Background of Nehemiah – Nehemiah came to Jerusalem in 444 B.C. – He resigned as cupbearer to [King] Artaxerxes I [in Persia] in order to serve his own people in rebuilding the city of Jerusalem – Nehemiah was appointed Governor [of the Jerusalem area] and returned to assist in fortifying the walls of the capital [Jerusalem] to attract Jews to [return and] settle in security – Nehemiah sees the return of the people of Israel to Jerusalem as the second exodus not out of Egypt but [this time] out of Babylon – The language of Deuteronomy fills Nehemiah to represent this Exodus
The first order of business upon arrival in Jerusalem at night was to examine and inspect the damaged walls. They immediately began construction and fortification which stirred up the suspicions of the people surrounding Jerusalem. They viewed it as rebellion and began plotting and scheming against the work (Nehemiah 2:20). Numerous schemes were set up to try and ensnare Nehemiah without success. The workers took turns building and watching over the tower. From this incident comes the beautiful symbol of the sword and trowel. Nehemiah addressed the problem of financing the project with grace and mercy by cancelling all debts and not imposing heavy taxes thus easing the burden upon the poor. Nehemiah 5 Yet in spite of all the opposition the wall was built in only fifty two days. Upon completion the people celebrated the festivals of the seventh month, the Feast of Trumpets, Day of Atonement and Feast of Tabernacles, all under Ezra's leadership. Nehemiah began the public reading of the Law of God which convicted the people who had not realized how far short they had fallen during the Exile from God's standards. A National day of prayer and repentance was held on the twenty fourth day of the reading of the Law. The two laws which stood out over all the rest were concerning intermarriage and the keeping of the Sabbath. It was time for national celebration. Led by Ezra and Nehemiah Israel march in a procession around the top of the wall to meet at the Temple for a service of thanksgiving led by a choir and orchestra. After twelve years in Jerusalem, Nehemiah returns to report to the Persian king. 432 B.C. Several years later when he returned to Jerusalem he found that the people had fallen into their old ways. The priest Eliashib had allowed Tobiah, an Ammonite friend of Sanballat to occupy a room in the temple. Nehemiah had the temple cleansed, and reminded the people of their giving commitments under the covenant. He closed the city gates on the Sabbath so merchants could not buy or sell. Mixed marriages were condemned according to the law of God. There were now children who could not speak Hebrew only the language of the Philistines. The book ends with the words 'Remember me, O my God, for good' (Nehemiah 13:31). No matter how strong the wall, if God's people will not live according to God's law there is no protection but only judgment. Christ the fulfillment of Nehemiah also laid the foundation for the New Jerusalem with his own blood even in the face of opposition. God would sovereignly accomplish His redemptive purposes through his agents even in spite of fierce opposition. [link]
Book of Nehemiah Theme & Overview – Rebuilding Our Faith – It is naive to think that restoration of the physical walls of a city is the same as true restoration – God’s idea is not just to get us a ticket to heaven but to truly restore [rebuild] us
Rebuilding Our Faith: Although the theme of rebuilding Jerusalem's wall is often connected with the Book of Nehemiah, we must understand that the wall is the most visible sign of the community of God's people. The wall is symbolic of their identity because by it they are protected. When we look at the Book of Nehemiah, we will find even more important tasks that must be done to rebuild the people of God. It is inadequate to be satisfied with a city that has tall skyscrapers but does not have law and order. Our society now is coming to grips with what it is like to have a form of organization but disorder in the lives of people. Nehemiah, as a prophet of old, was calling the people to reassemble before God. Each chapter was a special emphasis on a new kind of restoration. The enemies were not located just on the outside of the walls but also on the inside. It was this 'inside' culprit that before had foiled Israel. It is naive to think that restoration of the physical walls of a city is the same as true restoration. We can easily remember a time when the walls of Jerusalem were intact but the evil within the walls provoked God to tear those walls down. But we would be fools to think we can have the inner restoration before outer (virtue before godliness). The perfecting of His people must not just think it is to again live in Jerusalem and "come back to this place." God's idea is not just to get us a ticket to heaven but to truly restore us. [link]
Nehemiah’s Wall an introduction by Pastor John Schmidt (YouTube)
