Notes: June 19, 2009

Nehemiah. How does he manage?

In some old translations, this is called the second book of Ezra; likely because the history continues. But it seems clear that the book was written by Nehemiah himself (Nehemiah 1:1).

Nehemiah 1

  • When Nehemiah, who was the king’s cupbearer (v. 11), received sad news from his homeland (v. 1-3), he sat down, wept, mourned, fasted and prayed (v. 4).
  • He prayed day and night (v. 6), confessing the sins of his people (v. 6-7) and asking God to remember His promise to be merciful to those who repent (v. 8-11).

Nehemiah 2

  • How long Nehemiah had been in the king’s employ, we don’t know. But we do know that never before this time had he been visibly sad in the presence of the king (v. 1). Was this hypocrisy on Nehemiah’s part, sound judgment and self-control, or was he a generally joyful person?  Which are you?
  • The recognized that Nehemiah was not physically sick (v. 2), and asked the reason for such sorrow of heart.
  • When Nehemiah shared the ill news from his homeland, the king asked Nehemiah what the king could do to help (v. 3-4).
  • Nehemiah prayed before answering (v.4), and asking for a leave of absence (v. 5)
  • Upon condition that Nehemiah return at a set time, the king agreed not only to the sabbatical, but also to help finance the project (6-9).
  • Not everyone was pleased with the king’s decision (v. 10).
  • Nehemiah quietly surveyed the damage to Jerusalem, and then encouraged the people to rebuild (v. 15-18).
  • Unsaved neighbors were not welcome to join in the labor (v. 19-20).