14 During all the twelve years that I was governor of the land of Judah, from the twentieth year that Artaxerxes was emperor until his thirty-second year, neither my relatives nor I ate the food I was entitled to have as governor. 15 Every governor who had been in office before me had been a burden to the people and had demanded forty silver coins a day[a] for food and wine. Even their servants had oppressed the people. But I acted differently, because I honored God. 16 I put all my energy into rebuilding the wall and did not acquire any property. Everyone who worked for me joined in the rebuilding. 17 I regularly fed at my table a hundred and fifty of the Jewish people and their leaders, besides all the people who came to me from the surrounding nations. 18 Every day I served one beef, six of the best sheep, and many chickens, and every ten days I provided a fresh supply of wine. But I knew what heavy burdens the people had to bear, and so I did not claim the allowance that the governor is entitled to.
19 I pray you, O God, remember to my credit everything that I have done for this people.
Plots against Nehemiah
6 Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem, and the rest of our enemies heard that we had finished building the wall and that there were no gaps left in it, although we still had not set up the gates in the gateways. 2 So Sanballat and Geshem sent me a message, suggesting that I meet with them in one of the villages in the Plain of Ono. This was a trick of theirs to try to harm me. 3 I sent messengers to say to them, “I am doing important work and can't go down there. I am not going to let the work stop just to go and see you.”
4 They sent me the same message four times, and each time I sent them the same reply.
5 Then Sanballat sent one of his servants to me with a fifth message, this one in the form of an unsealed letter.[b] 6 It read:
“Geshem tells me that a rumor is going around among the neighboring peoples that you and the Jewish people intend to revolt and that this is why you are rebuilding the wall. He also says you plan to make yourself king 7 and that you have arranged for some prophets to proclaim in Jerusalem that you are the king of Judah. His Majesty is certain to hear about this, so I suggest that you and I meet to talk the situation over.”
8 I sent a reply to him: “Nothing of what you are saying is true. You have made it all up yourself.”
9 They were trying to frighten us into stopping work. I prayed, “But now, God, make me strong!”
10 About this time I went to visit Shemaiah, the son of Delaiah and grandson of Mehetabel, who was unable to leave his house. He said to me, “You and I must go and hide together in the Holy Place of the Temple and lock the doors, because they are coming to kill you. Any night now they will come to kill you.”
11 I answered, “I'm not the kind of person that runs and hides. Do you think I would try to save my life by hiding in the Temple? I won't do it.”
12 When I thought it over, I realized that God had not spoken to Shemaiah, but that Tobiah and Sanballat had bribed him to give me this warning. 13 They hired him to frighten me into sinning, so that they could ruin my reputation and humiliate me.
14 I prayed, “God, remember what Tobiah and Sanballat have done and punish them. Remember that woman Noadiah and all the other prophets who tried to frighten me.”
The Conclusion of the Work
15 After fifty-two days of work the entire wall was finished on the twenty-fifth day of the month of Elul. 16 When our enemies in the surrounding nations heard this, they realized that they had lost face, since everyone knew that the work had been done with God's help.
17 During all this time the Jewish leaders had been in correspondence with Tobiah. 18 Many people in Judah were on his side because of his Jewish father-in-law, Shecaniah son of Arah. In addition, his son Jehohanan had married the daughter of Meshullam son of Berechiah. 19 People would talk in front of me about all the good deeds Tobiah had done and would tell him everything I said. And he kept sending me letters to try to frighten me.
7 And now the wall had been rebuilt, the gates had all been put in place, and the Temple guards, the members of the sacred choir, and the other Levites had been assigned their work. 2 I put two men in charge of governing the city of Jerusalem: my brother Hanani and Hananiah, commanding officer of the fortress. Hananiah was a reliable and God-fearing man without equal. 3 I told them not to have the gates of Jerusalem opened in the morning until well after sunrise and to have them closed and barred before the guards went off duty at sunset. I also told them to appoint guards from among the people who lived in Jerusalem and to assign some of them to specific posts and others to patrol the area around their own houses.
The List of Those Who Returned from Exile(A)
4 Jerusalem was a large city, but not many people were living in it, and not many houses had been built yet. 5 God inspired me to assemble the people and their leaders and officials and to check their family records. I located the records of those who had first returned from captivity, and this is the information I found:
6 Many of the exiles left the province of Babylon and returned to Jerusalem and Judah, each to his own hometown. Their families had been living in exile in Babylonia ever since King Nebuchadnezzar had taken them there as prisoners. 7 Their leaders were Zerubbabel, Joshua, Nehemiah, Azariah, Raamiah, Nahamani, Mordecai, Bilshan, Mispereth, Bigvai, Nehum, and Baanah.