This message, featuring Teaching Pastor John Schmidt, introduces us to Nehemiah, and was used to start a sermon series looking at Nehemiah's leadership skills. [link]
Zedekiah’s Cave: Also the way to the Ark of the Covenant – Zedekiah’s Cave has a wall that is believed to be the wall [now underground] repaired by the prophet Nehemiah as prophesied by Daniel (Daniel 9:25) – It is the southern wall of the sanctuary cast into the ground where the Ark of the Covenant is hidden in a [nearby] cave (YouTube)
Note: This is some great amateur video footage and much thanks go to the people involved in providing it [don't wait for CNN to provide this material to the public] - The video is shot below ground (because the really old archeology stuff is now underground and needs to be either excavated or tunneled into) the video primarily shows three things. - 1. A Tunnel that was a part of the complex tunnel system of ancient Israel and of most ancient cities (it's thought there was a 25 mile tunnel going all the way from Jerusalem to Jericho). - 2. The location where the stones were cut (quarried) from and then used by Herod to expand the Temple and to build the retaining walls (i.e. the modern Wailing Wall) and many of his other projects. - 3. When Herod expanded the Temple in 19 B.C. he pushed dirt out and covered many areas over with dirt to make more room for a larger Temple area on the Temple hill and during Herod's expansion project part of Nehemiah's Wall was covered over with dirt and the video shows some amazing footage of a remaining part the original wall [now underground] that was built or rebuilt with the supervision of Nehemiah. -- Also Note: The myth perpetuated by the Knight Templars and via Rosslyn Chapel (and also the Lincoln Cathedral [1100 A.D.] in Lincolnshire, England) [used by Dan Brown in the book and movie The Da Vinci Code] postulates that the Holy Grail (the Communion Cup of Jesus Christ) is also hidden in the cave (near the Ark of the Covenant) in a middle-chamber (the remains Solomon's Temple chambers are now underground while Herod's Temple was basically expanded over the top of what were Solomon's Chambers - also now called Solomon's Stables). There happens to be a an ancient underground middle chamber there but this was used by Jewish Priests and not the Apostles and Disciples of Jesus and early Christianity. - What is being said in the video is that Nehemiah's concern was not just that the wall was broken down in that one area (by the Temple and by the tombs of the Kings, David and Solomon) it was because the Ark was hidden in that area and with the wall crumbled it could expose the hiding place of the Ark therefore Nehemiah inspected that area at night (Nehemiah 2:11-17). Then with the wall rebuilt the Priests would have the safety to bring the Ark back into the Temple knowing that with the covering and protection of the wall they could again hide the Ark back in a cave-chamber with only a few moments notice. The Ark of the Covenant was probably first hidden away in the days of Isaiah during the attack on Jerusalem by the Assyrians and the Ark had been at times either hidden or within the Temple where it belonged up until and including the days of Jesus Christ and since 70 A.D. the Ark has remained hidden in the nearby system of caves and caverns. [link]
Archeology in Israel with Pastor Andy Cook (YouTube)
An on-site look at how archeology in Israel is bringing the Bible to life. [link]
What Did Nehemiah Build Pt. 1 of 2 – The Wall of Righteousness (YouTube)
WHAT DID NEHEMIAH BUILD? Here are the things Nehemiah did in restoring the "Wall" of Jerusalem: 1. Makes an assessment. 2. Goes to the priests and officials and presents his idea and plan. 3. The entire work is divided up and the priests begin working near their homes- their own land. 4. Priests from the surrounding region come in to the city to help. (This is "helping each other.") 5. Enemies begin to mock the workers and Nehemiah. 6. Enemies come together to plot against the workers. 7. The workers begin to pray and to guard themselves day & night. 8. The workers begin to tire. 9. Warnings come of an attack from the enemy (today, this can be prophecies.) Nehemiah redistributes his forces, strengthening weak areas. 10. Nehemiah encourages the workers. Half work (evangelizing) and half guard (prayer & fasting, prostrating before the Lord.) They took their weapons everywhere, even to drink water. 11. Nehemiah comes against usury. He tells the leaders and landowners to walk in fear of the Lord. They forgive debts to borrowers and repay collected interest. Nehemiah required commitments from the nobles and priests to not do this. 12. Nehemiah does not take an official allowance from those who were already heavily burdened. He funds himself, and even gives money to others. 13. The enemy's plot to murder Nehemiah fails, and so he generates false rumors. 14. Work is completed, but must be preserved. Nehemiah sets sentries over the city and leaders to guard their homes. 15. The law of God is carefully read and explained to everyone. Then they celebrate God. 16. The people confess their sins, fast, and humble themselves. 17. The people pray and thank God, proclaiming all the good things He has done. They remember the history of the Hebrews' walk with God. [link]
