Daily Devotional

by Larry Stockstill

Integrity is the missing ingredient in many leaders today. Nehemiah, however, taught and modeled a sacrificial lifestyle that was above reproach. Although he had a right to be pampered, he refused to place a heavy burden on the people (Nehemiah 5:15). Although others had lorded it over the people, Nehemiah devoted himself to the work on the wall (v. 16). In addition, he never demanded the fine food allotted to him as governor (v. 18). He was a man of rare integrity who led by his example.

A life of integrity demands a lifestyle of accountability that involves one's money, priorities, and motives. God was so blessed by Job's integrity that He described him as "the finest man in all the earth-a man of complete integrity" (Job 2:3). In the New Testament, Peter reminded the elders not to be greedy for money, but eager to serve; not to lord it over those entrusted to them, but to be examples to the flock (1 Peter 5:2-3).

Those you lead can tell if your heart is influenced by the work or the benefits of the work. If you aspire to leadership, seek integrity. God will be sure to make a place for you!

Nehemiah 5:14-7:73a

14 Moreover, from the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes,S Ne 2:6 when I was appointed to be their governorGe 42:6; Ezr 6:7; Jer 40:7; Hag 1:1 in the land of Judah, until his thirty-second year—twelve years—neither I nor my brothers ate the food allotted to the governor.15 But the earlier governors—those preceding me—placed a heavy burden on the people and took forty shekelsThat is, about 1 pound or about 460 grams of silver from them in addition to food and wine. Their assistants also lorded it over the people. But out of reverence for GodS Ge 20:11 I did not act like that.16 Instead,2Th 3:7-10 I devoted myself to the work on this wall. All my men were assembled there for the work; weMost Hebrew manuscripts; some Hebrew manuscripts, Septuagint, Vulgate and Syriac I did not acquire any land.

17 Furthermore, a hundred and fifty Jews and officials ate at my table, as well as those who came to us from the surrounding nations.18 Each day one ox, six choice sheep and some poultry1Ki 4:23 were prepared for me, and every ten days an abundant supply of wine of all kinds. In spite of all this, I never demanded the food allotted to the governor, because the demands were heavy on these people.

19 RememberS Ge 8:1; S 2Ki 20:3; S Ne 1:8 me with favor, my God, for all I have done for these people.

Further Opposition to the Rebuilding

When word came to Sanballat, Tobiah,Ne 2:10 GeshemS Ne 2:19 the Arab and the rest of our enemies that I had rebuilt the wall and not a gap was left in it—though up to that time I had not set the doors in the gates—Sanballat and Geshem sent me this message: “Come, let us meet together in one of the villagesOr in Kephirim on the plain of Ono.S 1Ch 8:12

But they were scheming to harm me;so I sent messengers to them with this reply: “I am carrying on a great project and cannot go down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and go down to you?”Four times they sent me the same message, and each time I gave them the same answer.

Then, the fifth time, SanballatS Ne 2:10 sent his aide to me with the same message, and in his hand was an unsealed letterin which was written:

“It is reported among the nations—and GeshemHebrew Gashmu, a variant of GeshemS Ne 2:19 says it is true—that you and the Jews are plotting to revolt, and therefore you are building the wall. Moreover, according to these reports you are about to become their kingand have even appointed prophets to make this proclamation about you in Jerusalem: ‘There is a king in Judah!’ Now this report will get back to the king; so come, let us meet together.”

I sent him this reply: “Nothing like what you are saying is happening; you are just making it up out of your head.”

They were all trying to frighten us, thinking, “Their hands will get too weak for the work, and it will not be completed.”

But I prayed, “Now strengthen my hands.”

10 One day I went to the house of Shemaiah son of Delaiah, the son of Mehetabel, who was shut in at his home. He said, “Let us meet in the house of God, inside the templeNu 18:7, and let us close the temple doors, because men are coming to kill you—by night they are coming to kill you.”

11 But I said, “Should a man like me run away? Or should someone like me go into the temple to save his life? I will not go!”12 I realized that God had not sent him, but that he had prophesied against meEze 13:22-23 because Tobiah and SanballatS Ne 2:10 had hired him.13 He had been hired to intimidate me so that I would commit a sin by doing this, and then they would give me a bad name to discredit me.Jer 20:10

14 RememberS Ne 1:8 Tobiah and Sanballat,S Ne 2:10 my God, because of what they have done; remember also the prophetS Ex 15:20; Eze 13:17-23; S Ac 21:9; Rev 2:20 Noadiah and how she and the rest of the prophetsJer 23:9-40; Zec 13:2-3 have been trying to intimidate me.15 So the wall was completed on the twenty-fifth of Elul, in fifty-two days.

