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September 2    Scripture

Bible History Online Picture Study Bible  Picture Study Bible with Maps and Background Information

 

Nehemiah 8

1 - All the people gathered themselves together as one man into the wide place that was in front of the water gate; and they spoke to Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses, which Yahweh had commanded to Israel.

2 - 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.

3 - He read from it before the wide place that was in front of the water gate from early morning until midday, in the presence of the men and the women, and of those who could understand. The ears of all the people were attentive to the book of the law.

4 - Ezra the scribe stood on a pulpit of wood, which they had made for the purpose; and beside him stood Mattithiah, Shema, Anaiah, Uriah, Hilkiah, and Maaseiah, on his right hand; and on his left hand, Pedaiah, Mishael, Malchijah, Hashum, Hashbaddanah, Zechariah, and Meshullam.

5 - 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.

6 - Then Ezra blessed Yahweh, the great God.All the people answered, "Amen, Amen," with the lifting up of their hands. They bowed their heads, and worshiped Yahweh with their faces to the ground.

7 - Also Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodiah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, and the Levites, caused the people to understand the law; and the people stayed in their place.

8 - They read in the book, in the law of God, distinctly; and they gave the sense, so that they understood the reading.

9 - Nehemiah, who was the governor, and Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people, said to all the people, "Today is holy to Yahweh your God. Don't mourn, nor weep." For all the people wept when they heard the words of the law.

10 - Then he said to them, "Go your way. Eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to him for whom nothing is prepared, for today is holy to our Lord. Don't be grieved, for the joy of Yahweh is your strength."

11 - So the Levites calmed all the people, saying, "Hold your peace, for the day is holy. Don't be grieved."

12 - All the people went their way to eat, to drink, to send portions, and to celebrate, because they had understood the words that were declared to them.

13 - On the second day, the heads of fathers' households of all the people, the priests, and the Levites were gathered together to Ezra the scribe, to study the words of the law.

14 - They found written in the law how Yahweh had commanded by Moses that the children of Israel should dwell in booths in the feast of the seventh month;

15 - and that they should publish and proclaim in all their cities, and in Jerusalem, saying, "Go out to the mountain, and get olive branches, branches of wild olive, myrtle branches, palm branches, and branches of thick trees, to make temporary shelters, as it is written."

16 - So the people went out, and brought them, and made themselves temporary shelters, everyone on the roof of his house, in their courts, in the courts of God's house, in the wide place of the water gate, and in the wide place of Ephraim's gate.

17 - All the assembly of those who had come back out of the captivity made temporary shelters, 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.

18 - 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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Nehemiah 1 Nehemiah 2 Nehemiah 3 Nehemiah 4 Nehemiah 5
Nehemiah 6 Nehemiah 7 Nehemiah 8 Nehemiah 9 Nehemiah 10
Nehemiah 11 Nehemiah 12 Nehemiah 13


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Nehemiah Images and Notes

The Book of Nehemiah

Nehemiah 1:7-9 - The words of Nehemiah the son of Hachaliah. And it came to pass in the month Chisleu, in the twentieth year, as I was in Shushan the palace, That Hanani, one of my brethren, came, he and [certain] men of Judah; and I asked them concerning the Jews that had escaped, which were left of the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem. And they said unto me, The remnant that are left of the captivity there in the province [are] in great affliction and reproach: the wall of Jerusalem also [is] broken down, and the gates thereof are burned with fire.

Nehemiah 13:1-3 - On that day they read in the book of Moses in the audience of the people; and therein was found written, that the Ammonite and the Moabite should not come into the congregation of God for ever; Because they met not the children of Israel with bread and with water, but hired Balaam against them, that he should curse them: howbeit our God turned the curse into a blessing. Now it came to pass, when they had heard the law, that they separated from Israel all the mixed multitude.

The Old Testament - A Brief Overview

Bible Survey - Nehemiah
Hebrew Name - Nechemiyah "Nehemiah"
Greek Name - Neemias (Greek form of the Hebrew)
Author - Nehemiah (Ezra and Nehemiah were treated as one book in Jewish Tradition)
Date - From 455-420 BC Approximately
Theme of Nehemiah - The rebuilding of Jerusalem
Types and Shadows - In Nehemiah Jesus is the one who led the captives out

ARCHAEOLOGY

Tomb of Cyrus the Great at Pasargadae

The Tomb of Cyrus at Pasargadae
"O man, whoever you are and wherever you come from, for I know that you will come--I am Cyrus, son of Cambyses, who founded the Empire of the Persians and was king of the East. Do not grudge me this spot of earth which covers my body." - Cyrus