What Did Nehemiah Build Pt. 2 of 2 – The Wall of Righteousness – (NLT) Ezekiel 22:30: “I looked for somebody that might rebuild the Wall of Righteousness that guards the land.” (YouTube)
WHAT DID NEHEMIAH BUILD? Next, Nehemiah rebuilds the real wall that protects Jerusalem. Ezekiel 22:30: "I looked for somebody that might rebuild the wall of righteousness that guards the land. I searched for someone to stand in the gap in the wall so I wouldn't have to destroy the land, but I found no one [Until Jesus Christ stood in the Gap for all humanity (Revelation 5:9) and Jesus Christ established and built His Wall of Righteousness in His Christian Church (Revelation 19:8)]." Nehemiah Chapter 13: 1. Ammonites and Moabites are thrown out. Those who follow after others who are against God are thrown out. 2. Tobiah thrown out. Remove from places of honor those which are against the church but are within the church. These are so common place you will overlook them before you will realize they are separate from Christ. 3. Restores apportion for Levites. Give according to Scripture. 4. Assigns positions of responsibility. 5. Restored the Sabbath. 6. Restored the idea of pure marriage. Marry who God selects for you to marry. Use no other system of selection. 7. Exiles political unions from the priesthood. This exonerates the Lord by declaring He is not guilty of deceit by not trusting in the Power of God. The Lord does not need to form alliances with the forces of the world system. [link]
Nehemiah 1 – Nehemiah was the cup-bearer to King Artaxerxes of Persia (Iran) – The cup-bearer was the person who brought the King his wine anytime throughout the day that the King wanted to drink – It was a highly trusted position because if the King was going to be poisoned it would probably be put in his wine – The cup-bearer was usually a chosen servant that was also a very good friend to the King because often the cup-bearer would fellowship with the King while the King enjoyed his wine and often the cup-bearer knew the King and the business of the Kingdom better than almost anyone in the Kingdom — ‘Nehemiah 1:1-4 The words of Nehemiah the son of Hachaliah. And it came to pass in the month Chisleu, in the twentieth year, as I was in Shushan the palace, That Hanani, one of my brethren, came, he and certain men of Judah; and I asked them concerning the Jews that had escaped, which were left of the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem. And they said unto me, The remnant that are left of the captivity there in the province are in great affliction and reproach: the wall of Jerusalem also is broken down, and the gates thereof are burned with fire. And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of Heaven’
Nehemiah says a prayer before first enquiring of the King requesting to go to Jerusalem to assist his Jewish brethren in Israel [Nehemiah does not permanently go to Jerusalem he has to return after 11 years in Jerusalem and report back to the King in Persia then he returns for a few more years back to Jerusalem then goes back to Persia for a time, etc.]: Nehemiah 1:5-11 And said, I beseech thee, O LORD God of Heaven, the great and terrible God, that keepeth covenant and mercy for them that love Him and observe His Commandments: Let thine ear now be attentive, and thine eyes open, that thou mayest hear the prayer of thy servant, which I pray before thee now, day and night, for the Children of Israel **Thy servants, and confess the sins of the Children of Israel, which we have sinned against thee: both I and my father's house have sinned. We have dealt very corruptly against Thee, and have not kept The Commandments [10 Commandments], nor The Statutes, nor the Judgments, which thou commandedst thy servant Moses. Remember, I beseech thee, the word that thou commandedst thy servant Moses, saying, If ye transgress, I will scatter you abroad among the Nations: But if ye turn unto me, and keep My Commandments, and do them; though there were of you cast out unto the uttermost part of the Heaven, yet will I gather them from thence, and will bring them unto the place [Jerusalem] that I have chosen to set My Name there. Now these are Thy Servants and Thy People, *whom Thou hast **redeemed by thy great power, and by thy strong hand [on the night of Passover in Egypt (Exodus 6:6, Exodus 13:14-15)]. O Lord, I beseech thee, let now Thine ear be attentive to the prayer of Thy servant, and to the prayer of Thy servants, who desire to fear Thy Name: and prosper, I pray thee, Thy servant this day, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man. For I was the king's cupbearer.
