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Nehemiah 7-9The Message (MSG)

The Wall Rebuilt: Names and Numbers

1-2 After the wall was rebuilt and I had installed the doors, and the security guards, the singers, and the Levites were appointed, I put my brother Hanani, along with Hananiah the captain of the citadel, in charge of Jerusalem because he was an honest man and feared God more than most men.

I gave them this order: “Don’t open the gates of Jerusalem until the sun is up. And shut and bar the gates while the guards are still on duty. Appoint the guards from the citizens of Jerusalem and assign them to posts in front of their own homes.”

The city was large and spacious with only a few people in it and the houses not yet rebuilt.

God put it in my heart to gather the nobles, the officials, and the people in general to be registered. I found the genealogical record of those who were in the first return from exile. This is the record I found:

6-60 These are the people of the province who returned from the captivity of the Exile, the ones Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon had carried off captive; they came back to Jerusalem and Judah, each going to his own town. They came back in the company of Zerubbabel, Jeshua, Nehemiah, Azariah, Raamiah, Nahamani, Mordecai, Bilshan, Mispereth, Bigvai, Nehum, and Baanah.

The numbers of the men of the People of Israel by families of origin:

Parosh, 2,172

Shephatiah, 372

Arah, 652

Pahath-Moab (sons of Jeshua and Joab), 2,818

Elam, 1,254

Zattu, 845

Zaccai, 760

Binnui, 648

Bebai, 628

Azgad, 2,322

Adonikam, 667

Bigvai, 2,067

Adin, 655

Ater (sons of Hezekiah), 98

Hashum, 328

Bezai, 324

Hariph, 112

Gibeon, 95.

Israelites identified by place of origin:

Bethlehem and Netophah, 188

Anathoth, 128

Beth Azmaveth, 42

Kiriath Jearim, Kephirah, and Beeroth, 743

Ramah and Geba, 621

Micmash, 122

Bethel and Ai, 123

Nebo (the other one), 52

Elam (the other one), 1,254

Harim, 320

Jericho, 345

Lod, Hadid, and Ono, 721

Senaah, 3,930.

Priestly families:

Jedaiah (sons of Jeshua), 973

Immer, 1,052

Pashhur, 1,247

Harim, 1,017.

Levitical families:

Jeshua (sons of Kadmiel and of Hodaviah), 74.

Singers:

Asaph’s family line, 148.

Security guard families:

Shallum, Ater, Talmon, Akkub, Hatita, and Shobai, 138.

Families of support staff:

Ziha, Hasupha, Tabbaoth,

Keros, Sia, Padon,

Lebana, Hagaba, Shalmai,

Hanan, Giddel, Gahar,

Reaiah, Rezin, Nekoda,

Gazzam, Uzza, Paseah,

Besai, Meunim, Nephussim,

Bakbuk, Hakupha, Harhur,

Bazluth, Mehida, Harsha,

Barkos, Sisera, Temah,

Neziah, and Hatipha.

Families of Solomon’s servants:

Sotai, Sophereth, Perida,

Jaala, Darkon, Giddel,

Shephatiah, Hattil, Pokereth-Hazzebaim, and Amon.

The Temple support staff and Solomon’s servants added up to 392.

61-63 These are those who came from Tel Melah, Tel Harsha, Kerub, Addon, and Immer. They weren’t able to prove their ancestry, whether they were true Israelites or not:

    The sons of Delaiah, Tobiah, and Nekoda, 642.
Likewise with these priestly families:
    The sons of Hobaiah, Hakkoz, and Barzillai, who had married a daughter of Barzillai the Gileadite and took that name.

64-65 They looked high and low for their family records but couldn’t find them. And so they were barred from priestly work as ritually unclean. The governor ruled that they could not eat from the holy food until a priest could determine their status by using the Urim and Thummim.

66-69 The total count for the congregation was 42,360. That did not include the male and female slaves who numbered 7,337. There were also 245 male and female singers. And there were 736 horses, 245 mules, 435 camels, and 6,720 donkeys.