This tomb of the great Persian ruler, Cyrus, was discovered in 1951 at the ruins of Pasargadae (south-central Iran). Over 2500 years old, the tomb is in decent condition, made of white limestone and stands a total of 36 feet high. The tomb itself is 18 feet high resting on a 6 level base, also 18 feet high. It was built like a Ziggurat with Ionian and Lydian features. There is a small entrance and double doors leading to a room with no windows which once contained the "golden sarcophagus" of Cyrus, it is now an empty shell. Five huge stones make up its roof, which was slanted (gabled) to shed heavy rains. These Nordic gables were the architectural style of lands far to the north. The inscription was seen and recorded by Plutarch in AD 90.


Summary of The Book of Nehemiah

In Jewish tradition the books of Ezra and Nehemiah are regarded as one book, and it appears that they were originally two books because of the identical material in Ezra 2 and Nehemiah 7. Nehemiah made his journey to Jerusalem in about 445 BC, and he was not a priest or a scribe like Ezra was but he was a governor with authority given to him by the Persian king Artaxerxes to rebuild the walls and the city of Jerusalem for the Jewish people. He was originally cupbearer for the king of Persia (Nehemiah 2:1). Nehemiah completed the task in 52 days despite all the opposition from the foreigners who it settled in the land of Judah during the captivity.

The book of Nehemiah shows how God fulfilled his words written by the prophets concerning the return of the people of Israel from 70 years of captivity, and returned again to the land of their inheritance. In order to accomplish his divine will he change the hearts of the great kings of the ancient world, Cyrus Darius and Artaxerxes of Persia. He also worked through leaders like Joshua Zerubbabel Haggai Zechariah Ezra and Nehemiah in order to rebuild the wall of the city of Jerusalem and reestablish the law of Moses. The books of Ezra and Nehemiah reveal to us the history of the Jews between 536 BC and 430 BC. The book of Nehemiah covers the period from 445 BC for the next 12 years.

Quick Reference Map
Map of Jerusalem Restored by Nehemiah
Map of Jerusalem Restored by Nehemiah (Click to Enlarge)

The contents of the two books may be analyzed as follows :

Outline of the Book of Nehemiah

1 ) Nehemiah's journey to Jerusalem, made possible by Artaxerxes, for the purpose of re-building the wall (Nehemiah 1-2).
2 ) A list of the builders and the repairing of the gate (Nehemiah 3).
3 ) The rebuilding of the wall in spite of op-position led by Sanballat, Tobiah and Geshem (Nehemiah 4:1-7:4).
4 ) The register of those who returned with Zerubbabel (Nehemiah 7).
5 ) The public reading and exposition of the book of the Law (Nehemiah 8).
6 ) The national repentance and the covenant of obedience (Nehemiah 9:1-10 :39).
7 ) Lists of inhabitants (Nehemiah 11:1-12:26).
8 ) Dedication of the wall and organization of the temple services (Nehemiah 12:27-47).
9 ) Nehemiah's reforms of abuses connected with tithes, the sabbath and mixed marriages (Nehemiah 13).

In order to gain a complete picture of the history of this period, these two books should be examined also with the writings of the prophets Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi.

Quick Reference Maps - Nehemiah

Jerusalem Rebuilt by Nehemiah - The book of Nehemiah records in the third chapter a description of the course of the walls, beginning on the northeast side of Jerusalem and moving counterclockwise. His intention was not to be too exhaustive in the details.

Nehemiah Maps

Zerubbabel and Ezra's Journey to Restore Jerusalem - Zerubbabel, of the house of David heeded the decree of Cyrus to allow the Jews to return and restore Jerusalem and later more Jews including Ezra and Nehemiah returned to Jerusalem.

The Persian Empire in the 6th Century BC - The great rulers of the Persian Empire during the 6th century BC were Cyrus the Great, Cambyses, and Darius I the Great.

The Persian Empire in the 5th Century BC - During the 5th centuries BC the Persian Empire expanded under various rulers: Darius I, Xerxes I (Ahasuerus), and Artaxerxes I.

The First Day. Light.

Nehemiah Resources

The Return From Babylon

More About the Book of Nehemiah
Nehemiah in the Picture Study Bible
Timeline of the Ancient World
Back to the Old Testament
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Bibliography Information
Bible History Online - Picture Study Bible, King James Version. New York: American Bible Society: www.bible-history.com, 1995-2013. Bible History Picture Study Bible. Sep 02, 2014.

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