Nehemiah 5:14-7:73New International Reader's Version (NIRV)
14 And that’s not all. I was appointed as governor of Judah in the 20th year that Artaxerxes was king of Persia. I remained in that position until his 32nd year. During those 12 years, I and my relatives didn’t eat the food that was provided for my table. 15 But there had been governors before me. They had put a heavy load on the people. They had taken a pound of silver from each of them. They had also taken food and wine from them. Their officials had acted like high and mighty rulers over them. But because of my great respect for God, I didn’t act like that. 16 Instead, I spent all my time working on this wall. All my men were gathered there to work on it too. We didn’t receive any land for ourselves.
17 Many people ate at my table. They included 150 Jews and officials. They also included leaders who came to us from the nations that were around us. 18 Each day one ox, six of the best sheep and some birds were prepared for me. Every ten days plenty of wine of all kinds was brought in as well. In spite of all that, I never asked for the food that was provided for my table. That’s because the people were already paying too many taxes.
19 You are my God. Please remember me and help me. Keep in mind everything I’ve done for these people.
Nehemiah’s Enemies Continue to Oppose the Rebuilding
6 Sanballat, Tobiah and Geshem, the Arab, heard about what I had done. So did the rest of our enemies. All of them heard I had rebuilt the wall. In fact, they heard there weren’t any gaps left in it. But up to that time I hadn’t put up the gates at the main entrances to the city. 2 Sanballat and Geshem sent me a message. They said, “Come. Let’s talk with one another. Let’s meet in one of the villages on the plain of Ono.”
But they were planning to harm me. 3 So I sent messengers to them with my answer. I replied, “I’m working on a huge project. So I can’t get away. Why should the work stop while I leave it? Why should I go down and talk with you?” 4 They sent me the same message four times. And I gave them the same answer each time.
5 Sanballat sent his helper to me a fifth time. He brought the same message. He was carrying a letter that wasn’t sealed. 6 It said,
“A report is going around among the nations. Geshem says it’s true. We hear that you and the other Jews are planning to turn against the Persian rulers. And that’s why you are building the wall. It’s also reported that you are about to become their king. 7 People say that you have even appointed prophets to make an announcement about you. In Jerusalem they are going to say, ‘Judah has a king!’ That report will get back to the king of Persia. So come. Let’s meet together.”
8 I sent a reply to Sanballat. I said, “What you are saying isn’t really happening. You are just making it up.”
9 All of them were trying to frighten us. They thought, “Their hands will get too weak to do the work. So it won’t be completed.”
But I prayed to God. I said, “Make my hands stronger.”
10 One day I went to Shemaiah’s house. He was the son of Delaiah. Delaiah was the son of Mehetabel. Shemaiah had shut himself up in his home. He said, “Let’s go to God’s house. Let’s meet inside the temple and close the doors. Some men are coming at night to kill you.”
11 But I said, “Should a man like me run away? Should someone like me go into the temple just to save his life? No! I won’t go!” 12 I realized that God hadn’t sent Shemaiah. Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him. That’s why he had prophesied lies about me. 13 They had hired him to scare me. They wanted me to commit a sin by doing what he said. That would give me a bad name in the community. People would find fault with me and my work.
14 You are my God. Remember what Tobiah and Sanballat have done. Also remember the prophet Noadiah. She and the rest of the prophets have been trying to scare me. 15 So the city wall was completed on the 25th day of the month of Elul. It was finished in 52 days.
Nehemiah’s Enemies Oppose the Completed Wall
16 All our enemies heard about it. All the nations around us became afraid. They weren’t sure of themselves anymore. They realized that our God had helped us finish the work.
17 In those days the nobles of Judah sent many letters to Tobiah. And replies from Tobiah came back to them. 18 Many people in Judah had promised that they would be faithful to him. That’s because he was Shekaniah’s son-in-law. Shekaniah was the son of Arah. Tobiah’s son Jehohanan had married Meshullam’s daughter. Meshullam was the son of Berekiah. 19 Tobiah’s friends kept reporting to me the good things he did. They also kept telling him what I said. And Tobiah himself sent letters to scare me.