70-72 Some of the heads of families made voluntary offerings for the work. The governor made a gift to the treasury of 1,000 drachmas of gold (about nineteen pounds), 50 bowls, and 530 garments for the priests. Some of the heads of the families made gifts to the treasury for the work; it came to 20,000 drachmas of gold and 2,200 minas of silver (about one and a third tons). Gifts from the rest of the people totaled 20,000 drachmas of gold (about 375 pounds), 2,000 minas of silver, and 67 garments for the priests.

73 The priests, Levites, security guards, singers, and Temple support staff, along with some others, and the rest of the People of Israel, all found a place to live in their own towns.

Ezra and The Revelation

By the time the seventh month arrived, the People of Israel were settled in their towns. Then all the people gathered as one person in the town square in front of the Water Gate and asked the scholar Ezra to bring the Book of The Revelation of Moses that God had commanded for Israel.

2-3 So Ezra the priest brought The Revelation to the congregation, which was made up of both men and women—everyone capable of understanding. It was the first day of the seventh month. He read it facing the town square at the Water Gate from early dawn until noon in the hearing of the men and women, all who could understand it. And all the people listened—they were all ears—to the Book of The Revelation.

The scholar Ezra stood on a wooden platform constructed for the occasion. He was flanked on the right by Mattithiah, Shema, Anaiah, Uriah, Hilkiah, and Maaseiah, and on the left by Pedaiah, Mishael, Malkijah, Hashum, Hashbaddanah, Zechariah, and Meshullam.

5-6 Ezra opened the book. Every eye was on him (he was standing on the raised platform) and as he opened the book everyone stood. Then Ezra praised God, the great God, and all the people responded, “Oh Yes! Yes!” with hands raised high. And then they fell to their knees in worship of God, their faces to the ground.

7-8 Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodiah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, and Pelaiah, all Levites, explained The Revelation while people stood, listening respectfully. They translated the Book of The Revelation of God so the people could understand it and then explained the reading.

Nehemiah the governor, along with Ezra the priest and scholar and the Levites who were teaching the people, said to all the people, “This day is holy to God, your God. Don’t weep and carry on.” They said this because all the people were weeping as they heard the words of The Revelation.

10 He continued, “Go home and prepare a feast, holiday food and drink; and share it with those who don’t have anything: This day is holy to God. Don’t feel bad. The joy of God is your strength!”

11 The Levites calmed the people, “Quiet now. This is a holy day. Don’t be upset.”

12 So the people went off to feast, eating and drinking and including the poor in a great celebration. Now they got it; they understood the reading that had been given to them.

13-15 On the second day of the month the family heads of all the people, the priests, and the Levites gathered around Ezra the scholar to get a deeper understanding of the words of The Revelation. They found written in The Revelation that God commanded through Moses that the People of Israel are to live in booths during the festival of the seventh month. So they published this decree and had it posted in all their cities and in Jerusalem: “Go into the hills and collect olive branches, pine branches, myrtle branches, palm branches, and any other leafy branches to make booths, as it is written.”

16-17 So the people went out, brought in branches, and made themselves booths on their roofs, courtyards, the courtyards of The Temple of God, the Water Gate plaza, and the Ephraim Gate plaza. The entire congregation that had come back from exile made booths and lived in them. The People of Israel hadn’t done this from the time of Joshua son of Nun until that very day—a terrific day! Great joy!

18 Ezra read from the Book of The Revelation of God each day, from the first to the last day—they celebrated the feast for seven days. On the eighth day they held a solemn assembly in accordance with the decree.

1-3 Then on the twenty-fourth day of this month, the People of Israel gathered for a fast, wearing burlap and faces smudged with dirt as signs of repentance. The Israelites broke off all relations with foreigners, stood up, and confessed their sins and the iniquities of their parents. While they stood there in their places, they read from the Book of The Revelation of God, their God, for a quarter of the day. For another quarter of the day they confessed and worshiped their God.

4-5 A group of Levites—Jeshua, Bani, Kadmiel, Shebaniah, Bunni, Sherebiah, Bani, and Kenani—stood on the platform and cried out to God, their God, in a loud voice. The Levites Jeshua, Kadmiel, Bani, Hashabneiah, Sherebiah, Hodiah, Shebaniah, and Pethahiah said, “On your feet! Bless God, your God, for ever and ever!”