Opposition to the Completed Wall

16 When all our enemies heard about this, all the surrounding nations were afraid and lost their self-confidence, because they realized that this work had been done with the help of our God.

17 Also, in those days the nobles of Judah were sending many letters to Tobiah, and replies from Tobiah kept coming to them.18 For many in Judah were under oath to him, since he was son-in-law to Shekaniah son of Arah, and his son Jehohanan had married the daughter of Meshullam son of Berekiah.19 Moreover, they kept reporting to me his good deeds and then telling him what I said. And Tobiah sent letters to intimidate me.

After the wall had been rebuilt and I had set the doors in place, the gatekeepers,1Ch 9:27; S 26:12-19 the musiciansPs 68:25 and the LevitesNe 8:9 were appointed.I put in charge of Jerusalem my brother Hanani,Ne 1:2 along with HananiahNe 10:23 the commander of the citadel,Ne 2:8 because he was a man of integrity and feared1Ki 18:3 God more than most people do.I said to them, “The gates of Jerusalem are not to be opened until the sun is hot. While the gatekeepers are still on duty, have them shut the doors and bar them. Also appoint residents of Jerusalem as guards, some at their posts and some near their own houses.”

The List of the Exiles Who Returned7:6-73pp — Ezr 2:1-70

Now the city was large and spacious, but there were few people in it,Ne 11:1 and the houses had not yet been rebuilt.So my God put it into my heart to assemble the nobles, the officials and the common people for registration by families. I found the genealogical record of those who had been the first to return. This is what I found written there:

These are the people of the province who came up from the captivity of the exilesS 2Ch 36:20; S Ne 1:2 whom Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon had taken captive (they returned to Jerusalem and Judah, each to his own town,in company with Zerubbabel,S 1Ch 3:19 Joshua, Nehemiah, Azariah, Raamiah, Nahamani, Mordecai, Bilshan, Mispereth, Bigvai, Nehum and Baanah):

The list of the men of Israel:

the descendants of Parosh2,172
of Shephatiah372
10 of Arah652
11 of Pahath-Moab (through the line of Jeshua and Joab)2,818
12 of Elam1,254
13 of Zattu845
14 of Zakkai760
15 of Binnui648
16 of Bebai628
17 of Azgad2,322
18 of Adonikam667
19 of Bigvai2,067
20 of AdinS Ezr 8:6655
21 of Ater (through Hezekiah)98
22 of Hashum328
23 of Bezai324
24 of Hariph112
25 of Gibeon95
26 the men of Bethlehem and NetophahS 2Sa 23:28; S 1Ch 2:54188
27 of AnathothS Jos 21:18128
28 of Beth Azmaveth42
29 of Kiriath Jearim, KephirahS Jos 18:26 and BeerothS Jos 18:25743
30 of Ramah and Geba621
31 of Mikmash122
32 of Bethel and AiS Ge 12:8123
33 of the other Nebo52
34 of the other Elam1,254
35 of Harim320
36 of JerichoNe 3:2345
37 of Lod, Hadid and OnoS 1Ch 8:12721
38 of Senaah3,930

39 The priests:

the descendants of Jedaiah (through the family of Jeshua)973
40 of Immer1,052
41 of Pashhur1,247
42 of Harim1,017

43 The Levites:

the descendants of Jeshua (through Kadmiel through the line of Hodaviah)74

44 The musicians:Ne 11:23

the descendants of Asaph148

45 The gatekeepers:S 1Ch 9:17

the descendants of
Shallum, Ater, Talmon, Akkub, Hatita and Shobai138

46 The temple servants:S Ne 3:26

the descendants of
Ziha, Hasupha, Tabbaoth,
47 Keros, Sia, Padon,
48 Lebana, Hagaba, Shalmai,
49 Hanan, Giddel, Gahar,
50 Reaiah, Rezin, Nekoda,
51 Gazzam, Uzza, Paseah,
52 Besai, Meunim, Nephusim,
53 Bakbuk, Hakupha, Harhur,
54 Bazluth, Mehida, Harsha,
55 Barkos, Sisera, Temah,
56 Neziah and Hatipha

57 The descendants of the servants of Solomon:

the descendants of
Sotai, Sophereth, Perida,
58 Jaala, Darkon, Giddel,
59 Shephatiah, Hattil,
Pokereth-Hazzebaim and Amon
60 The temple servants and the descendants of the servants of SolomonS 1Ch 9:2392

61 The following came up from the towns of Tel Melah, Tel Harsha, Kerub, Addon and Immer, but they could not show that their families were descended from Israel:

62 the descendants of
Delaiah, Tobiah and Nekoda642

63 And from among the priests:

the descendants of
Hobaiah, Hakkoz and Barzillai (a man who had married a daughter of Barzillai the Gileadite and was called by that name).

