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First Reading: Nehemiah Chapter 5 and 6 and 7
5:1 Nehemiah Deals with Oppression
And there was a great outcry of the people and their wives against their Jewish
brethren. 2 For there were those who said, "We, our sons, and our daughters
are many; therefore let us get grain, that we may eat and live."
3 There were also some who said, "We have mortgaged our lands and vineyards and houses, that we might buy grain because of the famine."
4 There were also those who said, "We have borrowed money for the king's tax on our lands and vineyards. 5 Yet now our flesh is as the flesh of our brethren, our children as their children; and indeed we are forcing our sons and our daughters to be slaves, and some of our daughters have been brought into slavery. It is not in our power to redeem them, for other men have our lands and vineyards."
6 And I became very angry when I heard their outcry and these words. 7 After serious thought, I rebuked the nobles and rulers, and said to them,"Each of you is exacting usury from his brother." So I called a great assembly against them. 8 And I said to them, "According to our ability we have redeemed our Jewish brethren who were sold to the nations. Now indeed, will you even sell your brethren? Or should they be sold to us?"
Then they were silenced and found nothing to say. 9 Then I said, "What you are doing is not good. Should you not walk in the fear of our God because of the reproach of the nations, our enemies? 10 I also, with my brethren and my servants, am lending them money and grain. Please, let us stop this usury! 11 Restore now to them, even this day, their lands, their vineyards, their olive groves, and their houses, also a hundredth of the money and the grain, the new wine and the oil, that you have charged them."
12 So they said, "We will restore it, and will require nothing from them; we will do as you say."
Then I called the priests, and required an oath from them that they would do according to this promise. 13 Then I shook out the fold of my garment and said, "So may God shake out each man from his house, and from his property, who does not perform this promise. Even thus may he be shaken out and emptied."
And all the assembly said, "Amen!" and praised the LORD. Then the people did according to this promise.
14 The Generosity of Nehemiah
Moreover, from the time that I was appointed to be their governor in the land
of Judah, from the twentieth year until the thirty-second year of King Artaxerxes,
twelve years, neither I nor my brothers ate the governor's provisions. 15 But
the former governors who were before me laid burdens on the people, and took
from them bread and wine, besides forty shekels of silver. Yes, even their servants
bore rule over the people, but I did not do so, because of the fear of God.
16 Indeed, I also continued the work on this wall, and we did not buy any land.
All my servants were gathered there for the work.
17 And at my table were one hundred and fifty Jews and rulers, besides those who came to us from the nations around us. 18 Now that which was prepared daily was one ox and six choice sheep. Also fowl were prepared for me, and once every ten days an abundance of all kinds of wine. Yet in spite of this I did not demand the governor's provisions, because the bondage was heavy on this people.
19 Remember me, my God, for good, according to all that I have done for this people.
6:1 Conspiracy Against Nehemiah
Now it happened when Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem the Arab, and the rest of our
enemies heard that I had rebuilt the wall, and that there were no breaks left
in it(though at that time I had not hung the doors in the gates), 2 that Sanballat
and Geshem sent to me, saying, "Come, let us meet together among the villages
in the plain of Ono." But they thought to do me harm.
3 So I sent messengers to them, saying, "I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down. Why should the work cease while I leave it and go down to you?"
4 But they sent me this message four times, and I answered them in the same manner.
5 Then Sanballat sent his servant to me as before, the fifth time, with an open letter in his hand. 6 In it was written:
It is reported among the nations, and Geshem says, that you and the Jews plan to rebel; therefore, according to these rumors, you are rebuilding the wall, that you may be their king. 7 And you have also appointed prophets to proclaim concerning you at Jerusalem, saying, "There is a king in Judah!" Now these matters will be reported to the king. So come, therefore, and let us consult together.
8 Then I sent to him, saying, "No such things as you say are being done, but you invent them in your own heart."
9 For they all were trying to make us afraid, saying, "Their hands will be weakened in the work, and it will not be done."
Now therefore, O God, strengthen my hands.
10 Afterward I came to the house of Shemaiah the son of Delaiah, the son of Mehetabel, who was a secret informer; and he said, "Let us meet together in the house of God, within the temple, and let us close the doors of the temple, for they are coming to kill you; indeed, at night they will come to kill you."