5-6 Blessed be your glorious name,
    exalted above all blessing and praise!
You’re the one,
    God, you alone;
You made the heavens,
    the heavens of heavens, and all angels;
The earth and everything on it,
    the seas and everything in them;
You keep them all alive;
    heaven’s angels worship you!

7-8 You’re the one, God, the God
    who chose Abram
And brought him from Ur of the Chaldees
    and changed his name to Abraham.
You found his heart to be steady and true to you
    and signed a covenant with him,
A covenant to give him the land of the Canaanites,
    the Hittites, and the Amorites,
The Perizzites, Jebusites, and Girgashites,
    —to give it to his descendants.
And you kept your word
    because you are righteous.

9-15 You saw the anguish of our parents in Egypt.
    You heard their cries at the Red Sea;
You amazed Pharaoh, his servants, and the people of his land
    with wonders and miracle-signs.
You knew their bullying arrogance against your people;
    you made a name for yourself that lasts to this day.
You split the sea before them;
    they crossed through and never got their feet wet;
You pitched their pursuers into the deep;
    they sank like a rock in the storm-tossed sea.
By day you led them with a Pillar of Cloud,
    and by night with a Pillar of Fire
To show them the way
    they were to travel.
You came down onto Mount Sinai,
    you spoke to them out of heaven;
You gave them instructions on how to live well,
    true teaching, sound rules and commands;
You introduced them
    to your Holy Sabbath;
Through your servant Moses you decreed
    commands, rules, and instruction.
You gave bread from heaven for their hunger,
    you sent water from the rock for their thirst.
You told them to enter and take the land,
    which you promised to give them.

16-19 But they, our ancestors, were arrogant;
    bullheaded, they wouldn’t obey your commands.
They turned a deaf ear, they refused
    to remember the miracles you had done for them;
They turned stubborn, got it into their heads
    to return to their Egyptian slavery.
And you, a forgiving God,
    gracious and compassionate,
Incredibly patient, with tons of love—
    you didn’t dump them.
Yes, even when they cast a sculpted calf
    and said, “This is your god
Who brought you out of Egypt,”
    and continued from bad to worse,
You in your amazing compassion
    didn’t walk off and leave them in the desert.
The Pillar of Cloud didn’t leave them;
    daily it continued to show them their route;
The Pillar of Fire did the same by night,
    showed them the right way to go.

20-23 You gave them your good Spirit
    to teach them to live wisely.
You never stinted with your manna,
    gave them plenty of water to drink.
You supported them forty years in that desert;
    they had everything they needed;
Their clothes didn’t wear out
    and their feet never blistered.
You gave them kingdoms and peoples,
    establishing generous boundaries.
They took over the country of Sihon king of Heshbon
    and the country of Og king of Bashan.
You multiplied children for them,
    rivaling the stars in the night skies,
And you brought them into the land
    that you promised their ancestors
    they would get and own.

24-25 Well, they entered all right,
    they took it and settled in.
The Canaanites who lived there
    you brought to their knees before them.
You turned over their land, kings, and peoples
    to do with as they pleased.
They took strong cities and fertile fields,
    they took over well-furnished houses,
Cisterns, vineyards, olive groves,
    and lush, extensive orchards.
And they ate, grew fat on the fat of the land;
    they reveled in your bountiful goodness.

26-31 But then they mutinied, rebelled against you,
    threw out your laws and killed your prophets,
The very prophets who tried to get them back on your side—
    and then things went from bad to worse.
You turned them over to their enemies,
    who made life rough for them.
But when they called out for help in their troubles
    you listened from heaven;
And in keeping with your bottomless compassion
    you gave them saviors:
Saviors who saved them
    from the cruel abuse of their enemies.
But as soon as they had it easy again
    they were right back at it—more evil.
So you turned away and left them again to their fate,
    to the enemies who came right back.
They cried out to you again; in your great compassion
    you heard and helped them again.
    This went on over and over and over.
You warned them to return to your Revelation,
    they responded with haughty arrogance:
They flouted your commands, spurned your rules
    —the very words by which men and women live!
They set their jaws in defiance,
    they turned their backs on you and didn’t listen.
You put up with them year after year
    and warned them by your spirit through your prophets;
But when they refused to listen
    you abandoned them to foreigners.
Still, because of your great compassion,
    you didn’t make a total end to them.
You didn’t walk out and leave them for good;
    yes, you are a God of grace and compassion.