64 These searched for their family records, but they could not find them and so were excluded from the priesthood as unclean.65 The governor, therefore, ordered them not to eat any of the most sacred food until there should be a priest ministering with the Urim and Thummim.S Ex 28:30

66 The whole company numbered 42,360,67 besides their 7,337 male and female slaves; and they also had 245 male and female singers.68 There were 736 horses, 245 mules,Some Hebrew manuscripts (see also Ezra 2:66); most Hebrew manuscripts do not have this verse.69 435 camels and 6,720 donkeys.

70 Some of the heads of the families contributed to the work. The governor gave to the treasury 1,000 daricsThat is, about 19 pounds or about 8.4 kilograms of gold, 50 bowls and 530 garments for priests.71 Some of the heads of the familiesS 1Ch 29:7 gave to the treasury for the work 20,000 daricsThat is, about 375 pounds or about 170 kilograms; also in verse 72 of gold and 2,200 minasThat is, about 1 1/3 tons or about 1.2 metric tons of silver.72 The total given by the rest of the people was 20,000 darics of gold, 2,000 minasThat is, about 1 1/4 tons or about 1.1 metric tons of silver and 67 garments for priests.S Ex 25:2

73 The priests, the Levites, the gatekeepers, the musicians and the temple servants,Ne 1:10; Ps 34:22; 103:21; 113:1; 135:1 along with certain of the people and the rest of the Israelites, settled in their own towns.S Ezr 3:1; Ne 11:1

Ezra Reads the Law

When the seventh month came and the Israelites had settled in their towns,Ezr 3:1

14 For the entire twelve years that I was governor of Judah—from the twentieth year to the thirty-second year of the reign of King ArtaxerxesThat is, 445–433 B.c.—neither I nor my officials drew on our official food allowance.15 The former governors, in contrast, had laid heavy burdens on the people, demanding a daily ration of food and wine, besides forty piecesHebrew 40 shekels [1 pound or 456 grams]. of silver. Even their assistants took advantage of the people. But because I feared God, I did not act that way.

16 I also devoted myself to working on the wall and refused to acquire any land. And I required all my servants to spend time working on the wall.17 I asked for nothing, even though I regularly fed 150 Jewish officials at my table, besides all the visitors from other lands!18 The provisions I paid for each day included one ox, six choice sheep or goats, and a large number of poultry. And every ten days we needed a large supply of all kinds of wine. Yet I refused to claim the governor’s food allowance because the people already carried a heavy burden.

19 Remember, O my God, all that I have done for these people, and bless me for it.

Continued Opposition to Rebuilding

Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem the Arab, and the rest of our enemies found out that I had finished rebuilding the wall and that no gaps remained—though we had not yet set up the doors in the gates.So Sanballat and Geshem sent a message asking me to meet them at one of the villagesAs in Greek version; Hebrew reads at Kephirim. in the plain of Ono.

But I realized they were plotting to harm me,so I replied by sending this message to them: “I am engaged in a great work, so I can’t come. Why should I stop working to come and meet with you?”

Four times they sent the same message, and each time I gave the same reply.The fifth time, Sanballat’s servant came with an open letter in his hand,and this is what it said:

“There is a rumor among the surrounding nations, and GeshemHebrew Gashmu, a variant spelling of Geshem. tells me it is true, that you and the Jews are planning to rebel and that is why you are building the wall. According to his reports, you plan to be their king.He also reports that you have appointed prophets in Jerusalem to proclaim about you, ‘Look! There is a king in Judah!’

“You can be very sure that this report will get back to the king, so I suggest that you come and talk it over with me.”

I replied, “There is no truth in any part of your story. You are making up the whole thing.”

They were just trying to intimidate us, imagining that they could discourage us and stop the work. So I continued the work with even greater determination.As in Greek version; Hebrew reads But now to strengthen my hands.

10 Later I went to visit Shemaiah son of Delaiah and grandson of Mehetabel, who was confined to his home. He said, “Let us meet together inside the Temple of God and bolt the doors shut. Your enemies are coming to kill you tonight.”

11 But I replied, “Should someone in my position run from danger? Should someone in my position enter the Temple to save his life? No, I won’t do it!”12 I realized that God had not spoken to him, but that he had uttered this prophecy against me because Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him.13 They were hoping to intimidate me and make me sin. Then they would be able to accuse and discredit me.

14 Remember, O my God, all the evil things that Tobiah and Sanballat have done. And remember Noadiah the prophet and all the prophets like her who have tried to intimidate me.

