Sunday, September 29, 2013

Nehemiah 4:1-6:19


The bad guys in this story are Sanballat, governor of Samaria, Tobiah, governor of Ammon, and Geshem the Arab, king of Qedar. These three, like our hero Nehemiah, are all subject and beholden to the Assyrians. They, and presumably their armies, harrass the Jews as they try to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. Apparently, they see a fortified city as a threat.

Nehemiah organizes his people so that they are all armed. Some work as others stand guard. Even the workers keep their weapons at hand.

In addition to the external threat of hostile neighbors, there is internal pressure in Jerusalem and Judah. Food shortages lead the well-off to prey upon the poor, giving food in return for colatteral (a legal practice) not actually charging (illegal) interest as the translations suggest. Nehemiah himself is apparently among the lenders. When the poor complain about their debt-slavery, Nehemiah agrees that taking pledges is not good. Under his administration the hungry are fed and the needy cared for. 

Sanballat, Tobiah, and Geshen try repeatedly to lure Nehemiah out of the city to kill him. They threaten to report to Artaxerxes that Nehemiah is in rebellion against Assyria. Nehemiah won't rise to their bait. Nor will he take refuge in the temple. He is stalwart and faithful. 

The repair of Jerusalem's walls is completed. 

No comments:

Post a Comment