7 The wall had been rebuilt. I had put up the gates at the main entrances to the city. The people who guarded the gates were appointed to their positions. So were the musicians and the Levites. 2 I put my brother Hanani in charge of Jerusalem. Hananiah helped him. Hananiah was commander of the fort that was by the temple. Hanani was an honest man. He had more respect for God than most people do. 3 I said to Hanani and Hananiah, “Don’t open the gates of Jerusalem until the hottest time of the day. Tell the men who guard the gates to shut them before they go off duty. Make sure they lock them up tight. Also appoint as guards some people who live in Jerusalem. Station some of them at their appointed places. Station others near their own homes.”
A List of People Who Returned to Judah
4 Jerusalem was large. It had a lot of room. But only a few people lived there. The houses hadn’t been rebuilt yet. 5 So my God gave me the idea and encouraged me to gather the people together. He also encouraged me to gather the nobles and officials together with them. He wanted me to list them by families. I found the family history of those who had been the first to return. Here is what I found written in it.
6 Nebuchadnezzar had taken many Jews away from the land of Judah. He had forced them to go to Babylon as prisoners. Now they returned to Jerusalem and Judah. All of them went back to their own towns. Nebuchadnezzar was king of Babylon. 7 The leaders of the Jews included Zerubbabel, Joshua, Nehemiah, Azariah, Raamiah and Nahamani. They also included Mordecai, Bilshan, Mispereth, Bigvai, Nehum and Baanah.
Here is a list of the men of Israel who returned home.
8 There were 2,172 from the family line of Parosh.
9 There were 372 from Shephatiah.
10 There were 652 from Arah.
11 There were 2,818 from Pahath-Moab through the family line of Jeshua and Joab.
12 There were 1,254 from Elam.
13 There were 845 from Zattu.
14 There were 760 from Zakkai.
15 There were 648 from Binnui.
16 There were 628 from Bebai.
17 There were 2,322 from Azgad.
18 There were 667 from Adonikam.
19 There were 2,067 from Bigvai.
20 There were 655 from Adin.
21 There were 98 from Ater through the family line of Hezekiah.
22 There were 328 from Hashum.
23 There were 324 from Bezai.
24 There were 112 from Hariph.
25 There were 95 from Gibeon.
26 There were 188 from the men of Bethlehem and Netophah.
27 There were 128 from Anathoth.
28 There were 42 from Beth Azmaveth.
29 There were 743 from Kiriath Jearim, Kephirah and Beeroth.
30 There were 621 from Ramah and Geba.
31 There were 122 from Mikmash.
32 There were 123 from Bethel and Ai.
33 There were 52 from the other Nebo.
34 There were 1,254 from the other Elam.
35 There were 320 from Harim.
36 There were 345 from Jericho.
37 There were 721 from Lod, Hadid and Ono.
38 There were 3,930 from Senaah.
39 Here is a list of the priests.
There were 973 from the family line of Jedaiah through the line of Jeshua.
40 There were 1,052 from Immer.
41 There were 1,247 from Pashhur.
42 There were 1,017 from Harim.
43 The Levites belonged to
the family line of Jeshua through Kadmiel through the line of Hodaviah. The total number of men was 74.
44 The musicians belonged to
the family line of Asaph. The total number of men was 148.
45 The men who guarded the temple gates belonged to
the family lines of Shallum, Ater, Talmon, Akkub, Hatita and Shobai. The total number of men was 138.
46 Here is a list of the members of the family lines of the temple servants.
Ziha, Hasupha, Tabbaoth,
47 Keros, Sia, Padon,
48 Lebana, Hagaba, Shalmai,
49 Hanan, Giddel, Gahar,
50 Reaiah, Rezin, Nekoda,
51 Gazzam, Uzza, Paseah,
52 Besai, Meunim, Nephusim,
53 Bakbuk, Hakupha, Harhur,
54 Bazluth, Mehida, Harsha,
55 Barkos, Sisera, Temah,
56 Neziah, Hatipha
57 Here is a list of the members of the family lines of the servants of Solomon.
Sotai, Sophereth, Perida,
58 Jaala, Darkon, Giddel,
59 Shephatiah, Hattil,
60 The total number of the members of the family lines of the temple servants and the servants of Solomon was 392.
61 Many people came up to Judah from the towns of Tel Melah, Tel Harsha, Kerub, Addon and Immer. But they weren’t able to prove that their families belonged to the people of Israel.
