Day 140 – March 2, 2024: Nehemiah 8-13

The story continues, but it continues with establishing, or I guess I should say reinstalling the laws and the people in their places that were supposed to be there according to the laws of Moses. We begin this section with Ezra who reads the book of the law out loud to the people over a series of days and the people reacting to it as if they had never heard it before, because maybe they hadn’t. This goes on for some time and the people begin to follow the commandments that were written. The Levites are reestablished in the temple, the people begin to celebrate the religious festivals as they did in the olden times. This happens even to the point where we read in 12 that the celebration of Jerusalem was heard from far away.

But when the cat is away the mice will play. While the people had signed a covenat to reestablish their committment to the Lord, Nehemiah goes back to the king, remember they are still under the rule of Babylon. All of this is taking place under the watchful gaze of the king of Babylon, so the Israelites were not really free, but under his rule. While Nehemiah goes away the people disobey. They establish one of the overseers in the temple and give him a nice cushy office in the temple. The Levites weren’t being paid what they were supposed to be paid so they left the temple and went back to their lands to farm and abandoned the temple.

When Nehemiah comes back he does three things: 1) He kicks out the overseer from his cushy office in the temple and replaces it with the articles that should be used to celebrate the presence of the Lord. No one should have an office in the temple except the Lord. 2) He brings the Levites back and ensures that they are being given what they should be given and so eliminates any incentive that they might have to leave the temple and do their own thing. Lastly, 3) he demands that all those who are married to foreign women, or foreign men, separate themselves from them in order to keep the people of God pure. That’s a lot of work for Nehemiah. He did a lot. I did also see that the sin that Solomon committed was that he married many, and I mean many, foreign women. This is spelled out in this book of the Bible.

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