Les * Juifs construisent Jérusalem
mur de la ville à nouveau
Une Bible en anglais facile
Version et commentaire (vocabulaire de 2800 mots) sur le livre de Néhémie
Robert Bryce et Robert Betts
Ce commentaire a été grâce à la vérification avancée.
Les mots encadrés sont tirés de la Bible.
Une liste de mots à la fin explique les mots accompagnés d’une étoile *.
Il y a plusieurs dates dans cette * introduction. Ces dates sont les
nombre d’années avant la naissance de Jésus-Christ. Chaque date a le
lettres «BC», qui signifient «avant le Christ», après. Cette * introduction également
se réfère à des endroits de la Bible où vous pouvez lire ces choses.
L’histoire des * juifs avant leur * exil
Ce sont les événements qui se sont produits en * Israël avant le temps de
Néhémie. Ce récit nous aidera à mieux comprendre le livre de Néhémie.
Nous pouvons lire ces événements dans Néhémie 9: 5-37.
Les gens en * Israël n’obéissent pas à Dieu
Dieu a choisi la nation appelée * Israël pour être son peuple spécial
(Lévitique 20:26). Il voulait que les gens l’aiment et l’adorent. Et il
voulait qu’ils lui obéissent. Dans la ville appelée Jérusalem, qui était leur capitale,
ils ont construit un grand temple. Le peuple * adorait Dieu et donnait * des sacrifices à
lui dans ce * temple. * Israël est devenu une nation puissante.
Mais le peuple d’Israël n’a pas obéi à Dieu (Néhémie 9: 16-18,
26). Ils * adoraient les dieux des autres nations. Alors Dieu a causé le peuple
en * Israël pour souffrir de troubles et de difficultés.
Les * Israélites ont continué à * pécher contre Dieu (Néhémie 9:28).
Dieu a envoyé de nombreux * prophètes pour les avertir à ce sujet. Mais les * Israélites n’ont pas
écoutez ces hommes. Au lieu de cela, les * Israélites ont continué à faire de mauvaises choses
(Néhémie 9: 29-30). Alors Dieu leur a permis de souffrir de terribles difficultés. Dieu
aimait les Israélites parce qu’ils étaient son peuple. Il leur a seulement permis de
souffrir ainsi pour qu’ils se souviennent de lui. Il voulait qu’ils lui obéissent. ensuite
il pouvait à nouveau faire de bonnes choses pour eux.
La nation s’est divisée en deux parties. La partie nord s’appelait
* Israël et les gens ont appelé les habitants * Israélites. Le nom du sud
une partie était * Juda et les gens appelés les habitants * Juifs. Jérusalem était dans le
la partie sud. Le livre de Néhémie concerne le peuple de * Juda. cependant,
parfois Néhémie les appelle le peuple d’Israël. Dieu a donné le nom à Jacob
* Israël quand il a promis de faire des descendants de Jacob * le peuple spécial de Dieu. Par
au temps de Néhémie, seuls les habitants de * Juda sont restés, mais ils étaient encore
Le peuple spécial de Dieu.
L’Assyrie vainc * Israël
En 722 avant JC, Dieu permit à une nation puissante, les * Assyriens, de
vaincre * Israël (2 Rois 17: 1-23). Les * Assyriens ont forcé de nombreux * Israélites à
vivent dans d’autres pays (2 Rois 17: 6; 2 Rois 18: 10-11). Et ils ont apporté
d’autres personnes à vivre en Israël (2 Rois 17:24). Ces autres personnes * adoraient
faux dieux. Ils ont également essayé de * adorer le vrai Dieu, mais ils n’ont pas * adoré
lui de la bonne manière (2 Rois 17: 25-41). Les gens les appelaient Samaritains
parce que leur chef-lieu s’appelait Samarie (2 Rois 17:24). La Samarie était seulement
environ deux jours de marche de Jérusalem. Les Samaritains sont devenus les ennemis de Néhémie.
L’un de leurs chefs était Sanballat, qui était le principal ennemi de Néhémie.
Le début de * l’exil du peuple de * Juda
Beaucoup de rois de * Juda n’obéirent pas à Dieu. Mais certains d’entre eux
aimaient Dieu et ils encourageaient les gens à lui obéir. Mais les * Juifs généralement
a refusé d’obéir à Dieu (Néhémie 9: 28-30), comme l’avaient fait les Israélites. Donc après
pendant de nombreuses années, Dieu a dû les punir aussi.
En 701 av.J.-C., Sennachérib, roi d’Assyrie, a vaincu certaines villes de
* Juda (2 Rois 18:13). Mais il n’a pas vaincu Jérusalem (2 Rois 19: 32-36).
Dieu a sauvé la ville à cette occasion.
Plusieurs années plus tard, les * Assyriens sont devenus faibles et les * Babyloniens
a pris le contrôle de leur pays, l’Assyrie. Les * Babyloniens étaient les * Juifs »
ennemis, comme l’avaient été les Assyriens. Le roi des * Babyloniens était
Nebucadnetsar. L’armée babylonienne a vaincu Juda. Les soldats ont pris la plupart des
les * Juifs en Babylonie et les ont forcés à y vivre. C’est ce qu’on appelle «le
* Exil * babylonien ». Cela a duré environ 70 ans.
Dieu a utilisé un roi étranger, Nebucadnetsar, pour punir les * Juifs.
Nabuchodonosor les a enlevés du pays que Dieu leur avait donné. À ce
temps, Nebucadnetsar n’a pas honoré le vrai Dieu. Au lieu,
Nabuchodonosor servait de faux dieux. Mais Dieu a toujours utilisé Nabuchodonosor pour
punir les * Juifs. Dans Jérémie 25: 9, Dieu a dit que Nebucadnetsar était son serviteur.
Mais Nabuchodonosor ne le savait pas. Dans Jérémie 25:12, Dieu a également dit qu’il
punirait les * Babyloniens 70 ans plus tard. Dieu les punirait parce que
ils étaient aussi méchants (voir Daniel chapitre 5). Dieu a le contrôle. Il peut même utiliser
des gens qui ne le connaissent pas.
Les * Babyloniens ont vaincu * Juda en trois phases:
1. En 605 avant JC, ils
a pris la famille du roi Jehoiakim et le peuple qui a servi le roi (2 Chroniques
36: 5-7; Daniel 1: 1-7). Ils les ont forcés à aller en Babylonie et à y vivre.
Daniel était l’une de ces personnes et il est devenu un fonctionnaire très important
Babylonie (Daniel 1: 17-21; 5: 29-6,3; 6:28). Il a écrit le livre de Daniel.
2. Ensuite, 8 ans
plus tard, les Babyloniens emmenèrent Jojakin, le prochain roi de Juda, en Babylonie.
Et ils désignèrent son oncle, Sédécias, pour être roi de Juda. Ils ont également pris
tous les chefs, soldats et habiles ouvriers. Les * Babyloniens ont également volé le
des choses belles et précieuses dans le * temple et ils les ont emmenées à Babylone (2
Rois 24: 10-17).
3. Plus tard, en 586 avant JC,
les Babyloniens sont venus. Ils ont détruit le * temple et la ville de Jérusalem.
Ils ont emmené le roi Sédécias et la plupart des habitants de Juda pour
Babylonie. Ils ne permettaient qu’aux plus pauvres de vivre en * Juda (2 Rois
Dieu avait averti son peuple avant que ces choses ne se produisent. Il le ferait
permettre à ces événements de se produire si le peuple refusait de lui obéir (Lévitique
26: 27 à 39; Deutéronome 28:15 et 28: 64-68; 2 Chroniques 36: 15-16; Ésaïe 39: 6-7
et Michée 4:10). Dieu a donné beaucoup de temps à son peuple pour lui demander de leur pardonner. Il
leur a donné l’occasion de lui obéir. Mais les gens ne l’ont pas écouté.
Ils ont fait de plus en plus de mauvaises choses et ils ont honoré de faux dieux.
Les livres d’Esdras et de Néhémie
Les livres d’Esdras et de Néhémie sont deux parties de la même histoire.
Ils nous parlent de l’époque où les * Juifs sont revenus de Babylonie dans les leurs
pays appelé * Juda. La Babylonie était à environ 4 mois de marche à l’est de * Juda. le
* Les Babyloniens avaient vaincu le peuple de * Juda. Les * Babyloniens avaient forcé
la plupart des * Juifs pour aller en Babylonie et y vivre. Après de nombreuses années, le
* Les Perses ont vaincu les * Babyloniens. Puis Cyrus, le roi de Perse, a permis
les * Juifs de retourner en * Juda.
Le livre d’Ezra est la première partie. Il nous raconte le premier
deux groupes de * Juifs qui sont retournés en * Juda. Le premier groupe est revenu environ 70
des années après que * les Babyloniens eurent emmené * les Juifs * en * exil. Le livre aussi
explique comment les * Juifs ont reconstruit leur * temple. Puis, plusieurs années plus tard, un homme
appelé Ezra a aidé les * Juifs. Il les a aidés à connaître les commandements de Dieu et à obéir
Le livre de Néhémie est la deuxième partie. Il raconte l’histoire d’un
homme dont le nom était Néhémie. C’était un fonctionnaire très important qui travaillait pour
le roi de Perse. Dieu a envoyé Néhémie en * Juda afin d’accomplir une tâche spéciale.
Néhémie aiderait les * Juifs à reconstruire les murs autour de Jérusalem. Il
est arrivé en * Juda environ 13 ans après qu’Ezra y soit allé. Le roi a nommé
Néhémie pour être le chef de * Juda. Néhémie, comme Esdras, aida les * Juifs à
obéissez aux commandements de Dieu.
À propos des murs de la ville
Dans les temps anciens, la plupart des villes avaient des murs de ville. Le mur était un
défense importante qui entourait la ville.
Le mur serait fort et haut. Beaucoup de ces murs étaient plusieurs
mètres d’épaisseur. Et ils feraient de la ville un grand château.
Le haut du mur serait plat. Les gardes de la ville marcheraient
au sommet du mur. À partir de là, ils pouvaient surveiller tous les criminels qui étaient
à l’intérieur de la ville. De plus, les gardes pourraient voir si une armée ennemie
s’approcha de la ville.
Il y aurait des tours * le long du mur. Celles-ci étaient grandes,
bâtiments solides que les gardes pourraient utiliser. Et ils seraient très utiles si
il y avait une guerre.
Le mur aurait de grandes portes. Pendant la journée, ces portes étaient
ouvert. Les commerçants et les voyageurs pouvaient entrer dans la ville. Et ils pourraient aller au
marché. Mais la nuit, les gardes ont fermé les portes. Ensuite, personne ne pouvait entrer.
Et la ville serait en sécurité.
Parce que le mur était si fort, les gens l’utilisaient pour d’autres
fins aussi. Par exemple, les gens pourraient construire leurs maisons contre cela. Dans certaines
villes, ces maisons sont devenues une partie de l’enceinte de la ville. Alors, le mur est devenu
une rangée de maisons.
