Wow, another long one. I feel like when I’m on a roll, the words just flow out of me and onto the page. I loved how I can see the Holy Spirit working through me as I was studying just the background of the Book of Nehemiah. I hadn’t even gotten into the book itself yet.
Today is November 8, 2015 and I’m doing week 4 day 3 of the study guide today.
Continuing in the Book of Nehemiah
1. Nehemiah, the actual person, wrote the book more as a memoir than just a simple non-fiction book. A memoir is a special kind of book because you’re not just stating a bunch of facts. It’s much more personal.
“Memoir: 1. a record of events written by a person having intimate knowledge of them and based on personal observation.” (dictionary.com)
This is interesting. When I scrolled a little further down the screen I saw the “British Dictionary definitions for memoir”
“1. a biography or historical account, esp one based on personal knowledge”
The Voice says, “At the heart of the book of Nehemiah is a memoir, written by Nehemiah himself.” Think about that. He knew the things he wrote about personally, intimately. So when he wrote this book he added a part of himself in to his writing. I can just imagine him sitting at his desk writing everything down as he remembers them, with the help of the Holy Spirit, while tears stream down his face.
For me, that’s how personal writing a memoir can be. The amount of tears I shed while writing, then editing, Mari’s story happened more times than not. Re-living those sixteen days, while important to do, was no easy feat. There were moments I wept. I couldn’t even write anything down due to the intensity with which they came. But the thing to remember is there wasn’t a single moment during the entire process of writing and editing Mari’s book that God wasn’t with me the ENTIRE time. He guided me with the words to write.
In the intro it talks about how when Nehemiah hears how his fellow countrymen are struggling and that “Jerusalem’s walls and gates” have been untouched as they still lie in ruin, he asks if he may go there to help in the process and fortify it. This shows a man who cares deeply enough, he asks and is granted permission to go to Jerusalem, leaving behind everything he had.
“Nehemiah’s story proves that energy, intelligence, unselfishness, and … trust are essential to living faithfully in covenant with God.”
In the NIV, the introduction goes into even more detail about who Nehemiah was.
“Nehemiah saw a problem and was distressed. Instead of complaining or wallowing in self-pity and grief, he took action. [He] knew God wanted him to motivate the Jews to rebuild Jerusalem’s walls, so he left a responsible position in the Persian government to do what God wanted. Nehemiah knew God could use his talents to get the job done.
“From the moment he arrived in Jerusalem, everyone knew who was in charge. He organized, managed, supervised, encouraged, met opposition, confronted injustice, and kept going until the walls were built. Nehemiah was a man of action.”
The rebuilding of the walls became Nehemiah’s burden. He and those who worked on the walls with him were insulted, ridiculed, threatened, and even tried to sabotage the whole project. However, Nehemiah did not let this detour him. He armed himself with prayer as well as encouragement, guard duty, and consolidation.
Another problem arose internally. Rich Jews tried to make money off their fellow countrymen who were working hard on the wall. They used the workers fears and weariness to their advantage.
Nehemiah’s courage allowed him, with the help from God, to confront the “extortioners face to face.” Even when the walls were almost done and Sanballat, Tobiah, and their group of men tried to stop Nehemiah and his workers, “Nehemiah stood firm.” Even with all the adversity it only took him and the workers 52 days to complete the wall.
This didn’t happen in today’s world with all the advanced technology we have today. Fifty-two days is about seven to eight weeks, less than 2 months. this wall wasn’t a simple structure. It was there to protect the city of Jerusalem. I think 52 days would be considerably fast at this time in history. the thing to remember is Nehemiah didn’t do this on his own. God was there the entire time. God wanted this done. It was His will. God can do anything. As the intro says, this was “a tremendous monument to God’s love and faithfulness. enemies and friends alike knew God had helped.” How awesome is that!!
The Book of Nehemiah shows how Nehemiah, the man, was someone God could depend on to do the things He needed him to do in the world.
2. In The Voice, there was nothing listed for Nehemiah.
In the NIV, they have several listings “Index to Notes”
3. Nehemiah 1:1-2
The words of Nehemiah son of Hacaliah: In the month of Kislera in the twentieth year, while I was in the citadel of Susa, Hanani, one of my brothers, came from Judah with some other men, and I questioned them about the Jewish remnant that survived the exile, and also about Jerusalem.
a = Zechariah 7:1
The words of Nehemiah the son of Hacaliah. Now it happened in the month of Chislev, in the twentieth year, while I was in Susa the acapitol, that Hanani, one of my brothers, and asome men from Judah came; and I asked them concerning the Jews who had escaped and had survived the captivity, and about Jerusalem.
1:1a = Or palace or citadel
1:2a = Literally he and some
These are the words of Nehemiah son of Hacaliah. I, Nehemiah, was in the capital city of Susa. It was in the month of Kislev. This was the twentieth year.n One of my brothers named Hanani came from Judah. Some other men were with him. I asked them about the Jews who lived through captivity. And I also asked about Jerusalem.
n = “1:1 twentieth year” This is probably referring to the twentieth year King Artaxerxes I ruled Persia.
I, Nehemiah, am the son of Hacaliah. These are my words. They tell my story. During the winter month of Chislev in the 20th year of Artaxerxes I’s reign, I was in the fortress of Susa when one of my brothers, Hanani, came from Judah along with some other men. I asked them about those Jews who had escaped—who had survived the exile—and about our city, Jerusalem.
a. Of the four version I’ve written down, the NIV is the only one to place a cross-reference for the word Kislev/Chislev or have any footnotes on verses 1 or 2.
In the fourth year of King Darius, the word of the LORD came to Zechariah on the fourth day of the ninth month, the month of Kislev.
