Through the Bible – Day 168

Bible text(s)

King Artaxerxes sends Nehemiah to Jerusalem

Nehemiah's prayer

1I am Nehemiah son of Hacaliah, and in this book I tell what I have done.

During the month of Chislev in the twentieth year that Artaxerxes ruled Persia, I was in his fortress city of Susa, 2when my brother Hanani came with some men from Judah. So I asked them about the Jews who had escaped from being captives in Babylonia. I also asked them about the city of Jerusalem.

3They told me, “Those captives who have come back are having all kinds of troubles. They are terribly disgraced, Jerusalem's walls are broken down, and its gates have been burnt.”

4When I heard this, I sat down and cried. Then for several days, I mourned; I went without eating to show my sorrow, and I prayed:

5LORD God of heaven, you are great and fearsome. And you faithfully keep your promises to everyone who loves you and obeys your commands. 6I am your servant, so please have mercy on me and answer the prayer that I make day and night for these people of Israel who serve you. I, my family, and the rest of your people have sinned 7by choosing to disobey you and the laws and teachings you gave to your servant Moses.

8Please remember the promise you made to Moses. You told him that if we were unfaithful, you would scatter us among foreign nations. 9But you also said that no matter how far away we were, we could turn to you and start obeying your laws. Then you would bring us back to the place where you have chosen to be worshipped.

10Our LORD, I am praying for your servants—those you rescued by your great strength and mighty power. 11Please answer my prayer and the prayer of your other servants who gladly honour your name. When I serve the king his wine today, make him pleased with me and let him do what I ask.

Nehemiah goes to Jerusalem

1During the month of Nisan in the twentieth year that Artaxerxes was king, I served him his wine, as I had done before. But this was the first time I had ever looked depressed. 2So the king said, “Why do you look so sad? You're not sick. Something must be bothering you.”

Even though I was frightened, 3I answered, “Your Majesty, I hope you live for ever! I feel sad because the city where my ancestors are buried is in ruins, and its gates have been burnt down.”

4The king asked, “What do you want me to do?”

I prayed to the God who rules from heaven. 5Then I told the king, “Sir, if it's all right with you, please send me back to Judah, so that I can rebuild the city where my ancestors are buried.”

6The queen was sitting beside the king when he asked me, “How long will it take, and when will you be back?” The king agreed to let me go, and I told him when I would return.

7Then I asked, “Your Majesty, would you be willing to give me letters to the governors of the provinces west of the River Euphrates, so that I can travel safely to Judah? 8I will need timber to rebuild the gates of the fortress near the temple and more timber to construct the city wall and to build a place for me to live. And so, I would appreciate a letter to Asaph, who is in charge of the royal forest.” God was good to me, and the king did everything I asked.

9The king sent some army officers and cavalry troops along with me, and as I travelled through the Western Provinces, I gave the letters to the governors. 10But when Sanballat from Horon and Tobiah the Ammonite official heard about what had happened, they became very angry, because they didn't want anyone to help the people of Israel.

Rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem

Nehemiah inspects the wall of Jerusalem

11Three days after arriving in Jerusalem, 12I got up during the night and left my house. I took some men with me, without telling anyone what I thought God wanted me to do for the city. The only animal I took was the donkey I rode on. 13I went through Valley Gate on the west, then south past Dragon Spring, before coming to Rubbish Gate. As I rode along, I took a good look at the crumbled walls of the city and the gates that had been torn down and burnt. 14On the east side of the city, I headed north to Fountain Gate and King's Pool, but then the path became too narrow for my donkey. 15So I went down to Kidron Valley and looked at the wall from there. Then before daylight I returned to the city through Valley Gate.

16None of the city officials knew what I had in mind. And I had not even told any of the Jews—not the priests, the leaders, the officials, or any other Jews who would be helping in the work. 17But when I got back, I said to them, “Jerusalem is truly in a mess! The gates have been torn down and burnt, and everything is in ruins. We must rebuild the city wall so that we can again take pride in our city.”

18Then I told them how kind God had been and what the king had said.

Immediately, they replied, “Let's start building now!” So they got everything ready.

19When Sanballat, Tobiah, and Geshem the Arab heard about our plans, they started insulting us and saying, “Just look at you! Do you plan to rebuild the walls of the city and rebel against the king?”

20I answered, “We are servants of the God who rules from heaven, and he will make our work succeed. So we will start rebuilding Jerusalem, but you have no right to any of its property, because you have had no part in its history.”

Rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem

1These are the people who helped rebuild the wall and gates of Jerusalem:

The high priest Eliashib and the other priests rebuilt Sheep Gate and hung its doors. Then they dedicated Sheep Gate and the section of the wall as far as Hundred Tower and Hananel Tower.

2The people of Jericho rebuilt the next section of the wall, and Zaccur son of Imri rebuilt the section after that.

3The family of Hassenaah built Fish Gate. They put the beams in place and hung the doors, then they added metal bolts and wooden beams as locks.

4Meremoth, son of Uriah and grandson of Hakkoz, completed the next section of the wall.

Meshullam, son of Berechiah and grandson of Meshezabel, rebuilt the next section, and Zadok son of Baana rebuilt the section beside that.

5The next section was to be repaired by the men of Tekoa, but their town leaders refused to do the hard work they were assigned.

6Joiada son of Paseah and Meshullam son of Besodeiah restored Ancient Gate. They put the beams in place, hung the doors, and added metal bolts and wooden beams as locks. 7Melatiah from Gibeon, Jadon from Meronoth, and the men from Gibeon and Mizpah rebuilt the next section of the wall. This section reached as far as the house of the governor of West Euphrates Province.