Néhémie était un * Juif. Il était un serviteur important du roi de
Perse (Néhémie 1:11). Plusieurs années plus tôt, les * Perses avaient vaincu les
* Babyloniens. Puis le * roi de Perse avait permis aux * Juifs de retourner en * Juda
de l’exil * babylonien *. Certains des * Juifs étaient partis, mais beaucoup d’entre eux
vécu en Perse. Néhémie est probablement né en Perse. Le livre commence quand
Néhémie était à Shushan. Les * rois persans y avaient un palais, qu’ils utilisaient
pendant l’hiver. L’histoire d’Esther dans la Bible s’est produite à Suse (Esther
Le frère de Néhémie et d’autres hommes sont venus de * Juda pour visiter
Néhémie. Il leur a demandé des nouvelles de Jérusalem, qui était la capitale de
Néhémie est probablement né en Perse. Il n’avait probablement jamais été
à * Juda. Mais il se souciait de * Juda. C’était le pays auquel Dieu avait donné
son peuple, appelé les * Juifs. Néhémie savait que les * Juifs n’avaient pas obéi à Dieu.
Alors Dieu les avait punis. Dieu les avait fait vivre loin de * Juda en
Babylone. Mais après 70 ans, Dieu leur avait permis de revenir.
Néhémie espérait probablement entendre de bonnes nouvelles. Le peuple de Dieu était
vivant de retour dans le pays que Dieu leur avait donné. Néhémie voulait entendre
qu’ils y étaient heureux. Il voulait entendre qu’ils servaient Dieu. Mais
son frère lui a donné de mauvaises nouvelles. Les gens n’étaient pas contents. De plus, les murs
de la ville n’étaient que des tas de pierres. Nous pouvons en savoir plus à ce sujet dans le livre
d’Ezra. Les gens d’autres nations qui vivaient près de Jérusalem se sont opposés à la
*Les Juifs. Ils ne voulaient pas que les * Juifs reconstruisent la ville (Esdras 4: 7-23).
Cette nouvelle rendit Néhémie très triste. Il était triste pendant plusieurs jours et il
n’ai pas mangé.
Parfois, les gens ne mangent pas pendant une courte période s’ils sont très
triste. Ils peuvent faire cela pour avoir plus de temps pour prier Dieu.
Néhémie a prié chaque nuit et chaque jour. Il a prié pour 4
mois. Du mois appelé Kislev (Néhémie 1: 1) au mois appelé Nisan
(Néhémie 2: 1) avait 4 mois.
Nous lisons plusieurs des prières de Néhémie dans ce livre. Une partie de
ses prières étaient très courtes. Mais celui-ci nous aide à comprendre ce que Néhémie
les prières étaient comme. Quand Néhémie a commencé sa prière, il a adoré Dieu. Ce
C’est ainsi que Daniel a commencé ses prières (Daniel 9: 4). C’est aussi ainsi que Jésus a enseigné
nous pour commencer nos prières (Luc 11: 2).
Néhémie était loin de * Juda. Donc il ne pouvait pas facilement aider
les gens là-bas. Mais il savait que le Dieu du ciel pouvait tout faire.
Néhémie était au courant de l’accord de Dieu avec les * Juifs. Dieu a promis
être gentil avec eux s’ils lui obéissent. Il leur a donné le pays appelé * Juda
(qui fait partie de * Israël) comme leur maison. Et c’était un bon endroit pour vivre.
Mais Néhémie savait aussi que Dieu avait dit à Moïse d’avertir le peuple. Dieu voudrait
punissez-les s’ils ne lui ont pas obéi (Deutéronome 28: 62-67). Et les gens avaient
pas obéi à Dieu. C’était la raison de l’exil. Et c’est pourquoi la plupart des * Juifs
vivaient encore en tant qu’étrangers à l’époque de Néhémie.
Alors maintenant, Néhémie a prié Dieu au nom de tous les * Juifs. Il
confessé les * péchés de tout le peuple. Daniel et Ezra avaient fait ça aussi
(Daniel 9: 4-15; Esdras 9: 6-7; Esdras 9:10).
Néhémie s’est également souvenu des promesses de Dieu. Si les gens faisaient confiance
Dieu encore, Dieu les ramènerait de * l’exil. S’ils obéissaient à Dieu, il le ferait
ramenez-les vivre en * Juda (Deutéronome 30: 1-5).
Néhémie a ajouté que les * Juifs étaient le peuple spécial de Dieu. Ils avaient
été esclaves dans un pays appelé Égypte. Mais Dieu est puissant. Et Dieu est gentil.
Dieu les avait sauvés d’Égypte. Et Néhémie priait pour que Dieu sauve
les à nouveau.
Néhémie a prié Dieu de l’aider. Mais il voulait aussi faire
quelque chose lui-même, bien qu’il fût loin de * Juda. Il travaillait dans le
palais du roi de Perse. Ce roi était très puissant. Il a gouverné de nombreux
pays, y compris * Juda. Ainsi, le travail de Néhémie lui a donné l’occasion de
parle à ce grand roi. Néhémie était très prudent et il était très sage. Il
a demandé à Dieu de l’aider afin qu’il puisse dire la bonne chose au roi. Mais
Néhémie a dû attendre 4 mois avant d’en avoir l’opportunité. Il y en a 4
mois entre le mois appelé Kislev (Néhémie 1: 1) et le mois appelé Nisan
(Néhémie 2: 1).
Quand Néhémie a appris la mauvaise nouvelle de * Juda, il a prié. Il a demandé
Dieu pour l’aider afin qu’il puisse dire la bonne chose au roi. 4 mois
plus tard, il a eu sa chance. Il n’a pas perdu les 4 mois. Il a continué à
prier. En fin de compte, il s’est senti confiant dans ce que Dieu voulait qu’il dise.
Le visage de Néhémie était triste lorsqu’il a servi le vin au roi. Il
n’avait pas été triste avant quand il était avec le roi. En ces jours, les serviteurs avaient
être heureux quand ils étaient avec le roi (Esther 4: 2). Ils ne doivent pas faire
roi triste ou en colère. Le roi pouvait tuer des serviteurs qui le mettaient en colère.
Mais Néhémie était triste ce jour-là. Et le roi pouvait voir ça
Néhémie était triste. Le roi était peut-être très en colère et Néhémie avait peur.
Mais Dieu contrôlait et donc le roi était gentil avec Néhémie. Le roi a demandé
Néhémie pourquoi il était triste. Alors Néhémie a annoncé au roi la mauvaise nouvelle
Néhémie a choisi ses mots avec soin. Il semble qu’il n’a pas
nommez en fait Jérusalem. Dans le passé, le roi s’était inquiété pour Jérusalem
(Esdras 4:19). A cette époque, le roi ne voulait pas que les * Juifs reconstruisent la ville.
Néhémie a donc simplement parlé de la ville où se trouvaient les tombes de ses * ancêtres. Il
mentionné les tombes pour une autre raison aussi. Souvent, les gens croient qu’ils
devrait prendre grand soin des tombes, en raison de leur religion. Néhémie espérait
que le roi éprouverait de la sympathie pour lui.
Le roi a demandé à Néhémie ce qu’il voulait. C’était celui de Néhémie
opportunité, alors il a prié. Mais il n’a eu qu’un moment pour prier cette prière. ensuite
Néhémie a dit au roi ce qu’il (Néhémie) voulait faire. Il a demandé au roi de
envoyez-le en * Juda pour qu’il puisse reconstruire la ville. Néhémie était très
audacieux de dire cela. Mais il croyait que Dieu avait entendu ses prières. Alors il était
sur de soi.
Néhémie était un serviteur important du roi. Maintenant Néhémie était
demandant au roi de l’envoyer en Juda. * Juda était à 4 mois de marche de la Perse. Alors
il serait loin du roi pendant longtemps.
Il demandait également au roi de changer la décision du roi concernant
Jérusalem. Auparavant, le roi avait arrêté les gens qui voulaient construire la ville
à nouveau (Ezra 4:21).
Il demandait également au roi de le renvoyer loin de son confortable
la vie en Perse. Il allait devoir faire un long et difficile voyage. Alors il aurait
travailler dur pour reconstruire Jérusalem. Il a donc demandé au roi de l’envoyer là-bas.
Le roi savait que Néhémie était un bon et fidèle serviteur. le
le roi et la reine auraient aimé que Néhémie reste dans le palais. Mais Dieu
voulait que Néhémie aille à Jérusalem (Néhémie 2: 8; 2:18). Alors le roi a demandé
Néhémie combien de temps il resterait loin du palais. Néhémie a découvert comment
long le voyage prendrait. Et le roi accepta d’envoyer Néhémie en Juda.
Néhémie était convaincu que Dieu s’arrangeait pour qu’il aille à
*Juda. Alors Néhémie est devenu encore plus audacieux. Il a demandé plus d’aide au roi. Il
voulait que le roi le protège lors de son voyage en Juda. Il a demandé au roi
bois pour les portes de la ville. Néhémie savait déjà ce qu’il devait faire. Alors il était
capable d’expliquer tous les détails au roi.
Dieu s’occupait de Néhémie. Le roi a donc donné à Néhémie ce
Il a demandé.
Or Néhémie avait des lettres du roi. Cela montrerait aux gens
que le roi avait changé sa décision concernant Jérusalem. Les gens verraient aussi
les soldats que le roi a envoyés pour protéger Néhémie. Alors ils sauraient que
le roi aidait Néhémie. Mais certaines des personnes qui vivaient près de * Juda ont entendu
à propos de tout cela. Ils étaient en colère. Parce qu’ils étaient les * ennemis des Juifs, ils l’ont fait
Je ne veux pas que quiconque aide les gens en * Israël.
Néhémie voulait construire les murs de la ville le plus rapidement possible.
Mais il y avait beaucoup à faire. Il devrait travailler dur. Alors il s’est reposé pendant trois
jours après son long voyage. Dieu lui avait donné le désir de construire Jérusalem
encore. Néhémie voulait donc faire du bon travail.
Néhémie avait besoin de connaître l’ampleur de la tâche. Mais il n’a pas
veulent que ses ennemis connaissent ses plans. Donc, après trois jours, il est sorti la nuit.
Il n’a emmené que quelques personnes avec lui. Peut-être étaient-ils des hommes qui venaient de
Shushan avec lui. Ou peut-être étaient-ils des hommes qui connaissaient bien Jérusalem. Néhémie a fait
ne dites à personne ce qu’il faisait.
Néhémie a fait le tour de la ville. Il a vu que la ville était un
*se ruiner. Il a vu que le feu avait brûlé les portes. À un endroit, il y avait tellement
des ordures qu’il n’y avait pas de place pour que son cheval passe. Maintenant il savait que le
la tâche, de reconstruire la ville, était une tâche énorme.
