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Nehemiah 5:14-7:73; 1 Corinthians 8; Psalm 33:1-11; Proverbs 21:8-10 (GOD’S WORD Translation)

Nehemiah 5:14-7:73

Nehemiah Never Takes What Is Rightfully His as Governor

14 During the 12 years that I was governor of Judah, from the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes’ reign to the thirty-second year of his reign, my brothers and I never ate any food that was paid for by the governor’s food allowance. 15 Those who were governors before me had made life difficult for the people by taking from them food and wine plus one pound of silver. Even the governors’ servants took advantage of their power over the people. But I didn’t do that, because I feared God. 16 Instead, I put my best effort into the work on this wall, and we bought no land. All my men gathered here for work. 17 I fed 150 Jewish leaders and their people who came to us from the surrounding nations. 18 Preparing one ox and six choice sheep was necessary every day. Poultry was prepared for me. Once every ten days a supply of wine was ordered. Yet, in spite of all this, I never demanded anything from the governor’s food allowance, because these people were already carrying a heavy load.

Nehemiah’s Prayer

19 Remember me, my God. Consider everything that I have done for these people.

Sanballat Tries to Harm Nehemiah

Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem the Arab, and the rest of our enemies heard that I had rebuilt the wall and that no gaps had been left in it (although at that time I had not yet hung the doors in the city gates). Then Sanballat and Geshem sent this message to me: “Let’s meet in Hakkephirim on the plain of Ono.” They were planning to harm me.

I sent messengers to tell them, “I’m working on an important project and can’t get away. Why should the work stop while I leave to meet with you?” They sent the same message to me four times, and I answered them the same way. When Sanballat sent me the same message a fifth time, his servant held in his hand an unsealed letter. In it was written:

It has been reported throughout the nations, and Geshem has confirmed it, that you and the Jews are planning to rebel. That’s why you’re rebuilding the wall. According to this report, you want to become their king. You’ve appointed prophets to announce about you in Jerusalem, ‘There’s a king in Judah!’ This report will get back to the king. So let’s talk about this.

Then I sent someone to tell him, “None of your accusations are true. You are making them up out of your own imagination.”

They were all trying to intimidate us. They thought we would give up and not finish the work.

But God made me strong.

10 One day I went to the home of Shemaiah, son of Delaiah and grandson of Mehetabel. Shemaiah who was confined to his house, said, “Let’s meet in the house of God, inside the temple, and close the temple doors. Some men are coming at night to kill you.”

11 But I asked, “Should a man like me run away? Would a man like me go into the temple to save his life? I won’t go.”

12 Then I realized that God hadn’t sent him. Instead, Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him to prophesy against me. 13 He was hired to intimidate me into doing this so that I would sin. Then they could give me a bad reputation in order to discredit me.

14 Nehemiah prayed, “My God, remember what Tobiah and Sanballat have done. Also, remember the female prophet Noadiah and the rest of the prophets who have been trying to intimidate me.”

The Wall Rebuilt in Spite of Opposition

15 The wall was finished on the twenty-fifth day of the month of Elul. The wall took 52 days to finish. 16 When all our enemies heard about this, all the surrounding nations were afraid and lost their self-confidence. They realized we had done this work with the help of our God.

Traitors on the Inside

17 In those days the nobles of Judah sent many letters to Tobiah, and Tobiah sent many letters back to them. 18 Many in Judah had promised to support Tobiah because he was the son-in-law of Shecaniah, Arah’s son. In addition, Tobiah’s son Jehohanan had married the daughter of Meshullam, Berechiah’s son. 19 The nobles were singing Tobiah’s praises to me and reporting to him what I said. Tobiah kept sending letters to intimidate me.

Nehemiah Places Hanani and Hananiah in Charge of Guarding the City Gates

The gatekeepers, the singers, and the Levites were assigned their duties after the wall had been rebuilt and I had hung the doors. I put my brother Hanani and Hananiah, the commander of the fortress, in charge of Jerusalem. Hananiah was a trustworthy man, and he feared God more than most people do. I told them, “The gates of Jerusalem should not be opened at the hottest time of the day. While the gatekeepers are still standing there, they should shut the doors and bar them. Order some of the men in Jerusalem to stand guard, some at their posts and others in front of their homes.” The city was large and wide-open. Few people were in it, and no houses were being built.

