the ninth month, on the twentieth day of the month. All the people, standing in the open place before the house of God, were trembling both over the matter at hand and because it was raining.

10

Then Ezra, the priest, stood up and said to them: “Your unfaithfulness in taking foreign women as wives has added to Israel’s guilt.

11

But now, give praise to the LORD, the God of your fathers, and do his will: separate yourselves from the peoples of the land and from these foreign women.”

12

In answer, the whole assembly cried out with a loud voice: “Yes, it is our duty to do as you say!

13

But the people are numerous and it is the rainy season, so that we cannot remain out-of-doors; besides, this is not a task that can be performed in a single day or even two, for those of us who have sinned in this regard are many.

14

Let our leaders represent the whole assembly; then let all those in our cities who have taken foreign women for wives appear at appointed times, accompanied by the elders and magistrates of each city in question, till we have turned away from us our God’s burning anger over this affair.”

15

Only Jonathan, son of Asahel, and Jahzeiah, son of Tikvah, were against this proposal, with Meshullam and Shabbethai the Levite supporting them.

16

3 The exiles did as agreed. Ezra appointed as his assistants men who were family heads, one for each family, all of them designated by name. They held sessions to examine the matter, beginning with the first day of the tenth month.

17

By the first day of the first month they had passed judgment on all the men who had taken foreign women for wives.

18

Among the priests, the following were found to have taken foreign women for wives: Of the sons of Jeshua, son of Jozadak, and his brethren: Maaseiah, Eliezer, Jarib, and Gedaliah.

19

They pledged themselves to dismiss their wives, and as a guilt-offering for their guilt they gave a ram from the flock.

20

Of the sons of Immer: Hanani and Zebadiah;

21

of the sons of Harim: Maaseiah, Elijah, Shemaiah, Jehiel, and Uzziah;

22

of the sons of Pashhur: Elioenai, Maaseiah, Ishmael, Nethanel, Jozabad, and Elasah.

23

Of the Levites: Jozabad, Shimei, Kelaiah (also called Kelita), Pethahiah, Judah and Eliezer.

24

Of the singers: Eliashib and Zakkur; of the gatekeepers: Shallum, Telem, and Uri.

25

Among the other Israelites: Of the sons of Parosh: Ramiah, Izziah, Malchijah, Mijamin, Eleazar, Malchijah, and Benaiah;

26

of the sons of Elam: Mattaniah, Zechariah, Jehiel, Abdi, Jeremoth, and Elijah;

27

of the sons of Zattu: Elioenai, Eliashib, Mattaniah, Jeremoth, Zabad, and Aziza;

28

of the sons of Bebai: Jehohanan, Hananiah, Zabbai, and Athlai;

29

of the sons of Bani: Meshullam, Malluch, Adaiah, Jashub, Sheal, and Jeremoth;

30

of the sons of Pahath-moab: Adna, Chelal, Benaiah, Maaseiah, Mattaniah, Bezalel, Binnui, and Manasseh;

31

of the sons of Harim: Eliezer, Isshijah, Malchijah, Shemaiah, Shimeon,

32

Benjamin, Malluch, Shemariah;

33

of the sons of Hashum: Mattenai, Mattattah, Zabad, Eliphelet, Jeremai, Manasseh, Shimei;

34

of the sons of Begui: Maadai, Amram, Uel,

35

Benaiah, Bedeiah, Cheluhi,

36

Vaniah, Meremoth, Eliashib,

37

Mattaniah, Mattenai, and Jaasu;

38

of the sons of Binnui: Shimei,

39

Shelemiah, Nathan, and Adaiah;

40

of the sons of Zachai: Shashai, Sharai,

41

Azarel, Shelemiah, Shemariah,

42

Shallum, Amariah, Joseph;

43

of the sons of Nebo: Jeiel, Mattithiah, Zabad, Zebina, Jaddai, Joel, Benaiah.

44

4 All these had taken foreign wives; but they sent them away, both the women and their children.

1 [6] Johanan, son of Eliashib: actually, the grandson of Eliashib; the father of Johanan was Eliashib’s son Joiada ( Nehemiah 12:10-11,  22). Since Eliashib was high priest at the time of Nehemiah ( Nehemiah 3:1,  20-21;  13:4, 7) and Johanan, if not yet high priest, was at least old enough to have his own separate quarters (chamber) in the temple at the time of Ezra, it is practically certain that Nehemiah’s activity in Jerusalem must have preceded that of Ezra.