Néhémie a vu que toute la ville était en mauvais état. Et le
la relation des gens avec Dieu était également en mauvais état:
· Le bâtiment le plus important de
Jérusalem était le * temple. Les * Juifs avaient reconstruit le * temple environ 70 ans
avant l’arrivée de Néhémie. Le premier * temple, que Salomon a construit, était un splendide
bâtiment. Mais ce temple plus tardif était beaucoup plus pauvre.
· Certains prêtres vivaient dans le
zone. Mais ils négligeaient leur travail spécial pour Dieu. Le peuple n’a pas
connaître la loi de Dieu. Et les gens faisaient beaucoup de choses que la Bible leur disait
pas à faire.
· Il n’y avait pas beaucoup d’autres bâtiments
dans la ville. La plupart des * Juifs qui sont retournés en * Juda vivaient dans les villages.
Jérusalem était un endroit dangereux où vivre. Les * Juifs avaient de nombreux ennemis et là
Il n’y avait pas de sécurité dans la ville. Il n’y avait aucune défense.
· Beaucoup de * Juifs avaient essayé de faire
accords avec leurs ennemis. Certains * juifs avaient même permis à leurs enfants de
épouser des gens d’autres nations. Les gens de ces nations étaient mauvais
les gens, et ils ont servi de faux dieux. Mais Dieu voulait que les * Juifs soient sa spéciale
gens. Il les avait choisis, et il voulait qu’ils restent séparés de la
Néhémie a vu que la ville avait besoin de murs solides. Et c’était le
tâche la plus importante. Les murs feraient de la ville un endroit sûr où vivre. Quand
les murs étaient complets, les gens pouvaient entrer dans la ville. Ici le
* Les Juifs pouvaient vivre dans un endroit séparé des autres nations. le
les prêtres pouvaient recommencer leur travail spécial pour Dieu dans le * temple. Et le
les gens apprendraient la loi de Dieu.
Mais, sans murs, les * Juifs deviendraient encore plus faibles. Leur
les ennemis deviendraient plus forts. Les prêtres seraient incapables de travailler pour Dieu. Et
personne ne voulait entretenir le * temple.
Jérusalem avait été une très grande ville. Néhémie a réalisé qu’il
ne pouvait pas reconstruire toute la ville. Au lieu de cela, il a sélectionné une zone pour entourer
des murs. C’était une zone plus petite que la ville autrefois. Mais c’était le plus
partie importante de la ville. Il comprenait le * temple et les parties les plus anciennes
de la ville. La zone comprenait suffisamment de terres pour tous ceux qui y vivraient.
Il y avait des fontaines et tout ce dont les gens avaient besoin. Et bientôt là
serait un marché important dans la ville.
Alors Néhémie a informé les habitants de la ville de son plan. Première,
il leur a rappelé la triste vérité. Leur ville était une ruine. Et ils ne pouvaient pas
être une nation forte alors que Jérusalem était dans un si mauvais état. Alors il a encouragé
les aider à reconstruire les murs. Puis il leur a annoncé de bonnes nouvelles. Il
leur a dit que Dieu voulait qu’ils reconstruisent les murs de la ville. Ce n’était pas simplement
Le plan de Néhémie. Néhémie était convaincu que Dieu l’avait envoyé (Néhémie) à
diriger les gens dans cette tâche. Déjà, Dieu s’occupait de Néhémie. Et même
le roi l’avait envoyé pour accomplir cette tâche. C’était vraiment une bonne nouvelle. Alors les gens
ont convenu qu’ils devraient commencer à construire les murs.
Les gens se sont préparés à construire les murs. Mais alors leurs ennemis
entendu parler de leurs plans. Ces ennemis ne pouvaient pas facilement attaquer les * Juifs
parce que le roi avait envoyé Néhémie. Le roi était très puissant. Si Néhémie est
les ennemis combattirent Néhémie, le roi s’opposera à eux. Alors à la place, les ennemis
ri des * Juifs. Ils ont prétendu qu’ils diraient des mensonges au roi
sur les * Juifs. Ils diraient que les Juifs étaient les ennemis du roi.
Mais Néhémie était confiant. Il savait que c’était le plan de Dieu de
reconstruisez Jérusalem. Alors Dieu les aiderait. Le vrai Dieu du ciel était sur leur
côté. Dieu ne laisserait pas leurs ennemis arrêter le travail. Les * Juifs construiraient
Jérusalem à nouveau. Encore une fois, ce serait une ville pour le peuple de Dieu.
Dans ce chapitre, il existe de nombreux noms. La Bible ne mentionne pas
la plupart de ces personnes ailleurs. Beaucoup d’entre eux étaient les chefs de famille, mais
seuls quelques-uns étaient importants dans la région locale. Ils n’étaient pas des constructeurs et ils
n’avait aucune compétence particulière pour faire le travail. Mais ils ont réalisé que Néhémie était
droite. Et ils étaient prêts à travailler dur. Ils ont vécu il y a plusieurs siècles, mais
ils ont fait un travail important pour Dieu. Dieu se soucie de toutes sortes de personnes. Et il est
heureux quand ils le servent bien.
Néhémie était un bon leader, mais il ne pouvait pas construire les murs
seul. Il avait besoin de nombreuses personnes pour l’aider. Il était satisfait de leur travail. Donc il
ont enregistré leurs noms et les emplois qu’ils ont accomplis.
Ces gens méritaient l’honneur. Leurs familles étaient retournées à
* Juda de * exil. Ils étaient le propre peuple de Dieu. Et ils ont travaillé dur pour faire
L’œuvre de Dieu. Néhémie a organisé le travail avec soin. Il a donné à chaque personne
responsabilité pour une section du mur. Et Néhémie a choisi les sections avec soin.
Par exemple, les hommes réparaient souvent la section de mur la plus proche de
leurs propres maisons.
Les premières personnes sur lesquelles Néhémie a écrit étaient le grand prêtre
et les autres prêtres. Ils ne pensaient pas qu’ils étaient trop importants pour aider.
Ils étaient de bons modèles pour le reste du peuple. Le Sheep Gate était probablement
près du * temple. Certaines personnes d’autres villes, comme Jéricho, ont également contribué à
construire les murs.
Lorsque Néhémie enregistre certains des noms, il mentionne également leur
familles. Il le fait aussi souvent dans le reste de son livre. Les familles étaient très
important pour les * Juifs. Nous pouvons lire sur Meremoth dans Esdras (Esdras 8:33).
Chaque personne avait son propre travail spécial à faire.
Les chefs de Tekoa n’étaient pas comme les prêtres. Les leaders
de Tekoa a pensé qu’ils étaient trop importants. Alors ils ont refusé de faire
travail. Mais les autres hommes de Tekoa ont aidé à construire les murs. En fait, ils
fait du travail supplémentaire (Néhémie 3:27). Meshullam a également fait un travail supplémentaire (Néhémie 3:30).
La plupart des personnes qui ont construit le mur n’étaient pas des constructeurs qualifiés.
C’étaient des gens normaux qui avaient d’autres emplois. Les hommes qui fabriquaient habituellement * du parfum ou
des objets en or ont aidé à construire les murs.
Certaines personnes ont travaillé sur les murs près de leurs propres maisons. C’était un
bonne idée. Ils n’avaient pas beaucoup à voyager et ils pouvaient prendre leurs repas
facilement. Ils pourraient également protéger leurs familles. Ensuite, ils verraient
leur travail tous les jours. Ce fait les encouragerait à faire du bon travail.
Des hommes importants qui régnaient sur certains des districts ont également aidé.
They did not think that they were too important to help. So they behaved as the
priests did. They were not like the leaders from Tekoa, who refused to help.
Malkijah, the son of Harim, had married a foreign wife (Ezra
10:31), but God had told the *Jews not to marry foreigners. So Ezra was very
angry with Malkijah. But now Malkijah helped to build the walls of Jerusalem.
Some women helped too. Shallum was another one of the leaders of
the people. But he worked on the walls too and his daughters helped him.
Hanun and the residents of Zanoah worked hard. They repaired a
gate and a very long section of the wall.
Malkijah, Shallum and Nehemiah helped to build the walls. Ils
also were rulers of the districts. This is not the Malkijah who married a
foreign wife (Nehemiah 3:11). Also this Nehemiah is not the same as the man who
wrote the book.
The *Levites also helped to build the wall. They and some priests
worked on the wall near to the house of the chief priest.
Men from Keilah and their rulers worked together on part of the
wall. And Ezer was another ruler who helped.
Clearly, all the people worked hard. They finished the work in 52
days (Nehemiah 6:15). But Nehemiah recorded that Baruch worked very hard.
Meremoth probably worked very hard too, because he worked on two parts of the
wall (Nehemiah 3:4).
In this part of the wall, some more people repaired the wall near
their own houses. Also Binnui repaired a second section of the wall (Nehemiah
The *temple servants also helped to build the wall.
The men from Tekoa repaired another part of the wall (Nehemiah
Some more priests worked on this part of the wall.
Meshullam repaired a second part of the wall (Nehemiah 3:4).
More of the skilled workmen who made things out of gold helped to
build the wall. Some merchants also helped.
Nehemiah started his report at the Sheep Gate (Nehemiah 3:1). Il
divided the work between many people and each had their own part to repair.
Nehemiah’s report goes all round the wall and back to the Sheep Gate.
Sanballat and Tobiah were enemies of the *Jews. They did not want
the *Jews to build the walls of Jerusalem again. They probably knew that
Jerusalem would become an important city for trade again. So then, they would
lose some of their trade. They knew that it was a big task to build the walls
of the city again. But they saw that Nehemiah and the *Jews would work hard to
build the walls.
These men were not just opposing the *Jews. In fact, these men
were opposing God’s work. It was God’s plan that the *Jews should live in
Jerusalem. Jerusalem was in the country that God promised to give to the
*descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The *Jews had to leave that country
because of *sin. But God promised by the *prophets that some *Jews would
return. So it was God’s plan that the *Jews would rebuild Jerusalem.
But God’s plan did not only benefit the *Jews. God had decided,
by means of the *Jews, to help people from every nation. He would send Jesus to
be born a *Jew. God had promised this by the *prophets. And Jesus would die for
the *sins of people from every nation. God will forgive all people who invite
Jesus into their lives.
So we can see that Nehemiah was doing God’s work. And it was not
just men who were opposing the work. In fact, the devil was using these men
because the devil wanted to oppose God’s work.
Sanballat had the army from the country called Samaria with him.
Perhaps the *Jews near Jerusalem could see this army close to the city. Ce
might make them afraid. But Sanballat and Tobiah did not attack the *Jews. Ils
could not do that because the king had allowed Nehemiah to build the walls. Alors
Sanballat and Tobiah laughed at the *Jews and they insulted the *Jews.
Sanballat and Tobiah hoped that they could upset the *Jews. Then, the *Jews
might stop the construction of the wall. Sanballat and Tobiah said that the
task was too great. They said that the builders were too weak. Tobiah said that
the wall would fall down again easily. Clearly, Sanballat and Tobiah did not
think that God would help the *Jews. But God did help them. When the *Jews
finished the work, the walls were very strong. In fact, the people marched on
top of the walls (Nehemiah 12:31-39).