The First Jewish Exiles Who Returned to Jerusalem

Then my God put the idea into my head that I should gather the nobles, leaders, and people so that they could check their genealogy. I found the book with the genealogy of those who came back the first time. I found the following written in it:

These were the people in the province. They were the ones who left the place where the exiles had been taken captive. King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon had taken them captive. They returned to Jerusalem and Judah. All of them went to their own cities. They went with Zerubbabel, Jeshua, Nehemiah, Azariah, Raamiah, Nahamani, Mordecai, Bilshan, Mispereth, Bigvai, Nehum, and Baanah.

Families Listed by Ancestor

This is the number of Israelite men from the people in exile:

the descendants of Parosh2,172
of Shephatiah372
10 of Arah652
11 of Pahath Moab, that is, of Jeshua and Joab2,818
12 of Elam1,254
13 of Zattu845
14 of Zaccai760
15 of Binnui648
16 of Bebai628
17 of Azgad2,322
18 of Adonikam667
19 of Bigvai2,067
20 of Adin655
21 of Ater, that is, Hezekiah98
22 of Hashum328
23 of Bezai324
24 of Hariph112
25 of Gibeon95

Families Listed by Towns

26 the people of Bethlehem and Netophah188
27 of Anathoth128
28 of Beth Azmaveth42
29 of Kiriath Jearim, Chephirah, and Beeroth743
30 of Ramah and Geba621
31 of Michmas122
32 of Bethel and Ai123
33 of the other Nebo52
34 of the other Elam1,254
35 of Harim320
36 of Jericho345
37 of Lod, Hadid, and Ono721
38 of Senaah3,930

Priests

39 These priests returned from exile:

the descendants of Jedaiah (through the family of Jeshua)973
40 of Immer1,052
41 of Pashhur1,247
42 of Harim1,017

Levites

43 These Levites returned from exile:
the descendants of Jeshua, that is, of Kadmiel and of Hodeiah74
44 These singers returned from exile:
the descendants of Asaph148
45 These gatekeepers returned from exile:
the descendants of Shallum, Ater, Talmon, Akkub, Hatita, and Shobai138

Temple Servants

46 These temple servants returned from exile: the descendants of Ziha, Hasupha, Tabbaoth, 47 Keros, Sia, Padon, 48 Lebanah, Hagabah, Shalmai, 49 Hanan, Giddel, Gahar, 50 Reaiah, Rezin, Nekoda, 51 Gazzam, Uzza, Paseah, 52 Besai, Meunim, Nephusheshim, 53 Bakbuk, Hakupha, Harhur, 54 Bazlith, Mehida, Harsha, 55 Barkos, Sisera, Temah, 56 Neziah, and Hatipha.

Descendants of Solomon’s Servants

57 These descendants of Solomon’s servants returned from exile: the descendants of Sotai, Sophereth, Perida, 58 Jaala, Darkon, Giddel, 59 Shephatiah, Hattil, Pochereth Hazzebaim, and Amon.

60 The temple servants and the descendants of Solomon’s servants totaled 392.

Those of Unknown Origin

61 The following people came from Tel Melah, Tel Harsha, Cherub, Addan, and Immer, but they couldn’t prove they were Israelites on the basis of their father’s family or their genealogy: 62 the descendants of Delaiah, Tobiah, and Nekoda. These people totaled 642.

63 These priests couldn’t prove they were Israelites: the descendants of Hobaiah, Hakkoz, and Barzillai (who had married one of the daughters of Barzillai from Gilead and took that family name). 64 These people searched for their family names in the genealogical records, but their names couldn’t be found there. For this reason they were considered contaminated and couldn’t be priests. 65 The governor told them not to eat any of the most holy food until a priest could use the Urim and Thummim[a] to settle the problem.