62 There were 642 of them from the family lines of
Delaiah, Tobiah and Nekoda.
63 Here is a list of the members of the family lines of the priests.
Hobaiah, Hakkoz and Barzillai. Barzillai had married a daughter of Barzillai from Gilead. So he was also called Barzillai.
64 The priests looked for their family records. But they couldn’t find them. So they weren’t able to serve as priests. They weren’t “clean.” 65 The governor gave them an order. He told them not to eat any of the most sacred food. They had to wait until there was a priest who could use the Urim and Thummim. The priest would use them to get decisions from the Lord.
66 The total number of the entire group that returned was 42,360. 67 That didn’t include their 7,337 male and female slaves. There were also 245 male and female singers. 68 And there were 736 horses, 245 mules, 69 435 camels and 6,720 donkeys.
70 Some of the family leaders helped pay for the work. The governor gave 19 pounds of gold to be added to the temple treasure. He also gave 50 bowls and 530 sets of clothes for the priests. 71 Some of the family leaders gave 375 pounds of gold for the work. They also gave one and a third tons of silver. All of that was added to the temple treasure. 72 The rest of the people gave a total of 375 pounds of gold and one and a fourth tons of silver. They also gave 67 sets of clothes for the priests.
73 The priests and Levites made their homes in their own towns. So did the musicians, the temple servants and the men who guarded the gates. The rest of the Israelites also made their homes in their own towns.
Ezra Reads the Law to the People
The Israelites had made their homes in their towns. In the seventh month,
1 Corinthians 8New International Reader's Version (NIRV)
Food Sacrificed to Statues of Gods
8 Now I want to deal with food sacrificed to statues of gods. We know that “We all have knowledge.” But knowledge makes people proud, while love builds them up. 2 Those who think they know something still don’t know as they should. 3 But whoever loves God is known by God.
4 So then, here is what I say about eating food sacrificed to statues of gods. We know that “a god made by human hands is really nothing at all in the world.” We know that “there is only one God.” 5 There may be so-called gods either in heaven or on earth. In fact, there are many “gods” and many “lords.” 6 But for us there is only one God. He is the Father. All things came from him, and we live for him. And there is only one Lord. He is Jesus Christ. All things came because of him, and we live because of him.
7 But not everyone knows this. Some people still think that statues of gods are real gods. They might eat food sacrificed to statues of gods. When they do, they think of it as food sacrificed to real gods. And because those people have a weak sense of what is right and wrong, they feel guilty. 8 But food doesn’t bring us close to God. We are no worse if we don’t eat. We are no better if we do eat.
9 But be careful how you use your rights. Be sure you don’t cause someone weaker than you to fall into sin. 10 Suppose you, with all your knowledge, are eating in a temple of one of those gods. And suppose someone who has a weak sense of what is right and wrong sees you. Won’t that person become bold and eat what is sacrificed to statues of gods? 11 If so, then your knowledge destroys that weak brother or sister for whom Christ died. 12 Suppose you sin against them in this way. Then you harm their weak sense of what is right and wrong. By doing this, you sin against Christ. 13 So suppose what I eat causes my brother or sister to fall into sin. Then what should I do? I will never eat meat again. In that way, I will not cause them to fall.
Psalm 33:1-11New International Reader's Version (NIRV)
1 You who are godly, sing with joy to the Lord.
4 What the Lord says is right and true.
6 The heavens were made when the Lord commanded it to happen.
Proverbs 21:8-10New International Reader's Version (NIRV)
8 The path of those who are guilty is crooked.
9 It is better to live on a corner of a roof
10 Sinful people long to do evil.
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