Book of Nehemiah

Book of Nehemiah

As recorded in the Book of Nehemiah (meaning „Jehova comforts“), Nehemiah is the lead character of the story which provides us a description of the rebuilding of Jerusalem during the Second Temple period, in which he was engaged in, as governor of Persian Judea. He was sent to Jerusalem as the cup bearer of king Araxerxes of Persia, after learning that the walls of Jerusalem were ruined. His mission was to rebuild the city, repopulate it and bring the Jewish community back to the laws of Moses, which he did in the following 12 years. Yet, as soon as he returned back to king Artaxerxes, to Susa, he found that the people of Jerusalem returned to their evil old ways.

He then decides to return to Jerusalem for good and work to enforce the Law. One of the important parts of this law was, as explained in verse 13:12 – „Then all Judah brought a tenth of all the grain harvested, new wine, and olive oil to the storerooms“– to take care and ensure regular income for the normal functioning of the community and this was done with a tax that obligated the payers to provide the state with one tenth of their income. This was usually called tithe and represented a one-tenth part of something, which was handed to an organization or given as tax to an authority.

The Jews of the time, having no monetary system, were obliged to pay this tax, as the verse says, in grain, olive oil and wine, but other agricultural products were also common. nehemiah3Also, manufacturers such as blacksmiths, leather workers and carpenters were obliged to give a part of their products to the authorities. It would not be unusual for a carpenter, for example, to hand over a set of chairs and tables to the government, as his tithe, so the authorities can make use of his furniture, just like people today can find quality furniture in Gallatin Valley Furniture Carpet one.

6a00e55043abd088340133f41ac153970b-320wiNehemiah showed good guidance as ruler of Jerusalem, since he was able not just to work on the reconstruction of the city and its wall, but he managed to repel the attacks of the most important enemies of Israelites of that time – the Samaritans, the Ammonites and the Arabs. The Jewish community was then segregated from its neighbours and accepted the old Laws of Moses. After the period of backsliding, when the Jews returned to their old ways of evil, Nehemiah returned once again to bring the people back to the way of the light and to make sure they will not fall again.

The Temple was purified once more and all of the priests and Levites were purified as wall, and the Laws of Moses were, once again and for all time, enforced as the Law of the land. Province of Judah was, back then, only a small province as a part of the vast Persian Empire, ruled by the mighty king Araxerxes II of Persia, and waited for the period of liberation, which will come centuries later.

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Book of Nehemiah – chapters from Nehemiah 13

Book of Nehemiah – chapters from Nehemiah 13

Solemnly and publicly Judah committed themselves to respect the law of God, but since the influence of Ezra and Nehemiah haven’t felt for a while, many of Judah have departed from the word of Lord. Nehemiah returned to Persia and during his absence from Jerusalem, the evils began to enter human’s souls and threaten to pervert them. Not only that people who believed on idols gained the support of the city, but also they defiled with their presence the sacred area around the Temple. Through marriage it was established friendship between Eliashib, the high priest, and Tobiah the Ammonities, who is the bitter enemy of the Israel. Eliashib allowed Tobiah to occupy the room that is connected with the Temple, which has been previously used to store tithes contributions of the people.ob_6f9d08860a698701395c2bef694919b0_nehemiah

Because of the brutality and treacherous behavior of the Ammonities and Moabites toward Israel, God commanded the Moses that they would be forever excluded from the meetings of His people. High Priest trough away contributions of the people from one of the God’s rooms, to make place for his representative of estranged people. There can’t be shown greatest contempt for the God when favoring his enemy.

Returning from Persia, Nehemiah learned of this outrageous behavior and immediately took necessary steps to evict the intruder. He explained: “It made me very angry and I threw all of the furniture out of the room, I ordered them to clean up the room and then I brought back the containers of the God’s house, offerings and incense.

9781845501693Not only that Temple was impure, but all contributions were used in prohibited purpose. All this discouraged the people in its generous contributions, so they lost zeal and passion and started to hesitate in giving contributions. Treasury rooms of God’s home were insufficiently supplied, many singers and other people in the service of the temple, which did not receive sufficient food allowance, left the work of God and found work on some other place.

Nehemiah went to work to eradicate this abuse. He gathered all those who left work of the Lord’s house and returned them “in their service”. It restored the confidence of the people – “Then all Judah brought a tenth of all the grain harvested, new wine, and olive oil to the storeroom.” People who were considered “reliable”, were placed “over storage” and “their duty was to distribute it to their brothers by faith.”


Another consequence of connection with people who support idols was a disregard of the Sabbath, the sign by which the Hebrews, as worshipers of the true God, were differed from all other nations. Nehemiah found that merchants and traders from neighboring countries who didn’t believe in God, when arriving in Jerusalem, persuaded many Israel people to perform tasks on Saturdays. There were those who couldn’t be persuaded to sacrifice their principle, but others made those mistakes together with people who didn’t believe in God. Many dared openly to violate the Sabbath.

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