The Total of the People and Animals Returning from Exile

66 The whole assembly totaled 42,360. 67 In addition to the male and female servants who numbered 7,337, they also had 245 male and female singers. 68 They had 736 horses, 245 mules, [b] 69 435 camels, and 6,720 donkeys.

Gifts Given for the Temple

70 Some of the heads of the families contributed to this work. The governor contributed the following to the treasury: nearly 18 pounds of gold, 50 bowls, and 530 robes for the priests. 71 Some of the heads of the families contributed to the treasury for this work: 337 pounds of gold and 3,215 pounds of silver. 72 The rest of the people contributed 337 pounds of gold, 2,923 pounds of silver, and 67 robes for the priests.

73 The priests, Levites, the gatekeepers, the singers, some of the people, the temple servants, and the rest of Israel settled in their own cities. When the seventh month came, the people of Israel were in their own cities.

Footnotes:

  1. Nehemiah 7:65 The Urim and Thummim were used by the chief priest to determine God’s answer to questions.
  2. Nehemiah 7:69 Some Hebrew manuscripts omit “They had . . . mules.” In those manuscripts verses 69–73 are numbered as 68–72.
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1 Corinthians 8

Advice about Food Offered to False Gods

Now, concerning food offered to false gods: We know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge makes people arrogant, but love builds them up. Those who think they know something still have a lot to learn. But if they love God, they are known by God.

Now about eating food that was offered to false gods: We know that the false gods in this world don’t really exist and that no god exists except the one God. People may say that there are gods in heaven and on earth—many gods and many lords, as they would call them. But for us,

“There is only one God, the Father.
    Everything came from him, and we live for him.
There is only one Lord, Jesus Christ.
    Everything came into being through him,
        and we live because of him.”

But not everyone knows this. Some people are so used to worshiping false gods that they believe they are eating food offered to a false god. So they feel guilty because their conscience is weak.

Food will not affect our relationship with God. We are no worse off if we eat that food and no better off if we don’t. But be careful that by using your freedom you don’t somehow make a believer who is weak in faith fall into sin. 10 For example, suppose someone with a weak conscience sees you, who have this knowledge, eating in the temple of a false god. Won’t you be encouraging that person to eat food offered to a false god? 11 In that case, your knowledge is ruining a believer whose faith is weak, a believer for whom Christ died. 12 When you sin against other believers in this way and harm their weak consciences, you are sinning against Christ.

13 Therefore, if eating food offered to false gods causes other believers to lose their faith, I will never eat that kind of food so that I won’t make other believers lose their faith.

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Psalm 33:1-11

Psalm 33

Joyfully sing to the Lord, you righteous people.
    Praising the Lord is proper for decent people.
Give thanks with a lyre to the Lord.
Make music for him on a ten-stringed harp.
Sing a new song to him.
Play beautifully and joyfully on stringed instruments.

The Lord’s word is correct,
    and everything he does is trustworthy.
The Lord loves righteousness and justice.
    His mercy fills the earth.
The heavens were made by the Lord’s word
    and all the stars by the breath of his mouth.
He gathers the water in the sea like a dam
    and puts the oceans in his storehouses.
Let all the earth fear the Lord.
Let all who live in the world stand in awe of him.
He spoke, and it came into being.
He gave the order, and there it stood.

10 The Lord blocks the plans of the nations.
He frustrates the schemes of the people of the world.
11     The Lord’s plan stands firm forever.
    His thoughts stand firm in every generation.

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Proverbs 21:8-10

The way of a guilty person is crooked,
    but the behavior of those who are pure is moral.[a]

Better to live on a corner of a roof
    than to share a home with a quarreling woman.
10 The mind of a wicked person desires evil
    and has no consideration for his neighbor.

Footnotes:

  1. Proverbs 21:8 Hebrew meaning of this verse uncertain.
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GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)

Copyright © 1995 by God's Word to the Nations. Used by permission of Baker Publishing Group

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