8Uzziel son of Harhaiah the goldsmith rebuilt the next section.

Hananiah the perfume maker rebuilt the section next after that, and it went as far as Broad Wall.

9Rephaiah son of Hur ruled half of the Jerusalem District, and he rebuilt the next section of the wall.

10The section after that was close to the home of Jedaiah son of Harumaph, and he rebuilt it.

Hattush son of Hashabneiah constructed the next section of the wall.

11Malchijah son of Harim and Hasshub son of Pahath Moab rebuilt the section after that, and they also built Oven Tower.

12Shallum son of Hallohesh ruled the other half of the Jerusalem District, and he rebuilt the next section of the wall. Shallum's daughters also worked with him.

13Hanun and the people who lived in the town of Zanoah rebuilt Valley Gate. They hung the doors and added metal bolts and wooden beams as locks. They also rebuilt the wall for four hundred and forty metres, all the way to Rubbish Gate.

14Malchijah son of Rechab ruled the district of Beth-Haccherem, and he rebuilt Rubbish Gate. He hung the doors and added metal bolts and wooden beams as locks.

15Shallum son of Colhozeh ruled the district of Mizpah, and he rebuilt Fountain Gate. He put a cover over the gateway, then hung the doors and added metal bolts and wooden beams as locks. He also rebuilt the wall at Shelah Pool. This section was next to the king's garden and went as far as the stairs leading down from David's City.

16Nehemiah son of Azbuk ruled half of the district of Beth-Zur, and he rebuilt the next section of the wall. It went as far as the royal cemetery, the artificial pool, and the army barracks.

Levites who worked on the wall

17The Levites who worked on the next sections of the wall were Rehum son of Bani; Hashabiah, who ruled half of the district of Keilah and did this work for his district; 18Binnui son of Henadad, who ruled the other half of the district of Keilah; 19Ezer son of Jeshua, who ruled Mizpah, rebuilt the section of the wall that was in front of the armoury and reached to the corner of the wall; 20Baruch son of Zabbai eagerly rebuilt the section of the wall that went all the way to the door of the house of Eliashib the high priest; 21Meremoth, son of Uriah and grandson of Hakkoz, built up to the far end of Eliashib's house.

Priests who worked on the wall

22Here is a list of the priests who worked on the wall:

Priests from the region around Jerusalem rebuilt the next section of the wall.

23Benjamin and Hasshub rebuilt the wall in front of their own houses.

Azariah, who was the son of Maaseiah and the grandson of Ananiah, rebuilt the section in front of his house.

24Binnui son of Henadad rebuilt the section of the wall from Azariah's house to the corner of the wall.

25Palal son of Uzai rebuilt the next section, which began at the corner of the wall and the tower of the upper palace near the court of the guard.

Pedaiah son of Parosh rebuilt the next section of the wall. 26He stopped at a place near the Water Gate on the east and the tower guarding the temple. This was close to a section in the city called Ophel, where the temple workers lived.

Other builders who worked on the wall

27The men from Tekoa rebuilt the next section of the wall, and it was their second section. It started at a place opposite the large tower that guarded the Temple, and it went all the way to the wall near Ophel.

28Some priests rebuilt the next section of the wall. They began working north of Horse Gate, and each one worked on a section in front of his own house.

29Zadok son of Immer rebuilt the wall in front of his house.

Shemaiah son of Shecaniah, who looked after the East Gate, rebuilt the section after that.

30Hananiah and Hanun rebuilt the next section, which was the second section for them.

Meshullam son of Berechiah rebuilt the next section, which happened to be in front of his house.

31Malchijah, a goldsmith, rebuilt the next section, as far as the house used by the temple workers and merchants. This area was opposite Gathering Gate, near the room on top of the wall at the north-east corner.

32The goldsmiths and merchants rebuilt the last section of the wall, which went from the corner room all the way to Sheep Gate.

Nehemiah 1:1-3:32CEVOpen in Bible reader

Life among the Lord's followers

43Everyone was amazed by the many miracles and wonders that the apostles performed. 44All the Lord's followers often met together, and they shared everything they had. 45They would sell their property and possessions and give the money to whoever needed it. 46Day after day they met together in the temple. They broke bread together in different homes and shared their food happily and freely, 47while praising God. Everyone liked them, and each day the Lord added to their group others who were being saved.

Peter and John heal a lame man

1The time of prayer was about three o'clock in the afternoon, and Peter and John were going into the temple. 2A man who had been born lame was being carried to the temple door. Each day he was placed beside this door, known as the Beautiful Gate. He sat there and begged from the people who were going in.

3The man saw Peter and John entering the temple, and he asked them for money. 4But they looked straight at him and said, “Look up at us!”

5The man stared at them and thought he was going to get something. 6But Peter said, “I don't have any silver or gold! But I will give you what I do have. In the name of Jesus Christ from Nazareth, get up and start walking.” 7Peter then took him by the right hand and helped him up.

At once the man's feet and ankles became strong, 8and he jumped up and started walking. He went with Peter and John into the temple, walking and jumping and praising God. 9Everyone saw him walking around and praising God. 10They knew that he was the beggar who had been lying beside the Beautiful Gate, and they were completely surprised. They could not imagine what had happened to the man.

Acts 2:43-3:10CEVOpen in Bible reader
Canadian Bible Societyv.4.21.9
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