So Nehemiah prayed. That is what we would expect him to do.
Perhaps he called the people together to pray. (He says ‘us’ in his prayer.)
He knew that his enemies were not just insulting the *Jews. Ils
were insulting God himself. So he knew that God was angry.
So the *Jews did not take notice of the insults of their enemies
and they continued to build. They worked as hard as they could and the wall
reached half of its final height.
Today, we do not pray that our enemies will suffer. Jesus taught
us to forgive our enemies (Matthew 5:44). And we should pray that they will
trust Jesus. But Nehemiah was in a different situation. Previously, God had
told the *Jews to oppose their enemies (Deuteronomy 7:1-2). At that time, God
was using the *Jews for his purposes. These enemies had become so evil that
they could not avoid a terrible punishment (Genesis 15:16). And God gave their
land to the *Jews.
Nehemiah lived long after these events. And his enemies were not
the same enemies that God was punishing in the past. So Nehemiah did not
actually try to fight his enemies. Instead, he trusted God. Nehemiah was
confident that he was doing God’s work. So Nehemiah asked God to defend his
(God’s) own work. And so Nehemiah asked God to oppose these enemies.
The enemies of the *Jews heard that their insults had not
succeeded. The *Jews had not stopped the work, but, instead, they had worked
very hard. And the wall had reached half of its final height.
So Sanballat and his friends were very angry. They needed another
plan. These enemies lived all round Jerusalem. So they plotted to fight against
the city. The city’s defences were not yet complete. So, Sanballat and his
friends decided to carry out a sudden attack. Such an attack would frighten the
*Jews. And it would confuse them. So they would be unable to continue the task.
Nehemiah and his people did the sensible thing again. They prayed
to God. And they also guarded the city.
Now some of the *Jews were feeling tired. The work was hard and
their enemies were all round them. These problems upset them. So they began to
The enemies of the *Jews still tried to stop the work. Ils
plotted to surprise the *Jews with a sudden attack. Some of the *Jews heard
about their plan. The *Jews who lived outside the city were anxious about their
familles. So these *Jews reported this news back to the people in Jerusalem.
Nehemiah made plans to protect the men as they worked. He placed
men to guard the lowest parts of the walls. These were the most likely places
where an attack might happen. And Nehemiah made sure that the people had
*weapons to defend themselves and their families. He made sure that the
families were together. He knew that the men would fight hard in order to
protect their families.
Then Nehemiah reminded the leaders of the people that God was
with them. God is much more powerful than any enemies can be. God wanted them
to build the wall. So he would protect them and help them. They did not need to
The enemies of the *Jews heard that Nehemiah and the people knew
about their plan. So their plan could not succeed. They failed because God was
helping the *Jews. He had stopped the plans of Sanballat and his friends.
The *Jews were able to continue with the work. But they still
needed to be ready. Their enemies might come to attack them at any time.
Nehemiah decided to change the arrangements for the work. Il
wanted to make sure that everybody was ready for an attack.
Now, even the men who worked on the wall had their own *weapons.
But only half of the men worked on the wall. The other men were ready to fight.
They had many *weapons. Their job was to protect the builders.
Nehemiah would walk round the city in order to check the progress
of the work. But now, a man with a *trumpet walked with Nehemiah. So, if the enemies
came to attack them, the man would blow his *trumpet. If the people heard the
sound of the *trumpet, they would all stop work immediately. They would rush to
come together. Then they would be able to protect each other.
Nehemiah reminded the people again that God was supporting them.
They were doing God’s work, and God would fight for them.
So the people continued to work. Some repaired the walls and the
rest protected them. They all worked even harder from dawn until nightfall.
Even the people who lived outside Jerusalem stayed in the city at night.
Nehemiah was a good model for the people. He was the ruler. Mais
he did not think that he was too important to work. In fact, he was very busy.
He organised the workmen. He made sure that the quality of the work was satisfactory.
He was watching in case the enemies tried to attack. And he was ready to fight.
He kept his clothes on. He kept his *weapon ready.
Nehemiah had organised the work well. He had selected guards to
protect the people from their enemies. But there were other problems too. le
wealthy *Jews thought that they saw an opportunity to make a good profit. Mais
they were doing this in a way that was unfair to the poorer *Jews. In fact, the
effect was often rather cruel.
So the poor people began to complain. There was a *famine in the
country and some of the people were hungry. They could not afford to buy the
food that they needed for their families. They could not afford to pay their
taxes either. Also, because they were building the city wall, they were not
able to do other work. So probably, they were not able to grow their own food.
And they had no money to buy food. They had to ask the richer people to lend
Some of the poor people even had to sell their property. Si ils
still did not have enough money, they would have to sell their sons and
daughters as slaves. They did not think that this was right. And they could see
that the rich people were making profits from this situation. So the poor
people became angry and they complained.
This was an opportunity for the rich people to become even
richer. They knew that the poor people were desperate. So the rich people were
forcing the poor people to pay too much money for their loans.
When Nehemiah heard about these troubles, he was very angry. Il
did not want to stop the work on the walls, but he did feel sorry for the poor
gens. He was very careful. He stopped and he thought about what to do. ensuite
he arranged a big meeting to deal with the problem.
The rich people were the chief men and the officials. Nehemiah
told them that they were doing the wrong thing. And the result was that their
own people were suffering. So Nehemiah reminded the rich people that some *Jews
had been slaves before. When Nehemiah had returned to *Judah, he and his
companions had tried to buy these slaves back. Now their own people were making
them slaves again. Nehemiah told the rich people that they had not obeyed God’s
commands (Deuteronomy 23:19-20; 24:10-13; Leviticus 25:35-46). God had sent the
*Jews into *exile because they did not obey his commands like this. If the rich
leaders respected God, they would not do these things. But otherwise, the *Jews
would be ashamed. And their enemies would laugh at them.
The rich people could not answer Nehemiah. They knew that their
actions were wrong. They knew that they had no excuse.
This passage shows us an important fact about Nehemiah’s
character. Nehemiah was a very sincere man. And he did the right things whether
or not anyone noticed. He used his own money to free *Jews who had been slaves.
But he has not mentioned this matter previously in this book. Nehemiah did not
care whether he impressed other people. But he always wanted to please God.
Nehemiah and his companions had also lent money and grain to the
poor people. But Nehemiah and his companions had not charged the people money
for the loans. Nehemiah had obeyed God’s command and he was a good model to the
other leaders of the people.
Nehemiah ordered the rich leaders to give back to the poor people
their property. He also told the leaders to give back the money that they had
charged the poor people for the loans. The leaders agreed to do what Nehemiah
had ordered. They promised to give all the property and money back to the poor
Nehemiah called the priests. He wanted them to hear the leaders’
promise. Then the leaders would realise that God knew about these promises. Et
they would be afraid not to do the things that they promised.
But the leaders did do what they had promised to do. And all the
people were happy with what their leaders had done.
Here we find out more about Nehemiah. He was a good leader and a
good model to the people in different ways.
Nehemiah became the ruler, so he was an important man. But he
still had a humble attitude. And he really cared about the people.
The king allowed the ruler to have special food. This probably
means that the ruler could tax the people. But Nehemiah did not want to do
this, because he respected God. Nehemiah knew that many of the people were
poor. They had to pay tax to the king also. Nehemiah was probably already rich
because the king had appointed him as the ruler. The previous rulers of *Judah
had not been such good leaders. They had taken silver as well as food and wine
from the people.
Nehemiah did not even want to obtain his own property. His job
was to lead the people and to build the city walls. Also Nehemiah invited many
people to eat with him every day. He paid for this food himself. He was ruler
for 12 years and all that time he invited other people to eat his food. He did
not ask the people to give him food.
Nehemiah wanted God to be pleased. And because Nehemiah respected
God, Nehemiah was a good leader. He was generous to the people that he ruled.
Nehemiah had solved the problem that caused the poor people to
complain. The people had built the wall, but they had not finished the gates.
But the enemies of the people did not give up. They still tried to stop the
Sanballat and his friends sent messages to Nehemiah. They invited
him to meet them. They pretended that they wanted to make peace with the *Jews.
If that had been the truth, then it would have been good news for the *Jews.
But Sanballat and his friends did not really want to make peace with the *Jews.
Instead, they wanted to attack Nehemiah. Perhaps if they hurt him, he would be
unable to continue to lead the people. Although the people had built the wall,
they still needed Nehemiah to lead them. He would help them to become a proper
Nehemiah knew that his enemies were telling lies. He found out
that they wanted to hurt him. He also knew that it was not wise for him to go
to the meeting with his enemies. Ono was near to the land of his enemies, so it
was a dangerous place. He would have to walk for a day to get there. Après le
meeting, he would have to walk for another day to get back to Jerusalem. Tandis que
he travelled, he would not be able to lead the people. And the work was too
important to permit any delay. Nehemiah knew that it was essential to finish
the work on the gates of the city. So Nehemiah told his enemies that he was too
busy to meet them. They sent the same message 4 times and he gave them the same
Sanballat sent another message to Nehemiah. It was a letter, but
Sanballat did not close it. It was open so that anyone could read it. Sanballat
did not want this letter to be secret. He wanted all the people to know what he
had written. In the letter, he pretended to be the friend of Nehemiah, but
again Sanballat told lies. He said that some people had accused Nehemiah. Ils
had said that the *Jews were plotting a revolution against the king. Sanballat
probably invented this story. Nehemiah was always very loyal to the king.
Nobody thought that Nehemiah would stop obeying the king. But Sanballat wanted
the *Jews to be afraid. Perhaps Nehemiah himself might worry about the king’s
reaction to such a report. The *Jews might delay in order to work out what to do.
If there was a pause, Nehemiah’s workmen might have to return home. The wall
was almost complete. But without gates, there would still be no security for
the people who lived in the city.
Of course, Nehemiah knew that Sanballat’s words were lies.
Nehemiah had no such plans. He knew that Sanballat was trying to frighten the
people and to stop the work. Again Nehemiah prayed and he asked God to make him
One day Nehemiah went to visit Shemaiah. Shemaiah may have been a
priest (Ezra 2:60; Nehemiah 10:8). We do not know why Nehemiah visited him.
Perhaps Nehemiah wanted Shemaiah to pray with him. Nehemiah thought that he
could trust Shemaiah.
It seems that Shemaiah was a *prophet (see verses 12 and 14).
Perhaps Nehemiah was hoping that Shemaiah would give him (Nehemiah) a message
from God. And Shemaiah did pretend that he had a message from God. But in fact,
this message really came from Nehemiah’s enemies.
Shemaiah would not go out of his house, but he offered to go to
the *temple with Nehemiah. Shemaiah pretended that he wanted to protect
Nehemiah. Shemaiah told Nehemiah that men were coming to kill Nehemiah. But the
*temple was a strong building. If they closed the *temple doors, Nehemiah would
be safe inside.