8-25 This is the list of the clans of Israel, with the number of those from each clan who returned from exile:
- Parosh - 2,172
- Shephatiah - 372
- Arah - 652
- Pahath Moab (descendants 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 (also called Hezekiah) - 98
- Hashum - 328
- Bezai - 324
- Hariph - 112
- Gibeon - 95
26-38 People whose ancestors had lived in the following towns also returned:
- Bethlehem and Netophah - 188
- Anathoth - 128
- Beth Azmaveth - 42
- Kiriath Jearim, Chephirah, and Beeroth - 743
- Ramah and Geba - 621
- Michmash - 122
- Bethel and Ai - 123
- The other Nebo - 52
- The other Elam - 1,254
- Harim - 320
- Jericho - 345
- Lod, Hadid, and Ono - 721
- Senaah - 3,930
39-42 This is the list of the priestly clans that returned from exile:
- Jedaiah (descendants of Jeshua) - 973
- Immer - 1,052
- Pashhur - 1,247
- Harim - 1,017
43-45 Clans of Levites who returned from exile:
- Jeshua and Kadmiel (descendants of Hodaviah) - 74
- Temple musicians (descendants of Asaph) - 148
- Temple guards (descendants of Shallum, Ater, Talmon, Akkub, Hatita, and Shobai) - 138
46-56 Clans of Temple workers who returned from exile:
- Ziha, Hasupha, Tabbaoth,
- Keros, Sia, Padon,
- Lebana, Hagaba, Shalmai,
- Hanan, Giddel, Gahar,
- Reaiah, Rezin, Nekoda,
- Gazzam, Uzza, Paseah,
- Besai, Meunim, Nephushesim,
- Bakbuk, Hakupha, Harhur,
- Bazlith, Mehida, Harsha,
- Barkos, Sisera, Temah,
- Neziah, and Hatipha.
57-59 Clans of Solomon's servants who returned from exile:
- Sotai, Sophereth, Perida,
- Jaalah, Darkon, Giddel,
- Shephatiah, Hattil, Pochereth Hazzebaim, and Amon.
60 The total number of descendants of the Temple workers and of Solomon's servants who returned from exile was 392.
61-62 There were 642 belonging to the clans of Delaiah, Tobiah, and Nekoda who returned from the towns of Tel Melah, Tel Harsha, Cherub, Addon, and Immer; but they could not prove that they were descendants of Israelites.
63-64 The following priestly clans could find no record to prove their ancestry: Hobaiah, Hakkoz, and Barzillai. (The ancestor of the priestly clan of Barzillai had married a woman from the clan of Barzillai of Gilead and taken the name of his father-in-law's clan.) Since they were unable to prove who their ancestors were, they were not accepted as priests. 65 (B)The Jewish governor told them that they could not eat the food offered to God until there was a priest who could use the Urim and Thummim.[c]
66-69 Total number of exiles who returned - 42,360.
- Their male and female servants - 7,337
- Male and female musicians - 245
- Horses - 736
- Mules - 245
- Camels - 435
- Donkeys - 6,720
70-72 Many of the people contributed to help pay the cost of restoring the Temple:
|The governor||270||ounces of gold|
|530||robes for priests|
|Heads of clans||337||pounds of gold|
|3,215||pounds of silver|
|The rest of the people||337||pounds of gold|
|2,923||pounds of silver|
|67||robes for priests|
73 (C)The priests, the Levites, the Temple guards, the musicians, many of the ordinary people, the Temple workers—all the people of Israel—settled in the towns and cities of Judah.
1 Corinthians 8
The Question about Food Offered to Idols
8 Now, concerning what you wrote about food offered to idols.
It is true, of course, that “all of us have knowledge,” as they say. Such knowledge, however, puffs a person up with pride; but love builds up. 2 Those who think they know something really don't know as they ought to know. 3 But the person who loves God is known by him.
4 So then, about eating the food offered to idols: we know that an idol stands for something that does not really exist; we know that there is only the one God. 5 Even if there are so-called “gods,” whether in heaven or on earth, and even though there are many of these “gods” and “lords,” 6 yet there is for us only one God, the Father, who is the Creator of all things and for whom we live; and there is only one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things were created and through whom we live.
7 But not everyone knows this truth. Some people have been so used to idols that to this day when they eat such food they still think of it as food that belongs to an idol; their conscience is weak, and they feel they are defiled by the food. 8 Food, however, will not improve our relation with God; we shall not lose anything if we do not eat, nor shall we gain anything if we do eat.
9 Be careful, however, not to let your freedom of action make those who are weak in the faith fall into sin. 10 Suppose a person whose conscience is weak in this matter sees you, who have so-called “knowledge,” eating in the temple of an idol; will not this encourage him to eat food offered to idols? 11 And so this weak person, your brother for whom Christ died, will perish because of your “knowledge”! 12 And in this way you will be sinning against Christ by sinning against other Christians and wounding their weak conscience. 13 So then, if food makes a believer sin, I will never eat meat again, so as not to make a believer fall into sin.
A Song of Praise
33 All you that are righteous,
shout for joy for what the Lord has done;
praise him, all you that obey him.
2 Give thanks to the Lord with harps,
sing to him with stringed instruments.
3 Sing a new song to him,
play the harp with skill, and shout for joy!
4 The words of the Lord are true,
and all his works are dependable.
5 The Lord loves what is righteous and just;
his constant love fills the earth.
6 The Lord created the heavens by his command,
the sun, moon, and stars by his spoken word.
7 He gathered all the seas into one place;
he shut up the ocean depths in storerooms.
8 Worship the Lord, all the earth!
Honor him, all peoples of the world!
9 When he spoke, the world was created;
at his command everything appeared.
10 The Lord frustrates the purposes of the nations;
he keeps them from carrying out their plans.
11 But his plans endure forever;
his purposes last eternally.