32-37 And now, our God, the great God,
    God majestic and terrible, loyal in covenant and love,
Don’t treat lightly the trouble that has come to us,
    to our kings and princes, our priests and prophets,
Our ancestors, and all your people from the time
    of the Assyrian kings right down to today.
You are not to blame
    for all that has come down on us;
You did everything right,
    we did everything wrong.
None of our kings, princes, priests, or ancestors
    followed your Revelation;
They ignored your commands,
    dismissed the warnings you gave them.
Even when they had their own kingdom
    and were enjoying your generous goodness,
Living in that spacious and fertile land
    that you spread out before them,
They didn’t serve you
    or turn their backs on the practice of evil.
And here we are, slaves again today;
    and here’s the land you gave our ancestors
So they could eat well and enjoy a good life,
    and now look at us—no better than slaves on this land.
Its wonderful crops go to the kings
    you put over us because of our sins;
They act like they own our bodies
    and do whatever they like with our cattle.
    We’re in deep trouble.

38 “Because of all this we are drawing up a binding pledge, a sealed document signed by our princes, our Levites, and our priests.”

The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

Acts 3The Message (MSG)

1-5 One day at three o’clock in the afternoon, Peter and John were on their way into the Temple for prayer meeting. At the same time there was a man crippled from birth being carried up. Every day he was set down at the Temple gate, the one named Beautiful, to beg from those going into the Temple. When he saw Peter and John about to enter the Temple, he asked for a handout. Peter, with John at his side, looked him straight in the eye and said, “Look here.” He looked up, expecting to get something from them.

6-8 Peter said, “I don’t have a nickel to my name, but what I do have, I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk!” He grabbed him by the right hand and pulled him up. In an instant his feet and ankles became firm. He jumped to his feet and walked.

8-10 The man went into the Temple with them, walking back and forth, dancing and praising God. Everybody there saw him walking around and praising God. They recognized him as the one who sat begging at the Temple’s Gate Beautiful and rubbed their eyes, astonished, scarcely believing what they were seeing.

11 The man threw his arms around Peter and John, ecstatic. All the people ran up to where they were at Solomon’s Porch to see it for themselves.

Turn to Face God

12-16 When Peter saw he had a congregation, he addressed the people:

“Oh, Israelites, why does this take you by such complete surprise, and why stare at us as if our power or piety made him walk? The God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, the God of our ancestors, has glorified his Son Jesus. The very One that Pilate called innocent, you repudiated. You repudiated the Holy One, the Just One, and asked for a murderer in his place. You no sooner killed the Author of Life than God raised him from the dead—and we’re the witnesses. Faith in Jesus’ name put this man, whose condition you know so well, on his feet—yes, faith and nothing but faith put this man healed and whole right before your eyes.

17-18 “And now, friends, I know you had no idea what you were doing when you killed Jesus, and neither did your leaders. But God, who through the preaching of all the prophets had said all along that his Messiah would be killed, knew exactly what you were doing and used it to fulfill his plans.

19-23 “Now it’s time to change your ways! Turn to face God so he can wipe away your sins, pour out showers of blessing to refresh you, and send you the Messiah he prepared for you, namely, Jesus. For the time being he must remain out of sight in heaven until everything is restored to order again just the way God, through the preaching of his holy prophets of old, said it would be. Moses, for instance, said, ‘Your God will raise up for you a prophet just like me from your family. Listen to every word he speaks to you. Every last living soul who refuses to listen to that prophet will be wiped out from the people.’

24-26 “All the prophets from Samuel on down said the same thing, said most emphatically that these days would come. These prophets, along with the covenant God made with your ancestors, are your family tree. God’s covenant-word to Abraham provides the text: ‘By your offspring all the families of the earth will be blessed.’ But you are first in line: God, having raised up his Son, sent him to bless you as you turn, one by one, from your evil ways.”

The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

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