Nehemiah realised that Shemaiah had given him bad advice. God’s
law said that only priests could enter the inner *temple. Nehemiah was not a
priest, so he could not go there. Such an action would be a *sin.
Nehemiah realised that Shemaiah had received money from Tobiah
and Sanballat. They wanted Nehemiah not to obey God’s commands. Then they would
be able to accuse Nehemiah. And the people would not continue to respect him.
Nehemiah refused to do what Shemaiah advised. But Shemaiah was
not the only *prophet who tried to frighten Nehemiah. The *prophets should have
supported God’s work. But instead, like Balaam (Numbers chapter 22), they
accepted money to oppose God’s work.
Again, Nehemiah prayed to God for help. We can see from his
prayer that he had other enemies as well as Tobiah and Sanballat. Certains
*prophets were trying to frighten him also. But Nehemiah trusted God. Nehemiah
could not stop what his enemies were doing. But God could stop them. Nehemiah’s
enemies were also God’s enemies and the enemies of the *Jews. So Nehemiah asked
God to deal with all the enemies.
Although their enemies tried to stop the work, the people built
the walls of Jerusalem in just 52 days. The people had worked very hard.
Nehemiah always knew that the *Jews were doing God’s work. Maintenant
even the enemies of the *Jews knew that God had helped the people to build the
walls. So the nations round *Judah became afraid of the *Jews. The God of the
*Jews is the only real God. But the other nations served false gods. False gods
are not real gods, so they have no power. But God is powerful.
The *Jews had many enemies while they were building the wall. Mais
even some of the chief men in *Judah were helping their enemies. Some of these
chief men had promised to be loyal to Tobiah.
Tobiah and his son had both married women from *Judah. Tobiah was
also a relative of Eliashib the priest (Nehemiah 13:4). God had told the *Jews
not to marry foreigners, but many *Jews did not obey him.
In the past, when *Jews married foreign wives, these wives
tempted them to *worship false gods. This even happened to King Solomon
although he was a very wise man (1 Kings 11:1-8). God had sent the *Jews into
*exile because they *worshipped false gods. Now God had brought the *Jews back
from *exile to *Judah, but many *Jews were still not obeying his commands. Quand
Ezra returned to *Judah, many leaders of the *Jews married foreign women (Ezra
chapters 9 and 10). This made Ezra very sad and angry.
Now, while Nehemiah was the ruler, the leaders of the *Jews were
again marrying foreign wives. Also, they were allowing their daughters to marry
foreign men. These leaders were not loyal to Nehemiah and their own people.
Instead, they were loyal to Tobiah, because of their foreign wives. Ils
believed Tobiah’s lies. And they told Nehemiah about the good things that
Tobiah did. They also told Tobiah what Nehemiah said to them. This probably
helped Tobiah as he tried to frighten Nehemiah.
The devil always opposes God’s work. But God wanted the *Jews to
become a nation again. He had a plan to save the world by means of a *Jew. Cette
*Jew was Jesus Christ.
People were willing to work with the devil in order to oppose
God’s work. That is very sad. The devil sent enemies like Sanballat and Tobiah
to the *Jews from the nations near them. The devil also caused trouble among
the *Jews themselves. And the devil used the *Jews who had become Tobiah’s
relatives. Then those *Jews believed Tobiah’s lies. And they told him what
Nehemiah was saying. But God helped Nehemiah and the *Jews who worked with him.
And so they finished the construction of the wall.
The people had built the walls of Jerusalem and they had put the
doors in place. So the inhabitants of Jerusalem had security at last. Mais
Nehemiah had not finished his work. For 52 days, the people had been anxious
about the work on the walls. They had to protect themselves while they built
the walls. But now the people needed leaders in the city to direct them. Première,
Nehemiah appointed singers and *Levites. They would lead the people when they
Then Nehemiah appointed Hanani his brother and Hananiah to rule
over the city. Nehemiah chose men whom people could trust. These men were
responsible for local government. So they did not lead the people when they
*worshipped God. But Nehemiah still chose men who respected God. He knew that
this was important. Men like these would rule the people well and fairly. Ils
would be good models for the people. Some of the other leaders had not been
good models (Nehemiah 5:7; 6:17).
Nehemiah realised that it was still important to protect the
city. He ordered the guards to shut the gates early and to lock the gates. le
guards must not open the gates too early in the morning. They had to wait until
the sun was hot. And they would remain on duty while the gates were open. Ils
had to shut and to lock the gates again in the evening.
More people became guards. They protected important points along
the wall of the city. Some of the people guarded the walls near their own
houses. This was a good idea. They did not have far to travel and they could
protect their families.
Although the people had built the walls, they had not repaired
many of the houses. So not many people lived in the city, although it was a big
city. Nehemiah knew that a city could not be successful without inhabitants.
Nehemiah had to ask people to come and live in the city. C’était
a harder job for Nehemiah than when he asked them to build the walls. Many of
the people had homes and farms outside the city. They had come to Jerusalem so
that they could help to build the walls. But now they wanted to return to their
homes and to their families.
It seems that Nehemiah prayed about this problem. And God showed
him what to do. Nehemiah recorded all the people in a list of their families.
Then he found the list of the first people who returned from *exile. Nehemiah
could remind the people about their brave *ancestors who returned from *exile.
These *ancestors had left their homes in Persia. Then they had walked for many
weeks to come back to *Judah. When they arrived in *Judah, they had to build
new houses and to farm the land again. The people of Nehemiah’s time had houses
and farms because of the work of their *ancestors. Now these people could help
to make Jerusalem a great city again.
Nehemiah copied the register of the people who returned from
*exile in Babylonia. These people came back to *Judah about 90 years before the
time of Nehemiah. Zerubbabel and Jeshua led this group of people. Jeshua was
the chief priest. The people went back to the towns that God had given to their
We can read about the return of the *Jews from *exile in Ezra
chapter 2. Ezra also recorded the list of the people who returned. Ezra’s list
is nearly the same as Nehemiah’s list. Perhaps some people did not actually
return, although they planned to do so. Perhaps Nehemiah spelt some names in a
different way. This might explain why the lists are slightly different.
Most families that went into *exile never returned to *Judah. Mais
those *Jews who returned were part of God’s plan. God had promised by the
*prophets that the *Jews would live again in *Judah after the *exile. God would
use their *descendants to bless (show his kindness to) every nation. And Jesus,
who would save people from the punishment for their *sins, would be among their
*descendants. So it was important for *Jews to know about their *ancestors.
Then they would know that they really were *Jews.
The people who returned to *Judah had different jobs to do. Certains
were priests and *Levites and some were singers. They led the people when they
*worshipped God. Some of the people guarded the *temple and the gates and some
were servants in the *temple.
Some of the people could not prove who their *ancestors were.
Some of these people were priests. God appointed the *descendants of Aaron (who
was the brother of Moses) to be priests. So the priests had to prove that they
were *descendants of Aaron. Otherwise, they could not serve as priests.
God gave some priests the Urim and Thummim. (Urim and Thummim
means ‘perfect lights’. These objects were probably precious stones.) Somehow,
these priests used these objects to know what God was telling the people to do.
The priest would wear these objects in his jacket, over his heart (Leviticus
But at that time there was no priest who could use the Urim and
Thummim to make a decision.
So the men who had no family records needed such a priest. Cette
priest would use the Urim and Thummim in order to ask God for direction. ensuite
God would show that priest what to do about these men. These men could not
prove their *ancestors. But perhaps God would allow them to serve as priests in
the end. But until that happened, these men could not work as priests. The work
of the priests was sacred and important. So the chief officer would not allow
anyone who might not be a priest to work in the *temple.
The *Babylonians had destroyed the *temple when they took the
*Jews into *exile.
When the people had returned to *Judah at the time of Zerubbabel,
they started to build the *temple. They started the work on the *temple as soon
as they could.
Some of the people had become rich when they lived in Babylon and
Persia. They were able to give generous gifts for the work of the *temple. le
chief officer was a good model for the people, because he was generous also.
Donkeys are animals like small horses. They have long ears. Mules
are also like small horses. They are born after male donkeys mate with female
horses. The *Jews brought these animals back with them. And they brought their
servants too. The *Jews wanted to make their permanent homes in *Judah.
In the past, God had promised to give the country called *Judah
to the *Jews. God gave some land to each family (Numbers 34:13-15). Quand le
*Jews returned from *exile, they lived in their own towns. These were the same
towns that God had given to their *ancestors.
This register calls the people ‘the people of *Israel’ instead of
‘the people of *Judah’. God gave Jacob the name *Israel when he promised to
make Jacob’s *descendants God’s special people. Many years later, the nation
divided into two parts. The name of the northern part was *Israel, and people
called the inhabitants *Israelites. The name of the southern part was *Judah,
and people called the inhabitants *Jews. God allowed the *Assyrians to defeat
the *Israelites and to take them into *exile. The *Israelites never returned
from their *exile. (In the end, only a small number of their families would
return to join the people in Judah.) So, at the time of this register, only the
people in *Judah remained, but they were still God’s special people. Et
sometimes they called themselves ‘the people of *Israel’.
In Nehemiah 7:6-73, Nehemiah copied the register of the first
people who returned from *exile. This happened about 90 years before Nehemiah
became the ruler of *Judah.
In chapter 8, Nehemiah continues to explain the events while he
ruled *Judah. He had arranged a special meeting for all the *Jews (Nehemiah
8:1-4). In fact, there were several meetings. They happened on the sacred
holidays that were in the 7th month of the year.
At the end of these meetings, the people would decide which *Jews
would live in Jerusalem (chapter 11). But first, Nehemiah wanted the people to
learn about God. They did not yet know about God’s law. And they did not know
how to serve God.
So, Ezra and the *Levites taught the people. The people confessed
their *sins. Then they made an important agreement (chapters 9 and 10). Ils
promised that they would serve God. And they promised to provide everything
that the priests needed for the *temple.
The people had finished the work on the walls of Jerusalem in the
6th month of the year (Nehemiah 6:15). The people had worked hard for 52 days.
But Nehemiah had not finished his work. His next task would take much more than
52 days. Nehemiah had to make the people into a proper nation of God’s people
encore. They needed to learn again about God’s commands. And the people wanted
to hear God’s law and to understand it.
So on the first day of the 7th month they asked Ezra the priest
to read God’s law to them. They even built a high wooden platform for Ezra. Il
stood on the platform while he read the law. Ezra read the law to all the men
and women. The children who were old enough to understand were also present. Il
read for about 5 or 6 hours and the people listened.
Ezra had 13 companions with him on the high platform. Peut-être
they also read the law so that Ezra did not have to read for the whole time.
When Ezra started to read the law, all the people stood up. Ils
wanted to give honour to God. Then Ezra praised God and the people agreed with
him. Then they turned their faces to the ground. This was to show how much they
wanted to give honour to God.