Nehemiah 2 – Nehemiah requests to go assist his brethren in Jerusalem — ‘Nehemiah 2:1-6 And it came to pass in the month Nisan, in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes the King, that wine was before him: and I took up the wine, and gave it unto the King. Now I had not been beforetime sad in his presence. Wherefore the King said unto me, Why is thy countenance sad, seeing thou art not sick? this is nothing else but sorrow of heart. Then I was very sore afraid, And said unto the King, Let the King live forever: why should not my countenance be sad, when the city [Jerusalem], the place of my fathers’ sepulchers (tombs), lieth waste, and the gates thereof are consumed with fire? Then the King said unto me, For what dost thou make request? **So I prayed to the God of Heaven. And I said unto the King, If it please the King, and if thy servant have found favour in thy sight, that thou wouldest send me unto Judah [Israel], unto the city of my fathers’ sepulchres, that I may build it. And the King said unto me, the Queen [Ester] also sitting by him, For how long shall thy journey be? and when wilt thou return? So it pleased the King to send me; and I set him a time [Nehemiah’s first visit to Jerusalem lasted about 11 years].’
Nehemiah arrives in Jerusalem and during the night inspects the still crumbled Wall of Jerusalem: Nehemiah 2:9-18 Then I came to the [Gentile] Governors beyond the river, and gave them the King's letters. Now the King had sent captains of the army and horsemen with me. When [the Gentiles] Sanballat the Horonite, and Tobiah the servant, the Ammonite, heard of it, it grieved them exceedingly that there was come a man to seek the welfare of the Children of Israel. **So I came to Jerusalem, and was there three days. And I arose in the night, I and some few men with me; neither told I any man what my God had put in my heart to do at Jerusalem: neither was there any beast with me, save the beast that I rode upon. **And I went out by night by the gate of the valley, even before the dragon well, and to the dung port, and viewed the walls of Jerusalem, which were broken down, and the gates thereof were consumed with fire. Then I went on to the gate of the fountain, and to the King's [Solomon's] pool: but there was no place [the path was blocked by rubble] for the beast [donkey] that was under me to pass. Then went I up in the night by the brook [Cedron], and viewed the wall, and turned back, and entered by the gate of the valley, and so returned. And the rulers knew not whither I went, or what I did; neither had I as yet told it to the Jews, nor to the Priests, nor to the nobles, nor to the rulers, nor to the rest that did the work. **Then said I unto them, Ye see the distress that we are in, how Jerusalem lieth waste, and the gates thereof are burned with fire: come, and let us build up the wall of Jerusalem, that we be no more a reproach. Then I told them of the hand of my God which was good upon me; as also the King's words that he had spoken unto me. And they said, Let us rise up and build. So they strengthened their hands for this good work. - Note: It's though that a primary reason that Nehemiah was so stealth about his inspection of the wall was because he was also inspecting the location of where the Ark of the Covenant was hidden. Nehemiah had a letter from the King to rebuild the wall and the wall was going to get rebuilt regardless of any objections or opposition that anyone might have had so there was no real reason to inspect only the wall by night. Also Note: According to the eyewitness accounts of Ron Wyatt the Ark of the Covenant is indeed hidden in an area of caves and tunnels that are called ' Zedekiah's Cave'. keep in mind that Zedekiah's cave was an area [though called Solomon's Quarry] it was carved out by the Romans starting in 19 B.C. so the Ark of the Covenant would not have been hidden in that last location until very close to 70 A.D. and the end of Roman stone cutting in the cave - in fact there are still partially cut stones in the cave as work was abruptly stopped about 68-70 A.D. during the Jewish revolt against Rome in Israel. So the Ark of the Covenant of Israel was available and in use in Jerusalem and in the Temple up until the destruction of Jerusalem and the 2nd Temple in 70 A.D.