The Builders Complete the Wall

15 So on October 2Hebrew on the twenty-fifth day of the month Elul, of the ancient Hebrew lunar calendar. This day was October 2, 445 B.c.; also see note on 1:1. the wall was finished—just fifty-two days after we had begun.16 When our enemies and the surrounding nations heard about it, they were frightened and humiliated. They realized this work had been done with the help of our God.

17 During those fifty-two days, many letters went back and forth between Tobiah and the nobles of Judah.18 For many in Judah had sworn allegiance to him because his father-in-law was Shecaniah son of Arah, and his son Jehohanan was married to the daughter of Meshullam son of Berekiah.19 They kept telling me about Tobiah’s good deeds, and then they told him everything I said. And Tobiah kept sending threatening letters to intimidate me.

After the wall was finished and I had set up the doors in the gates, the gatekeepers, singers, and Levites were appointed.I gave the responsibility of governing Jerusalem to my brother Hanani, along with Hananiah, the commander of the fortress, for he was a faithful man who feared God more than most.I said to them, “Do not leave the gates open during the hottest part of the day.Or Keep the gates of Jerusalem closed until the sun is hot. And even while the gatekeepers are on duty, have them shut and bar the doors. Appoint the residents of Jerusalem to act as guards, everyone on a regular watch. Some will serve at sentry posts and some in front of their own homes.”

Nehemiah Registers the People

At that time the city was large and spacious, but the population was small, and none of the houses had been rebuilt.So my God gave me the idea to call together all the nobles and leaders of the city, along with the ordinary citizens, for registration. I had found the genealogical record of those who had first returned to Judah. This is what was written there:

Here is the list of the Jewish exiles of the provinces who returned from their captivity. King Nebuchadnezzar had deported them to Babylon, but now they returned to Jerusalem and the other towns in Judah where they originally lived.Their leaders were Zerubbabel, Jeshua, Nehemiah, Seraiah,As in parallel text at Ezra 2:2; Hebrew reads Azariah. Reelaiah,As in parallel text at Ezra 2:2; Hebrew reads Raamiah. Nahamani, Mordecai, Bilshan, Mispar,As in parallel text at Ezra 2:2; Hebrew reads Mispereth. Bigvai, Rehum,As in parallel text at Ezra 2:2; Hebrew reads Nehum. and Baanah.

This is the number of the men of Israel who returned from exile:

The family of Parosh2,172
The family of Shephatiah372
10 The family of Arah652
11 The family of Pahath-moab (descendants of Jeshua and Joab)2,818
12 The family of Elam1,254
13 The family of Zattu845
14 The family of Zaccai760
15 The family of BaniAs in parallel text at Ezra 2:10; Hebrew reads Binnui.648
16 The family of Bebai628
17 The family of Azgad2,322
18 The family of Adonikam667
19 The family of Bigvai2,067
20 The family of Adin655
21 The family of Ater (descendants of Hezekiah)98
22 The family of Hashum328
23 The family of Bezai324
24 The family of JorahAs in parallel text at Ezra 2:18; Hebrew reads Hariph.112
25 The family of GibbarAs in parallel text at Ezra 2:20; Hebrew reads Gibeon.95
26 The people of Bethlehem and Netophah188
27 The people of Anathoth128
28 The people of Beth-azmaveth42
29 The people of Kiriath-jearim, Kephirah, and Beeroth743
30 The people of Ramah and Geba621
31 The people of Micmash122
32 The people of Bethel and Ai123
33 The people of West NeboOr of the other Nebo.52
34 The citizens of West ElamOr of the other Elam.1,254
35 The citizens of Harim320
36 The citizens of Jericho345
37 The citizens of Lod, Hadid, and Ono721
38 The citizens of Senaah3,930

39 These are the priests who returned from exile:

The family of Jedaiah (through the line of Jeshua)973
40 The family of Immer1,052
41 The family of Pashhur1,247
42 The family of Harim1,017

43 These are the Levites who returned from exile:

The families of Jeshua and Kadmiel (descendants of HodaviahAs in parallel text at Ezra 2:40; Hebrew reads Hodevah.)74
44 The singers of the family of Asaph148
45 The gatekeepers of the families of Shallum, Ater, Talmon, Akkub, Hatita, and Shobai138

46 The descendants of the following Temple servants returned from exile:

Ziha, Hasupha, Tabbaoth,

47 Keros, Siaha,As in parallel text at Ezra 2:44; Hebrew reads Sia. Padon,

48 Lebanah, Hagabah, Shalmai,

49 Hanan, Giddel, Gahar,

50 Reaiah, Rezin, Nekoda,

51 Gazzam, Uzza, Paseah,

52 Besai, Meunim, Nephusim,As in parallel text at Ezra 2:50; Hebrew reads Nephushesim.

53 Bakbuk, Hakupha, Harhur,

54 Bazluth,As in parallel text at Ezra 2:52; Hebrew reads Bazlith. Mehida, Harsha,

55 Barkos, Sisera, Temah,

56 Neziah, and Hatipha.

57 The descendants of these servants of King Solomon returned from exile:

Sotai, Hassophereth, Peruda,As in parallel text at Ezra 2:55; Hebrew reads Sotai, Sophereth, Perida.