Some of the *Levites also helped Ezra. They moved among the
people and they read the law to smaller groups. They explained the law. Et
they helped the people to understand its meaning. Some of the people probably
did not understand the language of the book of the law. So the *Levites had to
translate into the language of the people.
The people had not heard God’s law for a long time. Ezra read the
law. Then the people realised that they had *sinned. God had sent his people
into *exile because they had *sinned. This made the people cry. They were sorry
because they had *sinned.
But Nehemiah, Ezra and the *Levites told them not to cry. Personne
had read God’s law for a long time. But now the people were hearing God’s word
encore. So it was a special holy day for God.
Soon the people would confess their *sins. At that time, it would
be right for them to be sad. But that was the wrong attitude on this special
journée. Instead, the people should be happy. God loved them and he chose them to
be his own people. He had brought their families back from *exile as he
promised. And he had spoken to them by his law. God was very kind to them, so
they should be happy.
Nehemiah told the people to be happy and not sad. He told them to
go home and to enjoy good food. He told them to share food with those who did
not have any. So the people did what Nehemiah told them to do.
The people wanted to hear God’s law again the next day. This time
the leaders of the families came to hear what was in the book of the law. Ezra
and the priests and the *Levites helped the people to study God’s law. Quand
they all studied God’s law, they found out about a special holiday. The holiday
was in the 7th month of the year. It was called the holiday of the shelters.
Actually there should have been three special holidays during the
7th month of the year.
1. The first holiday
was the special day of the *trumpets (Leviticus 23:23-25). God told his people
to have a special day of rest on the first day of the month. He told them not
to work. He told them to meet together when they heard the sound of the
2. The second
special day was on the 10th day of the month (Leviticus 23:26-32). That was a
day for the people to be sad because they had *sinned. They should be humble
and they should confess their *sins to God. Then God would forgive their *sins.
3. The third special
holiday was the holiday of the shelters (Leviticus 23:33-36). It started on the
15th day of the month and it lasted for 7 days. God wanted to remind the people
about the time when he rescued their *ancestors from the country called Egypt.
When the people left Egypt, they lived in shelters. God had looked after them
until he led them into the country called *Israel. *Judah was the south part of
the land that God had promised to give to his people. So, afterwards, God said
that his people should make shelters during the 7th month of the year. le
people must make the shelters from branches and they must live in the shelters
for 7 days. On the 8th day, the people had to meet together. This 8th day was
an extra holiday. On that day, people remembered how God gave them his law. Dieu
told the people to be happy during this whole holiday (Deuteronomy 16:13-15).
When the leaders of the people studied God’s law, they discovered
about the holiday of the shelters. This was a good holiday for them to hear
about. God had rescued their *ancestors from Egypt many centuries earlier. Maintenant
he had rescued them from *exile in Babylon.
When the people learned about the holiday of the shelters they
wanted to obey God. So they collected branches, which they used to build
shelters. And they lived in the shelters as God had told them to do. All the
people who had returned from *exile did this. They did all that God had ordered
about the holiday of the shelters.
They were very happy because God had brought his people back to
*Judah. God had helped them to build Jerusalem again. Now God’s people were
obeying him again. And the people listened to Ezra as he read from the book of
God’s law every day of the holiday.
Nehemiah still had not finished his work for God. He could have
returned to Persia. He had a successful career there. But he remained in *Judah
for 12 years. He wanted to make the *Jews into a holy nation of God’s people
So the people had the special holiday of the shelters in the 7th
month of the year. It lasted from the 15th day of the month until the 22nd day
(Nehemiah 8:14-18). It was a happy holiday.
Two days later, they gathered together again. This time they were
sad. They did not eat any food. The people also wore rough clothes and they put
dust on their heads. This was to show that they were sad and sorry for their
*sins. They were ready to pray and to confess their *sins to God.
The people wanted to serve and to obey the real God. They said
that they were sorry for their *sins. They even confessed the *sins that their
*ancestors had done. They listened to the book of the law of God for another
three hours. Then they *worshipped God and they confessed their *sins for
another three hours.
The people also separated themselves from all foreigners. Plus
foreigners served other gods, which were not real gods. God had warned the
*Jews that they must not follow the ways of the foreigners. And God’s people
must not serve other gods instead of the real God. So God warned them to
separate themselves from all foreigners. God had sent their *ancestors into
*exile because they had served other gods.
At other times, some foreigners wanted to *worship the real God.
God allowed them to join with his special people the *Jews. For example, Ruth
was from Moab, but she became an *ancestor of Jesus (Ruth 1:16, 22; 4:13-17;
Some *Levites led the people to pray to God. Other *Levites led
the people to *worship and to praise God.
They remembered that God has always lived. He was not born and he
will not die. He made everything. He is the real God. He is not like the false
gods that the foreigners served. They were not real gods. They did not make
anything, but people made them.
In their prayers to God, the people remembered all the things
that he had done for them and for their *ancestors.
The people remembered that God had chosen Abram. God had given
him a new name, Abraham, and a new place to live. God had promised that Abraham
would have many *descendants. God promised to give a special country to the
*descendants of Abraham. God always does what is right. He always does what he
promises to do. These people were Abraham’s *descendants. And they were now
living in the country called *Judah. It was part of the land that God had
promised to give to Abraham’s *descendants.
In their prayers to God, the people remembered that their
*ancestors had lived in the country called Egypt. The king of Egypt and his
people had made the *Jews suffer. So the *Jews called to God to help them. Dieu
heard their cries and he rescued them from the people of Egypt. The king of
Egypt did not want the *Jews to leave his country, because they were slaves to
his people. But God performed wonderful acts to prove that he was the powerful
real God. He made the king and the people of Egypt suffer until they agreed to
free the *Jews.
When the *Jews escaped from Egypt, God led his people through the
desert. He used a cloud to lead them during the day. And at night, he used a
column of fire to show them the way that they should go. When they reached the
Red Sea, God made a special path. Then they could cross the sea. The army of
Egypt tried to follow the *Jews. But God drowned the army of Egypt in the sea.
We can read all about this in Exodus chapters 3 to 14.
While they were in the desert, God called Moses up to Sinai
Mountain. On Sinai Mountain, God gave Moses good and fair laws for his people.
God told the people to rest on the 7th day of the week. That was a special holy
day for God. Then the people knew how to obey God. They knew how God wanted
them to live.
Also while the people were in the desert, God fed them. He sent
them special bread from heaven. He even brought water for them out of a rock.
He showed them that he cared about them. He showed them that he was the
powerful real God. God reminded the people that he had promised to give to them
their own special country. Other nations already lived in that country. But God
told the *Jews to go into the country. He told them to take possession of it.
We can read all about this in Exodus chapters 16 to 20.
Although God looked after his people, they did not obey his law.
He gave them food and water in the desert. But they did not remember all the
good and wonderful things that God had done for them. Although God led them
with the cloud and the fire, they asked Aaron, Moses’ brother, to make them
another god. Aaron made a gold image of a young cow and the people *worshipped
the image instead of the real God (Exodus 32:1-35).
This made God very angry. But he still loved his people. So he
continued to look after them. He continued to lead them by the cloud and the
fire. He continued to give them food and water. And he continued to teach them
what they should do to please him.
Because the people would not believe God, they had to live in the
desert for 40 years. They often did not obey God and they often made him angry.
But he continued to look after them all the time (Exodus chapter 16; Numbers
The *Jews wandered in the desert for 40 years. During this time,
almost all the adults who left Egypt died. Although the people often did not
obey God, God was still looking after their families. He led them into the
country that he had promised to give to them. And he made them into a great
nation. God allowed the *Jews to defeat all the nations who lived in the
So the people entered the country to live in it. The people found
that the land was good to produce crops. There were already good cities and
houses in the country, which the *Jews did not have to build themselves. Ils
did not have to dig wells because the previous people had already dug wells.
The people enjoyed many good things for which they did not have to work. Dieu
gave all these good things to his people in their new country (Deuteronomy
6:10-12; Joshua 21:43-45).
God was good to his people the *Jews. He looked after them and he
gave them a good country to live in. But they did not obey him. God sent
*prophets to warn them, but they killed the *prophets. So God punished the
gens. He allowed their enemies to defeat them. Then the people called out to
God for help. God continued to love his people. So he heard their cries and he
rescued them. But then they forgot God again and they did not obey his Law. Alors,
again, God punished them. He allowed their enemies to defeat them and to rule over
them again. Again, the people called out to God and he heard their cries. Il
rescued them and he warned them to obey his Law.
This happened many times during the history of the *Jews. le
people did not obey God, so he punished them. He allowed their enemies to
defeat them. Then the people were sorry and they asked God to rescue them. Dieu
did rescue them and he warned them to obey him. But the people soon forgot how
good God was. Then they did wicked things again.
Although the people often forgot God’s kindness, God still loved
leur. They did not deserve his kindness. But he was still good to them and he
did not destroy the nation.
So the people in Nehemiah’s time remembered their history. Ils
remembered that God had been kind to their *ancestors. So they praised God. Dieu
always does everything that he has promised to do. They realised this fact. Alors
they thanked God. And they asked God to help them in their present troubles.
They knew that God was right and fair to punish his people. They knew that they
too had behaved like their *ancestors. They and their leaders had not obeyed
God’s laws. Although the people were living in *Judah again, they still had to
serve the king of Persia. They felt like slaves in their own country because
they had to give much of their harvest to a foreign king. So the people
appealed to God to help them.
So the people decided to make promises to God. They wrote down
their agreement with God and their leaders signed it. Then everybody would know
what they had promised to do.
We can read about this agreement in the next chapter.
The people had listened to the law of God (Nehemiah chapter 8)
and they had remembered their history (Nehemiah chapter 9). Then they made an
agreement with God.
Nehemiah recorded this list of the men who signed the agreement
with God. Nehemiah was the ruler of *Judah, so he signed the agreement.
Zedekiah probably helped Nehemiah to rule, so he signed the agreement also.
Some of the priests also signed the agreement. These priests were probably the
heads of the families. Some of the *Levites also signed the agreement. le
*Levites and the priests led the people when they *worshipped God.
The leaders of the people also signed the agreement.
After all the leaders of the people had signed the agreement, all
the rest of the people agreed. They also made a serious promise to God. Même
the children who were old enough to understand made promises to God. They all
promised to obey all the laws of God.
The people in the nations near Jerusalem served other gods, which
were not real gods. So the *Jews separated themselves from these other nations
because they wanted to be loyal to the real God.
The people promised God that *Jews would not marry people from
other nations. Most foreigners served other gods, which were not real gods. Dieu
knew that the *Jews would follow the ways of the foreigners. They would serve
other gods and they would not serve him. So he warned them not to marry these
foreigners (Nehemiah 13:1-3; 13:24-27). God had sent their *ancestors into
*exile because they had served other gods.
