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14 Furthermore, from the day King Artaxerxes appointed me to be their governor in the land of Judah—from the twentieth year until his thirty-second year, 12 years—I and my associates never ate from the food allotted to the governor. 15 The governors who preceded me had heavily burdened the people, taking food and wine from them, as well as a pound[a] of silver. Their subordinates also oppressed the people, but I didn’t do this, because of the fear of God. 16 Instead, I devoted myself to the construction of the wall, and all my subordinates were gathered there for the work. We didn’t buy any land.
17 There were 150 Jews and officials, as well as guests from the surrounding nations at my table. 18 Each[b] day, one ox, six choice sheep, and some fowl were prepared for me. An abundance of all kinds of wine was provided every 10 days. But I didn’t demand the food allotted to the governor, because the burden on the people was so heavy.
19 Remember me favorably, my God, for all that I have done for this people.
6 When Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem the Arab, and the rest of our enemies heard that I had rebuilt the wall and that no gap was left in it—though at that time I had not installed the doors in the gates— 2 Sanballat and Geshem sent me a message: “Come, let’s meet together in the villages of[c] the Ono Valley.” But they were planning to harm me.
3 So I sent messengers to them, saying, “I am doing a great work and cannot come down. Why should the work cease while I leave it and go down to you?” 4 Four times they sent me the same proposal, and I gave them the same reply.
5 Sanballat sent me this same message a fifth time by his aide, who had an open letter in his hand. 6 In it was written:
It is reported among the nations—and Geshem[d] agrees—that you and the Jews plan to rebel. This is the reason you are building the wall. According to these reports, you are to become their king 7 and have even set up the prophets in Jerusalem to proclaim on your behalf: “There is a king in Judah.” These rumors will be heard by the king. So come, let’s confer together.
8 Then I replied to him, “There is nothing to these rumors you are spreading; you are inventing them in your own mind.” 9 For they were all trying to intimidate us, saying, “They will become discouraged[e] in the work, and it will never be finished.”
But now, my God, strengthen me.[f]
10 I went to the house of Shemaiah son of Delaiah, son of Mehetabel, who was restricted to his house. He said:
Let us meet at the house of God
inside the temple.
Let us shut the temple doors
because they are coming to kill you.
They are coming to kill you tonight![g]
11 But I said, “Should a man like me run away? How can I enter the temple and live? I will not go.” 12 I realized that God had not sent him, because of the prophecy he spoke against me. Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him. 13 He was hired, so that I would be intimidated, do as he suggested, sin, and get a bad reputation, in order that they could discredit me.
14 My God, remember Tobiah and Sanballat for what they have done, and also Noadiah the prophetess and the other prophets who wanted to intimidate me.
15 The wall was completed in 52 days, on the twenty-fifth day of the month Elul. 16 When all our enemies heard this, all the surrounding nations were intimidated and lost their confidence,[h] for they realized that this task had been accomplished by our God.
17 During those days, the nobles of Judah sent many letters to Tobiah, and Tobiah’s letters came to them. 18 For many in Judah were bound by oath to him, since he was a son-in-law of Shecaniah son of Arah, and his son Jehohanan had married the daughter of Meshullam son of Berechiah. 19 These nobles kept mentioning Tobiah’s good deeds to me, and they reported my words to him. And Tobiah sent letters to intimidate me.
7 When the wall had been rebuilt and I had the doors installed, the gatekeepers, singers, and Levites were appointed. 2 Then I put my brother Hanani in charge of Jerusalem, along with Hananiah, commander of the fortress, because he was a faithful man who feared God more than most. 3 I said to them, “Do not open the gates of Jerusalem until the sun is hot, and let the doors be shut and securely fastened while the guards are on duty. Station the citizens of Jerusalem as guards, some at their posts and some at their homes.”
4 The city was large and spacious, but there were few people in it, and no houses had been built yet. 5 Then my God put it into my mind to assemble the nobles, the officials, and the people to be registered by genealogy. I found the genealogical record of those who came back first, and I found the following written in it:
6 These are the people of the province who went up among the captive exiles deported by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. Each of them returned to Jerusalem and Judah, to his own town. 7 They came with Zerubbabel, Jeshua, Nehemiah, Azariah, Raamiah, Nahamani, Mordecai, Bilshan, Mispereth, Bigvai, Nehum, and Baanah.