11 And I said, "Should such a man as I flee? And who is there such as I who would go into the temple to save his life? I will not go in!" 12 Then I perceived that God had not sent him at all, but that he pronounced this prophecy against me because Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him. 13 For this reason he was hired, that I should be afraid and act that way and sin, so that they might have cause for an evil report, that they might reproach me.
14 My God, remember Tobiah and Sanballat, according to these their works, and the prophetess Noadiah and the rest of the prophets who would have made me afraid.
15 The Wall Completed
So the wall was finished on the twenty-fifth day of Elul, in fifty-two days.
16 And it happened, when all our enemies heard of it, and all the nations around
us saw these things, that they were very disheartened in their own eyes; for
they perceived that this work was done by our God.
17 Also in those days the nobles of Judah sent many letters to Tobiah, and the letters of Tobiah came to them. 18 For many in Judah were pledged to him, because he was the son-in-law of Shechaniah the son of Arah, and his son Jehohanan had married the daughter of Meshullam the son of Berechiah. 19 Also they reported his good deeds before me, and reported my words to him. Tobiah sent letters to frighten me.
7:1 Then it was, when the wall was built and I had hung the doors, when the
gatekeepers, the singers, and the Levites had been appointed, 2 that I gave
the charge of Jerusalem to my brother Hanani, and Hananiah the leader of the
citadel, for he was a faithful man and feared God more than many.
3 And I said to them, "Do not let the gates of Jerusalem be opened until the sun is hot; and while they stand guard, let them shut and bar the doors; and appoint guards from among the inhabitants of Jerusalem, one at his watch station and another in front of his own house."
4 The Captives Who Returned to Jerusalem
Now the city was large and spacious, but the people in it were few, and the houses were not rebuilt. 5 Then my God put it into my heart to gather the nobles, the rulers, and the people, that they might be registered by genealogy. And I found a register of the genealogy of those who had come up in the first return, and found written in it:
6 These are the people of the province who came back from the captivity, of those who had been carried away, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away, and who returned to Jerusalem and Judah, everyone to his city.
7 Those who came with Zerubbabel were Jeshua, Nehemiah, Azariah, Raamiah, Nahamani, Mordecai, Bilshan, Mispereth, Bigvai, Nehum, and Baanah.
The number of the men of the people of Israel: 8 the sons of Parosh, two thousand one hundred and seventy-two; 9 the sons of Shephatiah, three hundred and seventy-two; 10 the sons of Arah, six hundred and fifty-two; 11 the sons of Pahath-Moab, of the sons of Jeshua and Joab, two thousand eight hundred and eighteen; 12 the sons of Elam, one thousand two hundred and fifty-four; 13 the sons of Zattu, eight hundred and forty-five; 14 the sons of Zaccai, seven hundred and sixty; 15 the sons of Binnui, six hundred and forty-eight; 16 the sons of Bebai, six hundred and twenty-eight; 17 the sons of Azgad, two thousand three hundred and twenty-two; 18 the sons of Adonikam, six hundred and sixty-seven; 19 the sons of Bigvai, two thousand and sixty-seven; 20 the sons of Adin, six hundred and fifty-five; 21 the sons of Ater of Hezekiah, ninety-eight; 22 the sons of Hashum, three hundred and twenty-eight; 23 the sons of Bezai, three hundred and twenty-four; 24 the sons of Hariph, one hundred and twelve; 25 the sons of Gibeon, ninety-five; 26 the men of Bethlehem and Netophah, one hundred and eighty-eight; 27 the men of Anathoth, one hundred and twenty-eight; 28 the men of Beth Azmaveth, forty-two; 29 the men of Kirjath Jearim, Chephirah, and Beeroth, seven hundred and forty-three; 30 the men of Ramah and Geba, six hundred and twenty-one; 31 the men of Michmas, one hundred and twenty-two; 32 the men of Bethel and Ai, one hundred and twenty-three; 33 the men of the other Nebo, fifty-two; 34 the sons of the other Elam, one thousand two hundred and fifty-four; 35 the sons of Harim, three hundred and twenty; 36 the sons of Jericho, three hundred and forty-five; 37 the sons of Lod, Hadid, and Ono, seven hundred and twenty-one; 38 the sons of Senaah, three thousand nine hundred and thirty.
39 The priests: the sons of Jedaiah, of the house of Jeshua, nine hundred and seventy-three; 40 the sons of Immer, one thousand and fifty-two; 41 the sons of Pashhur, one thousand two hundred and forty-seven; 42 the sons of Harim, one thousand and seventeen.