58 Jaalah,As in parallel text at Ezra 2:56; Hebrew reads Jaala. Darkon, Giddel,

59 Shephatiah, Hattil, Pokereth-hazzebaim, and Ami.As in parallel text at Ezra 2:57; Hebrew reads Amon.

60 In all, the Temple servants and the descendants of Solomon’s servants numbered 392.

61 Another group returned at this time from the towns of Tel-melah, Tel-harsha, Kerub, Addan,As in parallel text at Ezra 2:59; Hebrew reads Addon. and Immer. However, they could not prove that they or their families were descendants of Israel.62 This group included the families of Delaiah, Tobiah, and Nekoda—a total of 642 people.

63 Three families of priests—Hobaiah, Hakkoz, and Barzillai—also returned. (This Barzillai had married a woman who was a descendant of Barzillai of Gilead, and he had taken her family name.)64 They searched for their names in the genealogical records, but they were not found, so they were disqualified from serving as priests.65 The governor told them not to eat the priests’ share of food from the sacrifices until a priest could consult the Lord about the matter by using the Urim and Thummim—the sacred lots.

66 So a total of 42,360 people returned to Judah,67 in addition to 7,337 servants and 245 singers, both men and women.68 They took with them 736 horses, 245 mules,As in some Hebrew manuscripts (see also Ezra 2:66); most Hebrew manuscripts lack this verse. Verses 7:69-73 are numbered 7:68-72 in Hebrew text.69 435 camels, and 6,720 donkeys.

70 Some of the family leaders gave gifts for the work. The governor gave to the treasury 1,000 gold coins,Hebrew 1,000 darics of gold, about 19 pounds or 8.6 kilograms in weight. 50 gold basins, and 530 robes for the priests.71 The other leaders gave to the treasury a total of 20,000 gold coinsHebrew 20,000 darics of gold, about 375 pounds or 170 kilograms in weight; also in 7:72. and some 2,750 poundsHebrew 2,200 minas [1,300 kilograms]. of silver for the work.72 The rest of the people gave 20,000 gold coins, about 2,500 poundsHebrew 2,000 minas [1,200 kilograms]. of silver, and 67 robes for the priests.

73 So the priests, the Levites, the gatekeepers, the singers, the Temple servants, and some of the common people settled near Jerusalem. The rest of the people returned to their own towns throughout Israel.

Ezra Reads the Law

In October,Hebrew In the seventh month. This month of the ancient Hebrew lunar calendar occurred within the months of October and November 445 B.c. when the Israelites had settled in their towns,

14 Moreover from the time that I was appointed to be their governor in the land of Judah, from the twentieth year even unto the two and thirtieth year of Artaxerxes the king, that is, twelve years, I and my brethren have not eaten the bread of the governor.

15 But the former governors that had been before me were chargeable unto the people, and had taken of them bread and wine, beside forty shekels of silver; yea, even their servants bare rule over the people: but so did not I, because of the fear of God.

16 Yea, also I continued in the work of this wall, neither bought we any land: and all my servants were gathered thither unto the work.

17 Moreover there were at my table an hundred and fifty of the Jews and rulers, beside those that came unto us from among the heathen that are about us.

18 Now that which was prepared for me daily was one ox and six choice sheep; also fowls were prepared for me, and once in ten days store of all sorts of wine: yet for all this required not I the bread of the governor, because the bondage was heavy upon this people.

19 Think upon me, my God, for good, according to all that I have done for this people.

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.

Then sent Sanballat his servant unto me in like manner the fifth time with an open letter in his hand;

Wherein was written, It is reported among the heathen, and Gashmu saith it, that thou and the Jews think to rebel: for which cause thou buildest the wall, that thou mayest be their king, according to these words.

And thou hast also appointed prophets to preach of thee at Jerusalem, saying, There is a king in Judah: and now shall it be reported to the king according to these words. Come now therefore, and let us take counsel together.

Then I sent unto him, saying, There are no such things done as thou sayest, but thou feignest them out of thine own heart.

For they all made us afraid, saying, Their hands shall be weakened from the work, that it be not done. Now therefore, O God, strengthen my hands.

10 Afterward I came unto the house of Shemaiah the son of Delaiah the son of Mehetabeel, who was shut up; and he said, Let us meet together in the house of God, within the temple, and let us shut the doors of the temple: for they will come to slay thee; yea, in the night will they come to slay thee.