The people also promised to keep the 7th day of the week special
and holy for God. God had told them to rest on the 7th day. He told them to
allow their animals and their foreign servants to rest also (Exodus 23:12). Dieu
himself had rested on the 7th day after he had made the world. So he made it a
special day (Genesis 2:1-3).
It was a special day when the people *worshipped God. He told
them not to work on that day. He also told them not to farm their land each 7th
an. Then they would not be able to grow crops, because God wanted them to
depend on him.
If the people rested on the 7th day, then the nations near them
would notice. Then the other nations would know that the *Jews loved the real
Just before the people went into *exile, God warned them by his
*prophet Jeremiah. God made a promise if the people obeyed his command about
the 7th day. He promised that the people would be a great nation (Jeremiah
17:24-25). But they did not obey his command. So God sent them into *exile and
he allowed enemies to destroy Jerusalem.
The people also promised to pay money each year. Each person
would pay the same amount, as tax. They paid 4 grams (1/8 ounce) of silver.
This money was to pay for all the work of the *temple. Then the people also
promised to provide wood for the fire for the *sacrifices.
They also promised to bring the best of their crops, their fruit and
their animals to God. They even promised to bring the first of their sons. Mais
God’s law allowed them to pay a price instead (Exodus 13:11-16).
Also, the people promised to give one tenth (1/10th) of their
crops. They gave all these things to the *Levites. Then the *Levites could
serve God and take care of the *temple all the time. So they did not have to
work in the fields. The *Levites also gave one 10th to the priests. Puis le
priests could serve God and they could lead the people to *worship God. Alors le
priests also did not have to work in the fields.
The people promised that they would not neglect the house of God,
in other words, the *temple.
The people had built the city called Jerusalem again. Then they
returned to the smaller towns and villages where they lived. Not many people
lived in the city called Jerusalem. It was important for people to live in the
city. Then it would become a great city again and the people could protect the
*temple in the city.
The leaders of the people lived in the city. They would help
Hanani and Hananiah to rule the people (Nehemiah 7:2). But a city can only be a
great city if many people live there. The people who lived in the other towns
and villages already had houses and land. If they moved to live in Jerusalem,
they would have to build new houses and to find new work. The people used *lots
to decide who would live in the city. They used *lots in order to find out what
God wanted them to do (Proverbs 16:33). So they chose one tenth (1/10th) of the
people to live in Jerusalem. All the people were grateful for those people who
were willing to live in Jerusalem.
Many of the people lived on their own land in the other towns and
villages. Some of the rulers of the districts lived in Jerusalem. Nehemiah
recorded their names.
Some of them were *descendants of Judah. Judah’s sons were Perez
and Shelah. Perez was born after Judah *sinned with Tamar. Tamar was the widow
of *Judah’s other son called Er (Genesis 38:11-30). Jesus was also one of the
*descendants of Perez. Judah’s wrong action could not prevent God’s good plan.
Nehemiah recorded the names of the priests and the *Levites who
lived in Jerusalem. The priests led the people when they *worshipped God. le
*Levites helped the priests and they looked after the *sacrifices. Some of
these men looked after the work of the *temple. Other men led the people in
prayer and when they gave thanks to God. Nehemiah also recorded the names of
the men of Jerusalem who guarded the gates. They also guarded the *temple and
the rooms for the *tithes and *temple equipment (1 Chronicles 9:17-27).
God had given the country called *Judah to his special people the
*Jews. He gave each family a share in the land. So when the people returned
from the *exile, they returned to the country of their *ancestors.
Asaph was a leader of the singers at the time of King David (1
Chronicles 6:39). He also wrote some of the Psalms in the Bible. Le sien
*descendants were the singers in the *temple.
Although the king lived far away in Persia, he wanted to know
about the people in *Judah. He had a special interest in the work of the
*temple. The king had given royal authority to Ezra about the *worship in the
*temple (Ezra 7:11-26).
Nehemiah also recorded the names of the towns and villages of
We do not know much about the people in this chapter. They lived
many years ago, but they did an important job for Nehemiah and for God. Dieu
cares about all sorts of people. And he is pleased when they serve him well.
Often Nehemiah also recorded the names of the families and the
*ancestors of the people. The people in *Judah were part of God’s plan to save
the world by Jesus Christ. (Jesus was a *Jew.) So it was important for *Jews to
know about their *ancestors. Then they would know that they really were *Jews.
The priests and *Levites could only do their special work if they were genuine
*descendants of Levi (Nehemiah 7:63-65). (The priests were *descendants of
Aaron, the brother of Moses. Aaron was a *descendant of Levi.)
Nehemiah recorded the names of the first priests and *Levites to
return from *exile. Zerubbabel led these people back to *Judah about 93 years
before the time when Nehemiah and his companions returned. Jeshua was the name
of the chief priest at the time of Zerubbabel.
Nehemiah then recorded the family of the chief priest. C’était
important for *Jews to know about their *ancestors. But it was especially
important for the priests to know about their *ancestors. They could only do
their special work if they were genuine *descendants of Aaron, the brother of
Moses. The chief priests came from one family. When the people had had a king,
they had counted their dates by the years of the king’s rule. But now they did
not have a king, so they counted their dates by the names of the chief priests
(1 Chronicles 6:3-15; Nehemiah 12:12).
Then Nehemiah recorded the names of the most important priests at
his own time. These men were the heads of the families of the priests when he
was the ruler of *Judah. Joiakim was the chief priest. Most of the family names
are the same as those of Zerubbabel’s time when Jeshua was the chief priest
(Nehemiah 12:1-7). The priests clearly used the same family names. C’était
important for them to know to which family they belonged.
The people kept records for many years of the families of the
priests and the *Levites. (Eliashib, Joiada, Johanan and Jaddua were the chief
priests during these years.) These records were very important. Only the
*descendants of Levi, the son of Jacob, could serve as *Levites. Only the
*descendants of Aaron, who was a *Levite and the brother of Moses, could serve
as priests (Nehemiah 7:63-65).
Some of the *Levites praised and thanked God. This was their
special task at the *temple. Centuries before, King David had made rules about
the *worship at the *temple. David also wrote many of the Psalms (songs) that
these *Levites used to praise God.
Other *Levites took care of the *temple and the equipment for the
The people were happy because they had built the walls of
Jerusalem again. They knew that God had helped them. And they wanted to thank
God for his help. The job of the *Levites was to lead the people when they
praised God. So the people gathered the *Levites and the singers from all the
other towns. And the *Levites sang and they thanked God with musical
instruments. The priests carried out a special ceremony. Probably they made
*sacrifices on behalf of themselves and the other people. By means of these
*sacrifices, they asked God to forgive their *sins. Then they would be ready to
Verses 31-37 Then Nehemiah took the leaders of the people onto
the top of the wall. He divided them into two groups. One group marched one way
round the walls. As they marched, they thanked God. And the priests played
*trumpets and other musical instruments. Ezra was with this group.
Before the people had started to build, their enemies had laughed
at them. The enemies of the *Jews did not want the people to build the walls
encore. Tobiah had even said that a fox would be able to knock the walls down.
Now the walls were so wide and strong that the people could march on them.
The other group also thanked God as they marched the other way
round the walls. Nehemiah was with this group.
The two groups met again at the *temple, which was the house of
Dieu. There they praised and they thanked God. The priests led with their
*trumpets. But all the people praised and thanked God. They were all happy
because God had helped them to build the walls. They made such a noise that
people far away could hear the sound of happiness. Now the other people round
*Judah would know that the *Jews served the real God. Everyone would know that
God had helped his people to build the walls of Jerusalem again.
Only the *descendants of Aaron could serve as priests. Alors le
phrase ‘the *descendants of Aaron’ means the priests.
Although the people were having a happy time they had to think
about the future of the nation. They had promised to give one tenth (1/10th) of
their crops for the priests and the *Levites. Then the priests and the *Levites
could serve God and they could take care of the *temple all the time. le
people had promised that they would not neglect the house of God (Nehemiah
Now the people made arrangements for the *tithes. They appointed
people to collect the *tithes and to put them in special rooms in the *temple.
These men would look after these special rooms. The people gave their *tithes
because God’s law ordered them to do so. But they also gave these gifts to the
priests and to the *Levites. They did this because they were pleased with the
work of the priests and the *Levites. They also gave gifts to the other men who
served. They gave gifts to the singers and to those who guarded the gates of
the city and the *temple.
Twelve years after the people rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem,
Nehemiah returned to Persia. Some time later, he asked the king to allow him to
return to *Judah (Nehemiah 13:6). There, Nehemiah discovered that the people
were doing many wrong things. In this chapter, we can read what Nehemiah did
about these serious problems.
This seems to mean a particular day after Nehemiah returned to
*Judah. It seems that, until then, the people had neglected to read the law of
Dieu. But on that particular day, they heard the law. Then they knew that they
had not obeyed God’s commands. God’s law said that they must never allow the
*Ammonite and *Moabite people to join the people of God. The *Ammonites and
*Moabites were *descendants of Moab and Benammi, the sons of Lot. Moab and
Benammi were born after Lot’s daughters made him *sin (Genesis 19:10-38). le
*Ammonites and *Moabites were always the enemies of the *Jews. The *Moabites
encouraged the *Jews to serve false gods at the time of Moses (Numbers 25:1-5).
So the people obeyed God and they separated themselves from all
(God did not want the *Israelites to marry people from other
nations. This was because the *Israelites were God’s special people. But God
still cared about the people from other nations. In fact, God’s plan was to use
the *Israelites so that he could do good things for people from every nation
(Genesis 12:3). So people from other nations could still serve the real God.
For example, Ruth was from Moab, but she became an *ancestor of Jesus. So God
even allowed *Moabites to join his special people, the *Jews, if they really
*worshipped him. See Ruth 1:16-22; 4:13-17; Luke 3:23-32.)
When Nehemiah was away in Persia, the priest Eliashib allowed
Tobiah to use a large room in the *temple. Tobiah was one of the enemies of the
*Jews. He had tried to stop the people building the walls of Jerusalem again
(Nehemiah 2:10; 2:19; 4:3). Also he was an *Ammonite. God’s law said that the
*Jews must not allow *Ammonites to join them (Nehemiah 13:1). Tobiah was also a
relative of Eliashib the priest. It seems that someone from Eliashib’s family
had married Tobiah or someone from his family. The *Jews had promised not to
marry foreigners (Nehemiah 10:30). So they had done something that they
promised not to do. And this was a very important matter, because they made
this promise to God.
The room that Tobiah used was a special room. The people stored
the equipment for the *temple there. They also stored their *tithes and gifts
for the priests in this room. So, when Tobiah used the room, they did not have
anywhere to store the *tithes. Also some *Levites and *temple servants lived
outside Jerusalem. They probably stayed in this room when they came to
Jerusalem to serve. So when it was their time to serve in Jerusalem they did
not have anywhere to stay.