Nehemiah 3-4 – Sections of the wall begin to be built but it was in a half-hazard way and half a wall or even almost a full wall is still no wall at all until the entire wall and including the gates are built, secured and in place — ‘Nehemiah 3:1-3 Then Eliashib the high priest rose up with his brethren the priests, and they builded the sheep gate; they sanctified it, and set up the doors of it; even unto the tower of Meah they sanctified it, unto the tower of Hananeel. And next unto him builded the men of Jericho. And next to them builded Zaccur the son of Imri. But the fish gate did the sons of Hassenaah build, who also laid the beams thereof, and set up the doors thereof, the locks thereof, and the bars thereof.’
During a time of much distress and persecution in Jerusalem the Wall of Jerusalem was still able to be rebuilt: Nehemiah 4:1-3 But it came to pass, that when Sanballat heard that we builded the wall, he was wroth, and took great indignation, and mocked the Jews. And he spake before his brethren and the army of Samaria, and said, What do these feeble Jews? will they fortify themselves? will they sacrifice? will they make an end in a day? will they revive the stones out of the heaps of the rubbish which are burned? Now Tobiah the Ammonite was by him, and he said, Even that which they build, if a fox go up, he shall even break down their stone wall. ... Nehemiah 4:6-9 So built we the wall; and all the wall was joined together unto the half thereof: for the people had a mind to work. But it came to pass, that when Sanballat, and Tobiah, and the Arabians, and the Ammonites, and the Ashdodites, heard that the walls of Jerusalem were made up, and that the breaches began to be stopped, then they were very wroth, And conspired all of them together to come and to fight against Jerusalem, and to hinder it. Nevertheless we made our prayer unto our God, and set a watch against them day and night, because of them. ... Nehemiah 4:21-23 So we laboured in the work: and half of them held the spears from the rising of the morning till the stars appeared. 22 Likewise at the same time said I unto the people, Let everyone with his servant lodge within Jerusalem, that in the night they may be a guard to us, and labour on the day. 23 So neither I, nor my brethren, nor my servants, nor the men of the guard which followed me, none of us put off our clothes, saving that everyone put them off for washing.
Nehemiah 5 – Nehemiah besides having to contend with problems from outsiders and foreigners he also had to contend with just as many and just as serious of problems by the fellow countrymen – The Jews themselves were enslaving one another and confiscating the land of their fellow Jews at such a fast rate that it had become difficult to tell Jewish overlords from Gentile oppressors — ‘Nehemiah 5:1-6 And there was a great cry of the people and of their wives against their brethren the Jews. For there were that said, We, our sons, and our daughters, are many: therefore we take up corn for them, that we may eat, and live. Some also there were that said, We have mortgaged our lands, vineyards, and houses, that we might buy corn, because of the dearth. There were also that said, We have borrowed money for the King’s tribute, and that upon our lands and vineyards. Yet now our flesh is as the flesh of our brethren, our children as their children: and, lo, we bring into bondage our sons and our daughters to be servants, and some of our daughters are brought unto bondage already: neither is it in our power to redeem them; for other men have our lands and vineyards. And I was very angry when I heard their cry and these words.’
Nehemiah has to stop his work on the physical wall around Jerusalem in order to ensure that the people of Israel and Jerusalem have a society and customs worth of the protection and confinement of a wall: Nehemiah 5:7-12 Then I consulted with myself, and I rebuked the nobles, and the rulers, and said unto them, Ye exact usury, every one of his brother. And I set a great assembly against them. And I said unto them, We after our ability have redeemed our brethren the Jews, which were sold unto the heathen; and will ye even sell your brethren? or shall they be sold unto us? Then held they their peace, and found nothing to answer. Also I said, It is not good that ye do: ought ye not to walk in the fear of our God because of the reproach of the heathen our enemies? I likewise, and my brethren, and my servants, might exact of them money and corn: I pray you, let us leave off this usury [profiting in times of difficulty]. **Restore, I pray you, to them, even this day, their lands, their vineyards, their oliveyards, and their houses, also the hundredth part of the money, and of the corn, the wine, and the oil, that ye exact of them. Then said they, We will restore them, and will require nothing of them; so will we do as thou sayest. Then I called the priests, and took an oath of them, that they should do according to this promise.