2 [9] Ninth month: Chislev (November-December), during the “early rains” in Palestine. Since the assembly took place in the open . . . all the people . . . were trembling . . . because it was raining.

3 [16-17] The work of the committee lasted three months, from the first day of the tenth month, Tebet (December-January), to the first day of the first month, Nisan (March-April), of the following Jewish year.

4 [44] The account of the problem of mixed marriages at the time of Ezra is continued in  Nehemiah 9:1-5; this may be read immediately after  Ezra 10:44 though the date given in  Nehemiah 9:1 fits more precisely after  Ezra 10:15; cf  Haggai 2:10-14.

Index

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

Ezra – Chapter 9

The Bible – Old Testament

Ezra

Index

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

Ezra

Chapter 9

1

When these matters had been concluded, the leaders approached me with this report: “Neither the Israelite laymen nor the priests nor the Levites have kept themselves aloof from the peoples of the land and their abominations (Canaanites, Hittites, Perizzites, Jebusites, Ammonites, Moabites, Egyptians, and Amorites);

2

for they have taken some of their daughters as wives for themselves and their sons, and thus they have desecrated the holy race with the peoples of the land. Furthermore, the leaders and rulers have taken a leading part in this apostasy!”

3

When I had heard this thing, I tore my cloak and my mantle, plucked hair from my head and beard, and sat there stupefied.

4

Around me gathered all who were in dread of the sentence of the God of Israel on this apostasy of the exiles, while I remained motionless until the evening sacrifice.

5

Then, at the time of the evening sacrifice, I rose in my wretchedness, and with cloak and mantle torn I fell on my knees, stretching out my hands to the LORD, my God.

6

I said: “My God, I am too ashamed and confounded to raise my face to you, O my God, for our wicked deeds are heaped up above our heads and our guilt reaches up to heaven.

7

1 From the time of our fathers even to this day great has been our guilt, and for our wicked deeds we have been delivered over, we and our kings and our priests, to the will of the kings of foreign lands, to the sword, to captivity, to pillage, and to disgrace, as is the case today.

8

“And now, but a short time ago, mercy came to us from the LORD, our God, who left us a remnant and gave us a stake in his holy place; thus our God has brightened our eyes and given us relief in our servitude.

9

For slaves we are, but in our servitude our God has not abandoned us; rather, he has turned the good will of the kings of Persia toward us. Thus he has given us new life to raise again the house of our God and restore its ruins, and has granted us a fence in Judah and Jerusalem.

10

But now, O our God, what can we say after all this? For we have abandoned your commandments,

11

which you gave through your servants the prophets: the land which you are entering to take as your possession is a land unclean with the filth of the peoples of the land, with the abominations with which they have filled it from one end to the other in their uncleanness.

12

Do not, then, give your daughters to their sons in marriage, and do not take their daughters for your sons. Never promote their peace and prosperity; thus you will grow strong, enjoy the produce of the land, and leave it as an inheritance to your children forever.

13

“After all that has come upon us for our evil deeds and our great guilt-though you, our God, have made less of our sinfulness than it deserved and have allowed us to survive as we do – 

14

shall we again violate your commandments by intermarrying with these abominable peoples? Would you not become so angered with us as to destroy us without remnant or survivor?

15

O LORD, God of Israel, you are just; yet we have been spared, the remnant we are today. Here we are before you in our sins. Because of all this, we can no longer stand in your presence.”

1 [7] After this verse, the next part of the prayer attributed to Ezra is perhaps to be found in  Nehemiah 9:6-37, which may be read as leading up to  Ezra 9:8-15.

Index

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

Ezra – Chapter 8

The Bible – Old Testament

Ezra

Index

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

Ezra

Chapter 8

1

This is the list of the family heads who returned with me from Babylon during the reign of King Artaxerxes:

2

Of the sons of Phinehas, Gershon; of the sons of Ithamar, Daniel; of the sons of David, Hattush,

3

son of Shecaniah; of the sons of Parosh, Zechariah, and with him one hundred and fifty males were enrolled;

4

of the sons of Pahath-moab, Eliehoenai, son of Zerahiah, and with him two hundred males;

5

of the sons of Zattu, Shecaniah, son of Jahaziel, and with him three hundred males;

6

of the sons of Adin, Ebed, son of Jonathan, and with him fifty males;