43 The Levites: the sons of Jeshua, of Kadmiel,and of the sons of Hodevah, seventy-four.
44 The singers: the sons of Asaph, one hundred and forty-eight.
45 The gatekeepers: the sons of Shallum,the sons of Ater,the sons of Talmon,the sons of Akkub,the sons of Hatita,the sons of Shobai, one hundred and thirty-eight.
46 The Nethinim: the sons of Ziha,the sons of Hasupha,the sons of Tabbaoth, 47 the sons of Keros,the sons of Sia, the sons of Padon, 48 the sons of Lebana, the sons of Hagaba, the sons of Salmai, 49 the sons of Hanan,the sons of Giddel,the sons of Gahar, 50 the sons of Reaiah,the sons of Rezin,the sons of Nekoda, 51 the sons of Gazzam,the sons of Uzza,the sons of Paseah, 52 the sons of Besai,the sons of Meunim,the sons of Nephishesim, 53 the sons of Bakbuk,the sons of Hakupha,the sons of Harhur, 54 the sons of Bazlith, the sons of Mehida,the sons of Harsha, 55 the sons of Barkos,the sons of Sisera,the sons of Tamah, 56 the sons of Neziah,and the sons of Hatipha.
57 The sons of Solomon's servants: the sons of Sotai,the sons of Sophereth,the sons of Perida, 58 the sons of Jaala,the sons of Darkon,the sons of Giddel, 59 the sons of Shephatiah,the sons of Hattil,the sons of Pochereth of Zebaim,and the sons of Amon. 60 All the Nethinim, and the sons of Solomon's servants, were three hundred and ninety-two.
61 And these were the ones who came up from Tel Melah, Tel Harsha, Cherub, Addon, and Immer, but they could not identify their father's house nor their lineage, whether they were of Israel: 62 the sons of Delaiah,the sons of Tobiah,the sons of Nekoda, six hundred and forty-two; 63 and of the priests: the sons of Habaiah,the sons of Koz, the sons of Barzillai, who took a wife of the daughters of Barzillai the Gileadite, and was called by their name. 64 These sought their listing among those who were registered by genealogy, but it was not found; therefore they were excluded from the priesthood as defiled. 65 And the governor said to them that they should not eat of the most holy things till a priest could consult with the Urim and Thummim.
66 Altogether the whole assembly was forty-two thousand three hundred and sixty, 67 besides their male and female servants, of whom there were seven thousand three hundred and thirty-seven; and they had two hundred and forty-five men and women singers. 68 Their horses were seven hundred and thirty-six, their mules two hundred and forty-five, 69 their camels four hundred and thirty-five, and donkeys six thousand seven hundred and twenty.
70 And some of the heads of the fathers' houses gave to the work. The governor gave to the treasury one thousand gold drachmas, fifty basins, and five hundred and thirty priestly garments. 71 Some of the heads of the fathers' houses gave to the treasury of the work twenty thousand gold drachmas, and two thousand two hundred silver minas. 72 And that which the rest of the people gave was twenty thousand gold drachmas, two thousand silver minas, and sixty-seven priestly garments.
73 So the priests, the Levites, the gatekeepers, the singers, some of the people, the Nethinim, and all Israel dwelt in their cities.
Ezra Reads the Law
When the seventh month came, the children of Israel were in their cities.Second Reading: 1 John Chapter 4
1 John 4
4:1 Love for God and One Another
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are
of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 By this
you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has
come in the flesh is of God, 3 and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus
Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist,
which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.
4 You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. 5 They are of the world. Therefore they speak as of the world, and the world hears them. 6 We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.
7 Knowing God Through Love
(cf. John 3:16)
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9 In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
12 Seeing God Through Love
No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us,
and His love has been perfected in us. 13 By this we know that we abide in Him,
and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. 14 And we have seen and
testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world. 15 Whoever
confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16
And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and
he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.
17 The Consummation of Love
Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the
day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. 18 There is no fear
in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But
he who fears has not been made perfect in love. 19 We love Him because He first
20 Obedience by Faith
If someone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? 21 And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.Bible Background
BOOKS OF THE BIBLE
Part 2 of 2
The book of Nehemiah can be outlined as follows:
"So I purified the priests and the Levites of everything foreign, and assigned them duties, each to his own task. I also made provision for contributions of wood at designated times, and for the firstfruits. Remember me with favor, O my God." Nehemiah 13:30-31 (NIV)
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