Nehemiah 6-7 – Nehemiah faces several plots and intrigues against his own life — ‘Nehemiah 6:1-4 Now it came to pass, when Sanballat, and Tobiah, and Geshem the Arabian, and the rest of our enemies, heard that I had builded the wall, and that there was no breach left therein; though at that time I had not set up the doors upon the gates; That Sanballat and Geshem sent unto me, saying, Come, let us meet together in some one of the villages in the plain of Ono. But they thought to do me mischief. And I sent messengers unto them, saying, I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down: why should the work cease, whilst I leave it, and come down to you? Yet they sent unto me four times after this sort; and I answered them after the same manner. … Nehemiah 6:17-19 Moreover in those days the nobles of Judah sent many letters [of support] unto Tobiah, and the letters of Tobiah came unto them. For there were many in Judah sworn unto him, because he was the son in law of Shechaniah the son of Arah; and his son Johanan had taken the daughter of Meshullam the son of Berechiah. *Also they reported his good deeds before me, and uttered [betrayed] my words to him. **And Tobiah sent letters to put me in fear.’
The Wall of Jerusalem has been completed but the people and the city are not yet in a stable enough position to dedicate the wall and call it a completed work of God: Nehemiah 7:1-6 Now it came to pass, when the wall was built, and I had set up the doors, and the porters and the singers and the Levites were appointed, That I gave my brother Hanani, and Hananiah the ruler of the palace, charge over Jerusalem: for he was a faithful man, and feared God above many. And I said unto them, Let not the gates of Jerusalem be opened until the sun be hot; and while they stand by, let them shut the doors, and bar them: and appoint watches of the inhabitants of Jerusalem, everyone in his watch, and every one to be over against his house. Now the city was large and great: but the people were few therein, and the houses were not builded. And my God put into mine heart to gather together the nobles, and the rulers, and the people, that they might be reckoned by genealogy. And I found a register of the genealogy of them which came up at the first, and found written therein, These are the children of the province, that went up out of the captivity, of those that had been carried away, whom Nebuchadnezzar the King of Babylon had carried away, and came again to Jerusalem and to Judah, every one unto his city ...
Nehemiah 8 – Ezra the Priest and Scribe gathers the people of Israel together and for the first time reads to the people and teaches to them from the Bible [the exact same word for word O.T. Bible that we now have and use] – The Feast of Tabernacles is reinstated — ‘Nehemiah 8:1-3 And [on the first day of the Feast of Tabernacles] all the people gathered themselves together as one man into the street that was before the water gate (John chapter 7); and they spake unto Ezra the scribe to bring the Book (Scroll) of the Law of Moses, which the LORD had commanded to Israel. And Ezra the Priest brought the Law before the Congregation both of men and women, and all that could hear with understanding, upon the first day of the seventh month. And he read therein before the street that was before the water gate from the morning until midday, before the men and the women, and those that could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive unto the Book of the Law.’
Ezra begins to teach the people for the first time from the Hebrew O.T. Bible: Nehemiah 8:4-12 And Ezra the scribe stood upon a pulpit of wood, which they had made for the purpose; and beside him stood Mattithiah, and Shema, and Anaiah, and Urijah, and Hilkiah, and Maaseiah, on his right hand; and on his left hand, Pedaiah, and Mishael, and Malchiah, and Hashum, and Hashbadana, Zechariah, and Meshullam. And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people; for he was above all the people; and when he opened it, all the people stood up: And Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God. And all the people answered, Amen, Amen, with lifting up their hands: and they bowed their heads, and worshipped the LORD with their faces to the ground. Also Jeshua, and Bani, and Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodijah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, and the Levites, caused the people to understand the law: and the people stood in their place. So they read in the Book in the Law of God distinctly [clearly], and gave the sense [the meaning], and caused [taught] them to understand the [Bible] reading. And Nehemiah, which is the Tirshatha, and Ezra the Priest the Scribe, and the Levites that taught the people, said unto all the people, *This day is holy unto the LORD your God; *mourn not, nor weep. *For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the Law [for the first time]. Then he said unto them, Go your way, *eat the fat, and *drink the sweet [wine], and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: *neither be ye sorry; **for the