11 And I said, Should such a man as I flee? and who is there, that, being as I am, would go into the temple to save his life? I will not go in.

12 And, lo, I perceived that God had not sent him; but that he pronounced this prophecy against me: for Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him.

13 Therefore was he hired, that I should be afraid, and do so, and sin, and that they might have matter for an evil report, that they might reproach me.

14 My God, think thou upon Tobiah and Sanballat according to these their works, and on the prophetess Noadiah, and the rest of the prophets, that would have put me in fear.

15 So the wall was finished in the twenty and fifth day of the month Elul, in fifty and two days.

16 And it came to pass, that when all our enemies heard thereof, and all the heathen that were about us saw these things, they were much cast down in their own eyes: for they perceived that this work was wrought of our God.

17 Moreover in those days the nobles of Judah sent many letters unto Tobiah, and the letters of Tobiah came unto them.

18 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.

19 Also they reported his good deeds before me, and uttered my words to him. And Tobiah sent letters to put me in fear.

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, every one 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;

Who came with Zerubbabel, Jeshua, Nehemiah, Azariah, Raamiah, Nahamani, Mordecai, Bilshan, Mispereth, Bigvai, Nehum, Baanah. The number, I say, of the men of the people of Israel was this;

The children of Parosh, two thousand an hundred seventy and two.

The children of Shephatiah, three hundred seventy and two.

10 The children of Arah, six hundred fifty and two.

11 The children of Pahathmoab, of the children of Jeshua and Joab, two thousand and eight hundred and eighteen.

12 The children of Elam, a thousand two hundred fifty and four.

13 The children of Zattu, eight hundred forty and five.

14 The children of Zaccai, seven hundred and threescore.

15 The children of Binnui, six hundred forty and eight.

16 The children of Bebai, six hundred twenty and eight.

17 The children of Azgad, two thousand three hundred twenty and two.

18 The children of Adonikam, six hundred threescore and seven.

19 The children of Bigvai, two thousand threescore and seven.

20 The children of Adin, six hundred fifty and five.

21 The children of Ater of Hezekiah, ninety and eight.

22 The children of Hashum, three hundred twenty and eight.

23 The children of Bezai, three hundred twenty and four.

24 The children of Hariph, an hundred and twelve.

25 The children of Gibeon, ninety and five.

26 The men of Bethlehem and Netophah, an hundred fourscore and eight.

27 The men of Anathoth, an hundred twenty and eight.

28 The men of Bethazmaveth, forty and two.

29 The men of Kirjathjearim, Chephirah, and Beeroth, seven hundred forty and three.

30 The men of Ramah and Gaba, six hundred twenty and one.

31 The men of Michmas, an hundred and twenty and two.

32 The men of Bethel and Ai, an hundred twenty and three.

33 The men of the other Nebo, fifty and two.

34 The children of the other Elam, a thousand two hundred fifty and four.

35 The children of Harim, three hundred and twenty.

36 The children of Jericho, three hundred forty and five.

37 The children of Lod, Hadid, and Ono, seven hundred twenty and one.

38 The children of Senaah, three thousand nine hundred and thirty.

39 The priests: the children of Jedaiah, of the house of Jeshua, nine hundred seventy and three.

40 The children of Immer, a thousand fifty and two.

41 The children of Pashur, a thousand two hundred forty and seven.

42 The children of Harim, a thousand and seventeen.

43 The Levites: the children of Jeshua, of Kadmiel, and of the children of Hodevah, seventy and four.

44 The singers: the children of Asaph, an hundred forty and eight.

45 The porters: the children of Shallum, the children of Ater, the children of Talmon, the children of Akkub, the children of Hatita, the children of Shobai, an hundred thirty and eight.

46 The Nethinims: the children of Ziha, the children of Hashupha, the children of Tabbaoth,

47 The children of Keros, the children of Sia, the children of Padon,

48 The children of Lebana, the children of Hagaba, the children of Shalmai,

49 The children of Hanan, the children of Giddel, the children of Gahar,

50 The children of Reaiah, the children of Rezin, the children of Nekoda,

51 The children of Gazzam, the children of Uzza, the children of Phaseah,

52 The children of Besai, the children of Meunim, the children of Nephishesim,

53 The children of Bakbuk, the children of Hakupha, the children of Harhur,

54 The children of Bazlith, the children of Mehida, the children of Harsha,

55 The children of Barkos, the children of Sisera, the children of Tamah,

56 The children of Neziah, the children of Hatipha.

57 The children of Solomon's servants: the children of Sotai, the children of Sophereth, the children of Perida,

58 The children of Jaala, the children of Darkon, the children of Giddel,

59 The children of Shephatiah, the children of Hattil, the children of Pochereth of Zebaim, the children of Amon.

60 All the Nethinims, and the children of Solomon's servants, were three hundred ninety and two.

61 And these were they which went up also from Telmelah, Telharesha, Cherub, Addon, and Immer: but they could not shew their father's house, nor their seed, whether they were of Israel.