7

of the sons of Elam, Jeshaiah, son of Athaliah, and with him seventy males;

8

of the sons of Shephatiah, Zebadiah, son of Michael, and with him eighty males;

9

of the sons of Joab, Obadiah, son of Jehiel, and with him two hundred and eighteen males;

10

of the sons of Bani, Shelomith, son of Josiphiah, and with him one hundred and sixty males;

11

of the sons of Bebai, Zechariah, son of Bebai, and with him twenty-eight males;

12

of the sons of Azgad, Johanan, son of Hakkatan, and with him one hundred and ten males;

13

of the sons of Adonikam, younger sons, whose names were Eliphelet, Jeiel, and Shemaiah, and with them sixty males;

14

of the sons of Bigvai, Uthai, son of Zakkur, and with him seventy males.

15

1 I had them assemble by the river that flows toward Ahava, where we made camp for three days. There I perceived that both laymen and priests were present, but I could not discover a single Levite.

16

Therefore I sent Eliezer, Ariel, Shemaiah, Jarib, Elnathan, Nathan, Zechariah, and Meshullam, wise leaders,

17

with a command for Iddo, the leader in the place Casiphia, instructing them what to say to Iddo and his brethren, and to the temple slaves in Casiphia, in order to procure for us ministers for the house of our God.

18

They sent to us – for the favoring hand of our God was upon us – a well-instructed man, one of the sons of Mahli, son of Levi, son of Israel, namely Sherebiah, with his sons and brethren, eighteen men.

19

They also sent us Hashabiah, and with him Jeshaiah, sons of Merari, and their brethren and their sons, twenty men.

20

Of the temple slaves (those whom David and the princes appointed to serve the Levites) there were two hundred and twenty. All these men were enrolled by name.

21

Then I proclaimed a fast, there by the river of Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God to petition from him a safe journey for ourselves, our children, and all our possessions.

22

For I would have been ashamed to ask the king for troops and horsemen to protect us against enemies along the way, since we had said to the king, “The favoring hand of our God is upon all who seek him, but his mighty wrath is against all who forsake him.”

23

So we fasted, and prayed to our God for this, and our petition was granted.

24

Next I selected twelve of the priestly leaders along with Sherebiah, Hashabiah, and ten of their brethren,

25

and I weighed out before them the silver and the gold and the utensils offered for the house of our God by the king, his counselors, his officials, and all the Israelites of that region.

26

I consigned it to them in these amounts: silver, six hundred and fifty talents; silver utensils, one hundred; gold, one hundred talents;

27

twenty golden bowls valued at a thousand darics; two vases of excellent polished bronze, as precious as gold.

28

I addressed them in these words: “You are consecrated to the LORD, and the utensils are also consecrated; the silver and the gold are a free-will offering to the LORD, the God of your fathers.

29

Keep good watch over them till you weigh them out in Jerusalem in the presence of the chief priests and Levites and the family leaders of Israel, in the chambers of the house of the LORD.”

30

The priests and the Levites then took over the silver, the gold, and the utensils that had been weighed out, to bring them to Jerusalem, to the house of our God.

31

We set out for Jerusalem from the river of Ahava on the twelfth day of the first month. The hand of our God remained upon us, and he protected us from enemies and bandits along the way.

32

Thus we arrived in Jerusalem, where we first rested for three days.

33

On the fourth day, the silver, the gold, and the utensils were weighed out in the house of our God and consigned to the priest Meremoth, son of Uriah, who was assisted by Eleazar, son of Phinehas; they were assisted by the Levites Jozabad, son of Jeshua, and Noadiah, son of Binnui.

34

Everything was in order as to number and weight, and the total weight was registered. At that same time,

35

those who had returned from the captivity, the exiles, offered as holocausts to the God of Israel twelve bulls for all Israel, ninety-six rams, seventy-seven lambs, and twelve goats as sin-offerings: all these as a holocaust to the LORD.

36

2 Finally, the orders of the king were presented to the king’s satraps and to the governors in West-of-Euphrates, who gave their support to the people and to the house of God.

1 [15] Ahava: a town at an unidentified site in Babylonia. The river that flowed toward it was probably a branch or canal of the Euphrates.

2 [36] The story of Ezra’s mission is seemingly continued from this point by  Nehemiah 7:72b- 8:18 which may be read before  Ezra 9:1.

Index

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.