Reading 132/341, Nehemiah 6-8

...Nehemiah...

Now it happened, when it was reported to Sanballat and Tobiah, and to Geshem the Arabian, and to the rest of our enemies, that I had built the wall, and that there was no breach left therein; (though to that time I had not set up the doors in the gates;) that Sanballat and Geshem sent to me, saying, Come, let us meet together in one of the villages in the plain of Ono. But they thought to do me mischief. 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 come down to you? They sent to me four times after this sort, and I answered them after the same manner. Then sent Sanballat his servant to me in like manner the fifth time with an open letter in his hand, in which was written, It is reported among the nations, and Gashmu says it, that you and the Jews think to rebel; for which cause you are building the wall, and you would be their king, according to these words. You have also appointed prophets to preach of you at Jerusalem, saying, There is a king in Judah, and now shall it be reported to the king according to these words. Come now therefore, and let us take counsel together. Then I sent to him, saying, There are no such things done as you say, but you feign them out of your own heart. For they all would have made us afraid, saying, Their hands shall be weakened from the work, that it not be done. But now, God, strengthen you my hands. I went to the house of Shemaiah the son of Delaiah the son of Mehetabel, who was shut up, and he said, Let us meet together in the house of God, within the temple, and let us shut the doors of the temple, for they will come to kill you; yes, in the night will they come to kill you. I said, Should such a man as I flee? and who is there that, being such as I, would go into the temple to save his life? I will not go in. I discerned, and behold, God had not sent him; but he pronounced this prophecy against me, and Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him. For this cause was he hired, that I should be afraid, and do so, and sin, and that they might have matter for an evil report, that they might reproach me. 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. So the wall was finished in the twenty-fifth day of the month Elul, in fifty-two days. It happened, when all our enemies heard of it, that all the nations that were about us feared, and were much cast down in their own eyes; for they perceived that this work was worked of our God. Moreover in those days the nobles of Judah sent many letters to Tobiah, and the letters of Tobiah came to them. For 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. Also they spoke of his good deeds before me, and reported my words to him. Tobiah sent letters to put me in fear. Now it happened, when the wall was built, and I had set up the doors, and the porters and the singers and the Levites were appointed, that I gave my brother Hanani, and Hananiah the governor of the castle, charge over Jerusalem; for he was a faithful man, and feared God above many. I said to them, Do not let the gates of Jerusalem be opened until the sun be hot, and while they stand on guard, let them shut the doors, and bar you them, and appoint watches of the inhabitants of Jerusalem, everyone in his watch, and everyone to be over against his house. Now the city was wide and large; but the people were few therein, and the houses were not built. My God put into my heart to gather together the nobles, and the rulers, and the people, that they might be reckoned by genealogy. I found the book of the genealogy of those who came up at the first, and I found written therein, These are the children of the province, who went up out of the captivity of those who had been carried away, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away, and who returned to Jerusalem and to Judah, everyone to his city; who came with Zerubbabel, Jeshua, Nehemiah, Azariah, Raamiah, Nahamani, Mordecai, Bilshan, Mispereth, Bigvai, Nehum, Baanah. The number of the men of the people of Israel, The children of Parosh, two thousand one hundred seventy-two. The children of Shephatiah, three hundred seventy-two. The children of Arah, six hundred fifty-two. The children of Pahathmoab, of the children of Jeshua and Joab, two thousand eight hundred and eighteen. The children of Elam, one thousand two hundred fifty-four. The children of Zattu, eight hundred forty-five. The children of Zaccai, seven hundred sixty. The children of Binnui, six hundred forty-eight. The children of Bebai, six hundred twenty-eight. The children of Azgad, two thousand three hundred twenty-two. The children of Adonikam, six hundred sixty-seven. The children of Bigvai, two thousand sixty-seven. The children of Adin, six hundred fifty-five. The children of Ater, of Hezekiah, ninety-eight. The children of Hashum, three hundred Twenty-eight. The children of Bezai, three hundred twenty-four. The children of Hariph, one hundred twelve. The children of Gibeon, ninety-five. The men of Bethlehem and Netophah, one hundred eighty-eight. The men of Anathoth, one hundred twenty-eight. The men of Beth Azmaveth, forty-two. The men of Kiriath Jearim, Chephirah, and Beeroth, seven hundred forty-three. The men of Ramah and Geba, six hundred twenty-one. The men of Michmas, one hundred and twenty-two. The men of Bethel and Ai, a hundred twenty-three. The men of the other Nebo, fifty-two. The children of the other Elam, one thousand two hundred fifty-four. The children of Harim, three hundred twenty. The children of Jericho, three hundred forty-five. The children of Lod, Hadid, and Ono, seven hundred twenty-one. The children of Senaah, three thousand nine hundred thirty. The priests, The children of Jedaiah, of the house of Jeshua, nine hundred seventy-three. The children of Immer, one thousand fifty-two. The children of Pashhur, one thousand two hundred forty-seven. The children of Harim, one thousand and seventeen. The Levites, the children of Jeshua, of Kadmiel, of the children of Hodevah, seventy-four. The singers, the children of Asaph, one hundred forty-eight. The porters, the children of Shallum, the children of Ater, the children of Talmon, the children of Akkub, the children of Hatita, the children of Shobai, one hundred thirty-eight. The Nethinim, the children of Ziha, the children of Hasupha, the children of Tabbaoth, the children of Keros, the children of Sia, the children of Padon, the children of Lebana, the children of Hagaba, the children of Salmai, the