In the fourth year of King Darius, the word of the LORD came to Zechariah on the fourth day of the ninth month, which is Chislev.
It was the fourth year of King Darius’s rule. It was on the fourth day of the ninth month, which is called Kislev. The Lord spoke His word to Zechariah.
Two years after I saw the eight visions, on the fourth day of the ninth month (called Chislev) of the fourth year of the reign of Persian King Darius, the word of the Eternal came to me, Zechariah.
b. The only one who says anything about “in the twentieth year” is the ICB version, although all four have this mentioned in the verse.
In the month of Nisan in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes…
And it came about in the month Nisan, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes…
It was the month of Nisan. It was in the twentieth year King Artaxerxes was king.
Four months later, in the spring month of Nisan at the start of our New Year, Artaxerxes had been king 20 years.
c. Of the four versions, the NASB is the only one that has a small note about this.
At that time King Xerxes reigned from his royal throne in the citadel of Susa.
in those days as King Ahasuerus sat on his royal throne which was at the citadel in Susa.
In those days King Xerxes ruled from his capital city of Susa.
In those days King Ahasuerus’ throne was in the citadel of Susa.
In my vision I saw myself in the citadel of Susa in the province of Elam; … I was beside the Ulai Canal.
I looked in the vision, and … I was in the citadel of Susa, which is in the province of Elam, and I looked in the vision and I myself was beside the Ulai Canal.
In my vision I saw myself in the capital city of Susa. [It} is the area of Elam. I was standing by the Ulai River.
In my vision, I … suddenly found myself in the fortress-city of Susa in the providence of Elam. I was standing next to the Ulai Canal.
d. All four versions mentions Nehemiah’s brother.
I put in charge of Jerusalem my brother Hanani, along with Hananiah the commander of the citadel, because he was a man of integrity and feared God more than most men do.
then I put Hanani my brother, and Hananiah the commander of the fortress, in charge of Jerusalem, for he was a faithful man and feared God more than many.
I put my brother Hanani, along with Hananiah, in charge of Jerusalem. Hananiah was commander of the palace. He was honest, and he feared God more than most men.
I placed Hanani, my brother, in charge of Jerusalem, along with Hananiah, the captain of the fortress. Hanani was honest and faithful, and in the fear of God he surpassed most men.
4. The ICB doesn’t have anything extra and my version of the NASB doesn’t either. The Voice has notes throughout that are small summaries of the verses around them.
I think my NIV Life Application Study Bible has the most “help” throughout it.
The Blueprint for the Book of Nehemiah
A. Rebuilding the wall (Neh 1:1-7:73)
1. Nehemiah returns to Jerusalem
2. Nehemiah leads the people
B. Reforming the people (Neh 8:1-13:31)
1. Ezra renews the covenant
2. Nehemiah establishes policies
Megathemes of Nehemiah:
Vision, Prayer, Leadership, Problems, Repentance/Revival
On page 797, there is a table explaining how Nehemiah used prayer.
On page 803, there is a profile of Nehemiah the man.
On page 813, there is a section titled: “Going Home: Two great journeys of Israel.”
For my daughter’s birthday, Keith and I got Athena a new Bible. It is the NIV “True Images: The bible for Teen Girls.”
I decided to see what it had in its introduction. It has two things I really like.
theme to consider: When we place our faith in God, He can help us overcome any opposition or obstacle—no matter how great.
- Sometimes we face the most opposition when we’re trying to do God’s work. That’s when we must rely on our faith (Neh 2:17-20).
- Feel up to building a wall? god can use your gifts to serve Him, just as Shallum’s daughters used their gifts to help out with a construction project that is remembered ages later (Neh 3:12).
- Angry and insulting words from others can make us doubt ourselves. But God is more powerful than any words. (Neh 4:1-15).
genuine compassion Neh 1:1-4
genuine character Neh 4:15-18
genuine persistence Neh 6:1-16
genuine devotion Neh 10:28-29
genuine integrity Neh 13:12-13
Then there are these segments throughout that are called “Truth or Dare.”
a. Did Nehemiah’s request seem too bold? Actually, he showed great faith in stepping out and giving God a chance to work. Real faith means taking real risks. Neh 2:4-5
b. Rejection hurts, especially when people mock you for your faith. don’t take it personally. Their hate is really aimed at God, so let it roll off your back and onto God.Neh 4:4-5
c. Nehemiah didn’t dish out rules that he wasn’t willing to obey himself. If you’re focusing on someone’s imperfections, ask yourself—do you stick to the same high standards? Neh 5:9-10
d. Intimidation is all about getting power. When someone pressures you to doubt what you believe, consider Nehemiah’s solution to combat bullying. Truth is a powerful weapon. Neh 6:1-14
e. Some people think Christianity is just a straight-laced, guilt-trip religion. False! Knowing Jesus brings joy and strength to each day. Do you celebrate your faith or always keep a poker face. Neh 8:9-12
f. Old habits die hard. Deep-rooted sin is equally difficult to root out. Get weeding, girl! You’ll be opening up room to grow into a happier, healthier you. Neh 13:4-27
5. Skipped (did in W4D2)
6. Well, I have almost 16 pages of notes down for the book of Nehemiah. From what I gather I can see his a godly man, quite possibly, just like He called David, a man after God’s own heart.
Nehemiah gave up a very prestigious position in Persia to do God’s will in his life. I mean, how many people today are or would be willing to do what Nehemiah did? I honestly don’t think there are many.
I’d hope that I’d be the kind of person that Nehemiah was, but I honestly have no clue. Would I be strong enough in my faith to do this? All I can say is I hope so.