62 The children of Delaiah, the children of Tobiah, the children of Nekoda, six hundred forty and two.

63 And of the priests: the children of Habaiah, the children of Koz, the children of Barzillai, which took one of the daughters of Barzillai the Gileadite to wife, and was called after their name.

64 These sought their register among those that were reckoned by genealogy, but it was not found: therefore were they, as polluted, put from the priesthood.

65 And the Tirshatha said unto them, that they should not eat of the most holy things, till there stood up a priest with Urim and Thummim.

66 The whole congregation together was forty and two thousand three hundred and threescore,

67 Beside their manservants and their maidservants, of whom there were seven thousand three hundred thirty and seven: and they had two hundred forty and five singing men and singing women.

68 Their horses, seven hundred thirty and six: their mules, two hundred forty and five:

69 Their camels, four hundred thirty and five: six thousand seven hundred and twenty asses.

70 And some of the chief of the fathers gave unto the work. The Tirshatha gave to the treasure a thousand drams of gold, fifty basons, five hundred and thirty priests' garments.

71 And some of the chief of the fathers gave to the treasure of the work twenty thousand drams of gold, and two thousand and two hundred pound of silver.

72 And that which the rest of the people gave was twenty thousand drams of gold, and two thousand pound of silver, and threescore and seven priests' garments.

73 So the priests, and the Levites, and the porters, and the singers, and some of the people, and the Nethinims, and all Israel, dwelt in their cities; and when the seventh month came, the children of Israel were in their cities.

1 Corinthians 8:1-13

Concerning Food Sacrificed to Idols

Now about food sacrificed to idols:ver 4, 7, 10; Ac 15:20 We know that “We all possess knowledge.”Ro 15:14 But knowledge puffs up while love builds up.Those who think they know something1Co 3:18 do not yet know as they ought to know.1Co 13:8, 9, 12; 1Ti 6:4But whoever loves God is known by God.An early manuscript and another ancient witness think they have knowledge do not yet know as they ought to know. But whoever loves truly knows.Jer 1:5; Ro 8:29; Gal 4:9

So then, about eating food sacrificed to idols:ver 1, 7, 10; Ex 34:15 We know that “An idol is nothing at all in the world”Ac 14:15; 1Co 10:19; Gal 4:8 and that “There is no God but one.”ver 6; Dt 6:4; Ps 86:10; Eph 4:6; 1Ti 2:5For even if there are so-called gods,2Th 2:4 whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”),yet for us there is but one God,S ver 4 the Father,Mal 2:10 from whom all things cameS Ro 11:36 and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord,Eph 4:5 Jesus Christ, through whom all things cameS Jn 1:3 and through whom we live.

But not everyone possesses this knowledge.ver 1 Some people are still so accustomed to idols that when they eat sacrificial food they think of it as having been sacrificed to a god, and since their conscience is weak,Ro 14:14; 1Co 10:28 it is defiled.But food does not bring us near to God;Ro 14:17 we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do.

Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling blockS 2Co 6:3; Gal 5:13 to the weak.Ro 14:110 For if someone with a weak conscience sees you, with all your knowledge, eating in an idol’s temple, won’t that person be emboldened to eat what is sacrificed to idols?ver 1, 4, 711 So this weak brother or sister, for whom Christ died, is destroyedRo 14:15, 20 by your knowledge.12 When you sin against themMt 18:6 in this way and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ.Mt 25:40, 4513 Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother or sister to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause them to fall.S Mt 5:29

Food Sacrificed to Idols

Now regarding your question about food that has been offered to idols. Yes, we know that “we all have knowledge” about this issue. But while knowledge makes us feel important, it is love that strengthens the church.Anyone who claims to know all the answers doesn’t really know very much.But the person who loves God is the one whom God recognizes.Some manuscripts read the person who loves has full knowledge.

So, what about eating meat that has been offered to idols? Well, we all know that an idol is not really a god and that there is only one God.There may be so-called gods both in heaven and on earth, and some people actually worship many gods and many lords.But for us,

There is one God, the Father,

by whom all things were created,

and for whom we live.

And there is one Lord, Jesus Christ,

through whom all things were created,

and through whom we live.

However, not all believers know this. Some are accustomed to thinking of idols as being real, so when they eat food that has been offered to idols, they think of it as the worship of real gods, and their weak consciences are violated.It’s true that we can’t win God’s approval by what we eat. We don’t lose anything if we don’t eat it, and we don’t gain anything if we do.