children of Hanan, the children of Giddel, the children of Gahar, the children of Reaiah, the children of Rezin, the children of Nekoda, the children of Gazzam, the children of Uzza, the children of Paseah. The children of Besai, the children of Meunim, the children of Nephushesim, the children of Bakbuk, the children of Hakupha, the children of Harhur, the children of Bazlith, the children of Mehida, the children of Harsha, the children of Barkos, the children of Sisera, the children of Temah, the children of Neziah, the children of Hatipha. The children of Solomon's servants, the children of Sotai, the children of Sophereth, the children of Perida, the children of Jaala, the children of Darkon, the children of Giddel, the children of Shephatiah, the children of Hattil, the children of Pochereth Hazzebaim, the children of Amon. All the Nethinim, and the children of Solomon's servants, were three hundred ninety-two. These were those who went up from Tel Melah, Tel Harsha, Cherub, Addon, and Immer; but they could not show their fathers' houses, nor their seed, whether they were of Israel, The children of Delaiah, the children of Tobiah, the children of Nekoda, six hundred forty-two. Of the priests, the children of Hobaiah, the children of Hakkoz, the children of Barzillai, who took a wife of the daughters of Barzillai the Gileadite, and was called after their name. These sought their register among those who were reckoned by genealogy, but it was not found, therefore were they deemed polluted and put from the priesthood. The governor said to them, that they should not eat of the Most Holy things, until there stood up a priest with Urim and Thummim. The whole assembly together was forty-two thousand three hundred sixty, besides their male servants and their female servants, of whom there were seven thousand three hundred thirty-seven, and they had two hundred forty-five singing men and singing women. Their horses were seven hundred thirty-six; their mules, two hundred forty-five; their camels, four hundred thirty-five; their donkeys, six thousand seven hundred twenty. Some from among the heads of fathers' houses gave to the work. The governor gave to the treasury one thousand darics of gold, fifty basins, and five hundred thirty priests' garments. Some of the heads of fathers' houses gave into the treasury of the work twenty thousand darics of gold, and two thousand two hundred minas of silver. What the rest of the people gave was twenty thousand darics of gold, and two thousand minas of silver, and sixty-seven priests' garments. So the priests, and the Levites, and the porters, and the singers, and some of the people, and the Nethinim, and all Israel, lived in their cities. When the seventh month was come, the children of Israel were in their cities. All the people gathered themselves together as one man into the broad place that was before the water gate, and they spoke to Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses, which the Lord had commanded to Israel. Ezra the priest brought the law before the assembly, both men and women, and all who could hear with understanding, on the first day of the seventh month. He read therein before the broad place that was before the water gate from early morning until midday, in the presence of the men and the women, and of those who could understand, and the ears of all the people were attentive to the book of the law. Ezra the scribe stood on a pulpit of wood, which they had made for the purpose, and beside him stood Mattithiah, and Shema, and Anaiah, and Uriah, and Hilkiah, and Maaseiah, on his right hand, and on his left hand, Pedaiah, and Mishael, and Malchijah, and Hashum, and Hashbaddanah, Zechariah, and Meshullam. Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people; (for he was above all the people;) and when he opened it, all the people stood up, and Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God. All the people answered, Amen, Amen, with the lifting up of their hands, and they bowed their heads, and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground. Also Jeshua, and Bani, and Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodiah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, and the Levites, caused the people to understand the law, and the people stood in their place. They read in the book, in the law of God, distinctly, and they gave the sense, so that they understood the reading. Nehemiah, who was the governor, and Ezra the priest the scribe, and the Levites who taught the people, said to all the people, This day is holy to the Lord your God; do not mourn, nor weep. For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the law. Then he said to them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions to him for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not be grieved; for the joy of the Lord is your strength. So the Levites stilled all the people, saying, Hold your peace, for the day is holy; nor be you grieved. All the people went their way to eat, and to drink, and to send portions, and to make great mirth, because they had understood the words that were declared to them. On the second day were gathered together the heads of fathers' houses of all the people, the priests, and the Levites, to Ezra the scribe, to give attention to the words of the law. They found written in the law, how that the Lord had commanded by Moses, that the children of Israel should dwell in booths in the feast of the seventh month, and that they should publish and proclaim in all their cities, and in Jerusalem, saying, Go forth to the mountain, and get olive branches, and branches of wild olive, and myrtle branches, and palm branches, and branches of thick trees, to make booths, as it is written. So the people went forth, and brought them, and made themselves booths, everyone on the roof of his house, and in their courts, and in the courts of the house of God, and in the broad place of the water gate, and in the broad place of the gate of Ephraim. All the assembly of those who were come again out of the captivity made booths, and lived in the booths; for since the days of Jeshua the son of Nun to that day the children of Israel had not done so. There was very great gladness. Also day by day, from the first day to the last day, he read in the book of the law of God. They kept the feast seven days, and on the eighth day was a solemn assembly, according to the ordinance.

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