Eliashib was the chief priest (Nehemiah 13:28). Il était
responsible for the entire *temple. And he was very important. But he was
allowing Tobiah to use this room. And Eliashib had also allowed members of his
family to marry foreigners. Eliashib was the leader of the priests. But even he
was not obeying God’s law. So even the chief priest was not doing the things
that the *Israelites promised to do (chapter 10).
When Nehemiah returned to Jerusalem, he discovered what Eliashib
had done. So Nehemiah was very angry. This does not mean that Nehemiah could
not control his temper. It means that he acted in a strict way. Il voulait
show that he was very unhappy about the situation. Jesus showed a similar
reaction in a similar situation (John 2:12-17).
Nehemiah said that Eliashib had done something evil. So Nehemiah
threw all Tobiah’s property out of the room. The room was a special holy room.
But it was not still holy because Tobiah the *Ammonite had used it. So Nehemiah
ordered people to clean the rooms. Then the priests carried out a ceremony to
make the rooms holy again. They probably carried out special *sacrifices to do
this. Then Nehemiah put the equipment and the gifts of grain back into the
Nehemiah also discovered that the people had not given their
*tithes and gifts to the *Levites. They had promised to give one tenth (1/10th)
of their crops for the priests and the *Levites (Nehemiah 10:35-39). Puis le
priests and the *Levites could serve God and they could take care of the
*temple all the time. But this was another promise that the people had failed
to do. Instead the *Levites and the singers had gone back to their own fields.
They had to produce their own food so they were not doing their work in the
Perhaps the people did not bring the *tithes and gifts because there
was nowhere to store them in the *temple. Tobiah was using the special room.
But perhaps the room was already empty even before Tobiah began to use it.
Perhaps it was empty because the people were not still bringing their gifts to
put into the room.
Nehemiah blamed the officials who were the leaders of the people.
The people had promised not to neglect the house of God (Nehemiah 10:39). Mais
Nehemiah said that they had neglected the house of God. And he made the
*Levites and the singers return to their work in the *temple.
The *prophet Malachi lived about that time. God spoke to the
people by Malachi. He said that the people were cheating God. They did not
bring their gifts and their *tithes to his house (Malachi 3:8-10).
So the people again started to bring their *tithes and gifts to
the house of God. Nehemiah was wise and he appointed a team of good men to look
after this work. The men whom Nehemiah chose were honest men. Everybody knew
this. These men looked after the special holy rooms. These rooms were special
because these rooms stored the *tithes and gifts only. The men that Nehemiah
chose shared these things with the priests and the *Levites.
Nehemiah was a man who prayed often. He always wanted to do the
right thing for God and for God’s work. So he prayed that the gifts for the
*temple would continue.
Nehemiah also discovered something else when he returned to
*Judah. He saw that some of the people were working on the 7th day of the week.
They were also loading grain on horses. Maybe some of this was grain that they
should have given to the *Levites (Nehemiah 13:10). The *Jews were also buying
goods from the people of other nations on the 7th day of the week.
God had ordered the people to rest on the 7th day. He told them
to allow their animals and their foreign servants to rest also (Exodus 23:12).
But they were working and they were making their horses work too. The 7th day
was a special day when the people *worshipped God. The people had promised that
the 7th day of the week would be special and holy for God (Nehemiah 10:31).
Again, they had failed to do something that they promised. And this was an
important matter, because they made this promise to God.
Again, Nehemiah blamed the important men of *Judah. He said that
their behaviour was wicked. He reminded them about their history. God had
punished their *ancestors because they did not rest on the 7th day of the week.
That was why God had allowed foreign nations to destroy Jerusalem. Now the
people were making God angry again. Nehemiah probably remembered the words of
the *prophet Jeremiah. Jeremiah had warned the people just before God had sent
them into *exile. He told them not to carry loads on the 7th day of the week
Nehemiah gave orders that people must not trade on the 7th day of
la semaine. He ordered the guards in Jerusalem to shut the gates of the city
during the 7th day. He also spoke to the people from other nations who brought
goods to sell. He warned them not to come on the 7th day of the week. He told
the *Levites to make themselves clean and holy and to guard the gates of the
city. Nehemiah believed that Jerusalem was a holy city (Nehemiah 11:1, 18). Il
wanted Jerusalem to remain a holy city that pleased God.
Nehemiah prayed again. He remembered God’s great love. Et
Nehemiah asked God to show his (God’s) kindness.
Nehemiah discovered something else when he returned to *Judah.
Some of the men had married women from the nations called Ashdod, Ammon and
Moab. God had ordered the people not to marry foreigners. He had also ordered
the *Jews not to allow the *Ammonites and *Moabites to join them (Nehemiah
13:1-2). The people had promised God that they would not marry foreigners
(Nehemiah 10:30). This was another promise to God that the people had failed to
Although these people lived in *Judah, half of their children did
not know the *Jews’ own language. They spoke the languages of other nations.
They would not be able to read or to understand God’s law. It would be very
easy for them to start to *worship the false gods of other nations.
Perhaps these men had married foreign women in order to make
friends with people from other nations. Then these men could trade and they
could make more money. But perhaps these men married the foreign women because
these men had followed their emotions. Or perhaps there were not enough *Jewish
women for all the men to marry. But whatever their reasons were, these men were
not obeying God’s law.
Nehemiah was very angry. Again, his anger was not a mere emotion.
He had full control over his behaviour. But he showed his disgust at what these
men had done. He even pulled out their hair. Hair was very important to Jewish
men. To lose their hair would cause them to be ashamed. Nehemiah was very
strict with these men. But they respected his authority. And they accepted the
punishment. Then Nehemiah forced these men to make a serious promise to God.
Nehemiah ordered them not to marry foreign women. Also they must not allow
their sons and daughters to marry foreigners.
Nehemiah reminded the people again about their history. God made
King Solomon to be very wise. But even Solomon was not wise when he married
foreign women. And they tempted him to *worship other false gods (1 Kings
It seems that Nehemiah did not tell these men to send their
foreign women away. That was how Ezra dealt with a similar problem many years
The *prophet Malachi lived about that time. God spoke to the
people by Malachi about this matter too. He said that the people were not
obeying God. When they married foreign women, they were not obeying God
Even the grandson of Eliashib the chief priest had married a
daughter of Sanballat. Sanballat was one of the enemies of the *Jews. He had
tried to stop the *Jews building the walls of Jerusalem again (Nehemiah 2:10;
2:19; 4:1-2). Nehemiah was very angry because Sanballat was now a relative of
the chief priest. And Nehemiah showed complete disgust against Eliashib’s
grandson. Nehemiah refused even to allow that man (Eliashib’s grandson) to
remain in the same room. Nehemiah forced the man to go away.
Nehemiah prayed again. He knew that the priests had not obeyed
Dieu. They had not been good models for the people. Nehemiah tried to make the
priests and the *Levites do the right things again. He removed everything
foreign from them. He arranged for each of them to do his own proper tasks. Il
made sure that good people would collect the *tithes and the gifts at the right
Nehemiah recorded another of his prayers to end his book. He had
always tried to do what was right. He only wanted to please God. And he asked
God to show his kindness.
Ammonite ~ someone from the country called Ammon, or
anything that has a relationship to the country called Ammon.
arabe ~ a member of a nation that opposed Nehemiah’s plans.
Assyrians ~ people from the country called Assyria.
ancestors ~ people from the same family in previous
Babylonian ~ a person from the country called Babylonia,
or anything with a relationship to Babylonia. The capital city of Babylonia was
descendant ~ a future member of a family.
exile ~ a period when people cannot live in their own
country. This period may be for many years.
famine ~ a time when there is not enough food, so people
introduction ~ the first section of a book. le
introduction contains information that explains the contents of the book.
Israël ~ the entire nation that belonged to the families
of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. After the death of King Solomon, the nation split
into two. The northern part became a separate country, called Israel. Then, the
inhabitants were called *Israelites.
Israelites ~ the people from the country called *Israel.
But the word is sometimes used to mean the people who came from the country
called *Judah too.
Jehovah ~ a special name for God. This name means that God
is always God. And it reminds us about the special relationship between God and
Jews ~ all the people from the family of Abraham, Isaac
and Jacob. Or, just the people from the country called *Judah.
Judah ~ the south part of the nation that belonged to the
families of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. After the death of King Solomon, the
nation split into two, and Judah became a separate country. Then, the
inhabitants were called *Jews. Judah was also the name of a son of Jacob. Dieu
gave the region called Judah to this man’s (Judah’s) descendants.
Levites ~ the people of one of the 12 families of *Israel;
they acted as assistants to the priests in the *temple.
Lord ~ a title for God to show that he is over all. Mais
sometimes we translate *Jehovah as ‘Lord’.
lots ~ a method that seems to choose something by chance.
But people would pray about the decision. They asked God to control the lots.
And they believed that the decision came from God.
Moabite ~ a person from the country called Moab; ou
anything with a relationship to Moab.
orchard ~ a place to grow fruit trees.
perfume ~ oil that smells sweet.
Persian ~ a person from the country called Persia, or
anything with a relationship to the country called Persia.
prophet ~ someone who tells God’s messages; a person whom
God sends to speak for him; someone who is able to tell the will of God to
other people; someone who declares God’s words. However, some people were false
prophets. These people pretended to speak God’s words. But really, their
messages came from the devil, or from their own imagination.
ruin ~ buildings and walls that have fallen down.
sacrifice ~ a gift to God by the *Jews. They gave such a
gift when they asked God to forgive their *sins. The gift was often an animal
or a bird. Sometimes people offered sacrifices to thank God for something.
shield ~ soldiers use these strong boards to keep
themselves safe from attack.
sin ~ when people do bad things against God or other
people; when people do not obey the commands of God.
spear ~ a long and thin *weapon of war which has a point.
Soldiers throw them.
temple ~ the special building in Jerusalem where the *Jews
tithe ~ one tenth (1/10th or 10%). The law said that the
people must give a 10th of the harvest of oil, grain and wine to God. This 10th
part was called a ‘tithe’.
tower ~ a tall, strong building.
trumpet ~ an instrument to make music or to sound an
vineyard ~ a place where fruit bushes grow. People use the
fruit to make wine.
weapon ~ a tool of war that a soldier uses in attack or
worship ~ to praise God and to give thanks to him; to show
honour to God and to say that we love him very much. But some people worship
false gods instead of the real God.
Bibles ~ AV, NIV, RSV & TEV
Stan K. Evers ~ ‘Doing a great work’ ~ Evangelical Press ~ Welwyn
Derek Kidner ~ ‘Ezra and Nehemiah’ ~ IVP Tyndale Old Testament
Raymond Brown ~ ‘The Message of Nehemiah’ ~ IVP The Bible Speaks
Dave Cave ~ ‘Ezra and Nehemiah’ ~ Crossway Bible Guides
Warren W. Wiersbe ~ ‘Be Determined’ ~ Victor
© 2006, Wycliffe Associates (UK)
This publication is written in EasyEnglish Level B (2800 words).
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