The number of the Israelite men included:
|8 Parosh’s descendants||2,172|
|9 Shephatiah’s descendants||372|
|10 Arah’s descendants||652|
|11 Pahath-moab’s descendants:|
|Jeshua’s and Joab’s descendants||2,818|
|12 Elam’s descendants||1,254|
|13 Zattu’s descendants||845|
|14 Zaccai’s descendants||760|
|15 Binnui’s descendants||648|
|16 Bebai’s descendants||628|
|17 Azgad’s descendants||2,322|
|18 Adonikam’s descendants||667|
|19 Bigvai’s descendants||2,067|
|20 Adin’s descendants||655|
|21 Ater’s descendants: of Hezekiah||98|
|22 Hashum’s descendants||328|
|23 Bezai’s descendants||324|
|24 Hariph’s descendants||112|
|25 Gibeon’s[i] descendants||95|
|26 Bethlehem’s and Netophah’s men||188|
|27 Anathoth’s men||128|
|28 Beth-azmaveth’s men||42|
|29 Kiriath-jearim’s, Chephirah’s, and Beeroth’s men||743|
|30 Ramah’s and Geba’s men||621|
|31 Michmas’s men||122|
|32 Bethel’s and Ai’s men||123|
|33 the other Nebo’s men||52|
|34 the other Elam’s people||1,254|
|35 Harim’s people||320|
|36 Jericho’s people||345|
|37 Lod’s, Hadid’s, and Ono’s people||721|
|38 Senaah’s people||3,930.|
39 The priests included:
|Jedaiah’s descendants of the house of Jeshua||973|
|40 Immer’s descendants||1,052|
|41 Pashhur’s descendants||1,247|
|42 Harim’s descendants||1,017.|
43 The Levites included:
|Jeshua’s descendants: of Kadmiel|
44 The singers included:
45 The gatekeepers included:
|Shallum’s descendants, Ater’s descendants,|
|Talmon’s descendants, Akkub’s descendants,|
|Hatita’s descendants, Shobai’s descendants||138.|
46 The temple servants included:
Ziha’s descendants, Hasupha’s descendants,
Tabbaoth’s descendants, 47 Keros’s descendants,
Sia’s descendants, Padon’s descendants,
48 Lebanah’s descendants, Hagabah’s descendants,
Shalmai’s descendants, 49 Hanan’s descendants,
Giddel’s descendants, Gahar’s descendants,
50 Reaiah’s descendants, Rezin’s descendants,
Nekoda’s descendants, 51 Gazzam’s descendants,
Uzza’s descendants, Paseah’s descendants,
52 Besai’s descendants, Meunim’s descendants,
Nephishesim’s[j] descendants, 53 Bakbuk’s descendants,
Hakupha’s descendants, Harhur’s descendants,
54 Bazlith’s descendants, Mehida’s descendants,
Harsha’s descendants, 55 Barkos’s descendants,
Sisera’s descendants, Temah’s descendants,
56 Neziah’s descendants, Hatipha’s descendants.
57 The descendants of Solomon’s servants included:
Sotai’s descendants, Sophereth’s descendants,
Perida’s descendants, 58 Jaala’s descendants,
Darkon’s descendants, Giddel’s descendants,
59 Shephatiah’s descendants, Hattil’s descendants,
Pochereth-hazzebaim’s descendants, Amon’s descendants.
|60 All the temple servants|
|and the descendants of Solomon’s servants||392.|
61 The following are those who came from Tel-melah, Tel-harsha, Cherub, Addon, and Immer, but were unable to prove that their families and ancestors were Israelite:
|62 Delaiah’s descendants,|
|and Nekoda’s descendants||642|
63 and from the priests: the descendants of Hobaiah, the descendants of Hakkoz, and the descendants of Barzillai—who had taken a wife from the daughters of Barzillai the Gileadite and was called by their name. 64 These searched for their entries in the genealogical records, but they could not be found, so they were disqualified from the priesthood. 65 The governor ordered them not to eat the most holy things until there was a priest who could consult the Urim and Thummim.
|66 The whole combined assembly numbered||42,360|
|67 not including their 7,337 male and female slaves,|
|as well as their 245 male and female singers.|
|68 They had 736 horses, 245 mules,[k]|
|69 435 camels, and 6,720 donkeys.|
70 Some of the family leaders gave to the project. The governor gave 1,000 gold coins,[l] 50 bowls, and 530 priestly garments to the treasury. 71 Some of the family leaders gave 20,000 gold coins and 2,200 silver minas[m] to the treasury for the project. 72 The rest of the people gave 20,000 gold coins, 2,000 silver minas, and 67 priestly garments. 73 So the priests, Levites, gatekeepers, temple singers, some of the people, temple servants, and all Israel settled in their towns.[n]
When the seventh month came and the Israelites had settled in their towns,
8 About food offered to idols: We know that “we all have knowledge.”[a] Knowledge inflates with pride, but love builds up. 2 If anyone thinks he knows anything, he does not yet know it as he ought to know it. 3 But if anyone loves God, he is known by Him.
4 About eating food offered to idols, then, we know that “an idol is nothing in the world,” and that “there is no God but one.” 5 For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth—as there are many “gods” and many “lords”—
6 yet for us there is one God, the Father.
All things are from Him,
and we exist for Him.
And there is one Lord, Jesus Christ.
All things are through Him,
and we exist through Him.
7 However, not everyone has this knowledge. In fact, some have been so used to idolatry up until now that when they eat food offered to an idol, their conscience, being weak, is defiled. 8 Food will not make us acceptable to God. We are not inferior if we don’t eat, and we are not better if we do eat. 9 But be careful that this right of yours in no way becomes a stumbling block to the weak. 10 For if someone sees you, the one who has this knowledge, dining in an idol’s temple, won’t his weak conscience be encouraged to eat food offered to idols? 11 Then the weak person, the brother for whom Christ died, is ruined[b] by your knowledge. 12 Now when you sin like this against the brothers and wound their weak conscience, you are sinning against Christ. 13 Therefore, if food causes my brother to fall, I will never again eat meat, so that I won’t cause my brother to fall.
1 Rejoice in the Lord, you righteous ones;
praise from the upright is beautiful.
2 Praise the Lord with the lyre;
make music to Him with a ten-stringed harp.
3 Sing a new song to Him;
play skillfully on the strings, with a joyful shout.
4 For the word of the Lord is right,
and all His work is trustworthy.
5 He loves righteousness and justice;
the earth is full of the Lord’s unfailing love.
6 The heavens were made by the word of the Lord,
and all the stars, by the breath of His mouth.
7 He gathers the waters of the sea into a heap;[a]
He puts the depths into storehouses.
8 Let the whole earth tremble before the Lord;
let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him.
9 For He spoke, and it came into being;
He commanded, and it came into existence.
10 The Lord frustrates the counsel of the nations;
He thwarts the plans of the peoples.
11 The counsel of the Lord stands forever,
the plans of His heart from generation to generation.
8 A guilty man’s conduct is crooked,
but the behavior of the innocent is upright.
9 Better to live on the corner of a roof
than to share a house with a nagging wife.
10 A wicked person desires evil;
he has no consideration[a] for his neighbor.