But you must be careful so that your freedom does not cause others with a weaker conscience to stumble.10 For if others see you—with your “superior knowledge”—eating in the temple of an idol, won’t they be encouraged to violate their conscience by eating food that has been offered to an idol?11 So because of your superior knowledge, a weak believerGreek brother; also in 8:13. for whom Christ died will be destroyed.12 And when you sin against other believersGreek brothers. by encouraging them to do something they believe is wrong, you are sinning against Christ.13 So if what I eat causes another believer to sin, I will never eat meat again as long as I live—for I don’t want to cause another believer to stumble.

Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth.

And if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know.

But if any man love God, the same is known of him.

As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one.

For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,)

But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.

Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge: for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat it as a thing offered unto an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled.

But meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse.

But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak.

10 For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol's temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols;

11 And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died?

12 But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ.

13 Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.

Psalm 33:1-11

Psalm 33

Sing joyfullyS Ps 5:11; S 101:1 to the Lord, you righteous;

it is fittingPs 147:1 for the uprightPs 11:7 to praise him.

Praise the Lord with the harp;S Ge 4:21; 1Co 14:7; Rev 5:8

make music to him on the ten-stringed lyre.Ps 92:3; 144:9

Sing to him a new song;Ps 40:3; Isa 42:10; S Rev 5:9

play skillfully, and shout for joy.S Job 3:7; Ps 35:27; 47:1

For the word of the Lord is rightS Ps 19:8 and true;Ps 119:142; Rev 19:9; 22:6

he is faithfulPs 18:25; 25:10 in all he does.

The Lord loves righteousness and justice;Ps 11:7

the earth is full of his unfailing love.Ps 6:4

By the wordS Ge 1:3; Heb 11:3 of the Lord the heavens were made,S Ex 8:19; S 2Ch 2:12

their starry hostS Ge 1:16 by the breath of his mouth.

He gathers the watersS Ge 1:10 of the sea into jarsOr sea as into a heap;S Jos 3:16

he puts the deep into storehouses.

Let all the earth fear the Lord;S Dt 6:13; Ps 2:11

let all the people of the worldPs 49:1; Isa 18:3; Mic 1:2 revere him.S Dt 14:23

For he spoke, and it came to be;

he commanded,Ps 148:5 and it stood firm.

10 The Lord foilsIsa 44:25 the plansS Job 5:12 of the nations;Ps 2:1

he thwarts the purposes of the peoples.

11 But the plans of the Lord stand firmS Nu 23:19 forever,

the purposesJer 51:12, 29 of his heart through all generations.

Psalm 33

Let the godly sing for joy to the Lord;

it is fitting for the pure to praise him.

Praise the Lord with melodies on the lyre;

make music for him on the ten-stringed harp.

Sing a new song of praise to him;

play skillfully on the harp, and sing with joy.

For the word of the Lord holds true,

and we can trust everything he does.

He loves whatever is just and good;

the unfailing love of the Lord fills the earth.

The Lord merely spoke,

and the heavens were created.

He breathed the word,

and all the stars were born.

He assigned the sea its boundaries

and locked the oceans in vast reservoirs.

Let the whole world fear the Lord,

and let everyone stand in awe of him.

For when he spoke, the world began!

It appeared at his command.

10 The Lord frustrates the plans of the nations

and thwarts all their schemes.

11 But the Lord’s plans stand firm forever;

his intentions can never be shaken.

33 Rejoice in the Lord, O ye righteous: for praise is comely for the upright.

Praise the Lord with harp: sing unto him with the psaltery and an instrument of ten strings.

Sing unto him a new song; play skilfully with a loud noise.

For the word of the Lord is right; and all his works are done in truth.

He loveth righteousness and judgment: the earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.

By the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth.

He gathereth the waters of the sea together as an heap: he layeth up the depth in storehouses.

Let all the earth fear the Lord: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him.

For he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast.

10 The Lord bringeth the counsel of the heathen to nought: he maketh the devices of the people of none effect.

11 The counsel of the Lord standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations.

Proverbs 21:8-10

The way of the guilty is devious,S Pr 2:15

but the conduct of the innocent is upright.

Better to live on a corner of the roof

than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.ver 19; Pr 19:13; 25:24

10 The wicked crave evil;

their neighbors get no mercy from them.

The guilty walk a crooked path;

the innocent travel a straight road.

It’s better to live alone in the corner of an attic

than with a quarrelsome wife in a lovely home.

10 Evil people desire evil;

their neighbors get no mercy from them.

The way of man is froward and strange: but as for the pure, his work is right.

It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman in a wide house.

10 The soul of the wicked desireth evil: his neighbour findeth no favour in his eyes.

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