joy of the LORD is your strength. So the Levites stilled all the people, saying, Hold your peace, for the day is holy; neither be ye grieved (Romans 8:1). And all the people went their way to eat, and to drink, and to send portions, and to make great mirth [joy], ***because they had understood the Words [of scripture] that were declared unto them. - Note: This is an Amazing, Amazing sequence of Bible passages. Earlier Ezra (Ezra 9:3) had been very upset and very hard on the people however Ezra seemed to realize that Ezra as a Scribe he had the opportunity to read God's word but the people had not yet heard or read God's word and having not heard the Word of God it was impossible for them to obey the Words of God. Ezra then set forth to openly and publically read and teach the Word of God to all the people of Israel and when the people heard the actual Word of God they were deeply repentant and greatly moved and began to cry. Ezra understanding the concept of (Romans 8:1) that there is no condemnation from God for those who seek after God then declared to the people that as they sought the Lord the day is holy and therefore there was no condemnation [even though the people realized they fell so short of what God wanted] but rather to rejoice and to "eat the fat." Now the fat in a Levitical Temple offering was not to be eaten [fat Biblically represents gossip and worry and the worry (fat) was to be given to God to deal with - burnt on the Alter] and Ezra seems to be making a point that animal sacrifices were to be done Only on the Temple Alter [people had been sacrificing on alters on hills] and therefore the alters upon hills were to come down and they were to eat of the fat, as a non-temple everyday meal sacrifice. Ezra is credited with having removed the alters from throughout Israel and replacing the alters [that were not granted by God] with the Synagogues and the teaching and community culture of the Synagogues. - Also Note: When Jesus was on earth He spent much time going both into the Synagogues of Israel and into the Temple in Jerusalem validating both the Synagogue and the Temple as a valid representation of what God wanted Israel to know about Himself and in how God wanted Israel to worship Him. In the passion of the times both the Synagogue Priests and the Temple Priests momentarily rejected Jesus' authority on earth though history has not yet concluded and at the conclusion of history Jesus' authority will be undisputed.
Nehemiah 9-11 – The Children of God continue to hear the Word of God and continue to repent and renew their vows to God — ‘Nehemiah 9:1-3 Now in the twenty and fourth day of this month the children of Israel were assembled with fasting, and with sackclothes, and earth upon them. And the seed of Israel separated themselves from all strangers, and stood and confessed their sins, and the iniquities of their fathers. And they stood up in their place, and read in the Book of the Law [O.T.] of the LORD their God one fourth part of the day; and another fourth part they confessed, and worshipped the LORD their God.’
Nehemiah 9:38 And because of all this we make a sure covenant, and write it; and our princes, Levites, and priests, seal [vow] unto it. ... Nehemiah 11:1 And the rulers of the people dwelt at Jerusalem: the rest of the people also cast lots, to bring one of ten to dwell in Jerusalem the Holy City, and nine parts to dwell in other cities. And the people blessed all the men, that willingly offered themselves to dwell at Jerusalem. - Note: After the return from Babylon there were not enough survivors from Jerusalem to begin to even fill the city so Jews from the countryside had to be relocated into Jerusalem in order to populate the city.
Nehemiah 12-13 – With the city of Jerusalem now stable and the people worshiping God in spirit and in truth the wall of Jerusalem is dedicated to God as a finished project — ‘Nehemiah 12:27 And at the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem they sought the Levites out of all their places, to bring them to Jerusalem, to keep the dedication with gladness, both with thanksgivings, and with singing, with cymbals, psalteries, and with harps.’
The Bible's book of Nehemiah concludes: Nehemiah 13:26-31 Did not Solomon King of Israel sin by these things? yet among many Nations was there no King like him, who was beloved of his God, and God made him King over all Israel: nevertheless even him did outlandish women cause to sin. Shall we then hearken [listen] unto you [current Priesthood and leadership] to do all this great evil, to transgress against our God in marrying strange wives? And one of the sons of Joiada, the son of Eliashib the High Priest, was son in law to Sanballat the Horonite: therefore I chased him from me. Remember them, O my God, because they have defiled the Priesthood, and the Covenant of the Priesthood, and of the Levites. Thus cleansed I them from all strangers, and appointed the wards of the Priests and the Levites, everyone in his business; And for the wood offering, at times appointed, and for the firstfruits [tithes]. Remember me, O my God, for good.