Nehemiah rebuilds walls of Jerusalem
Nehemiah rebuilt walls, gates of JerusalemNehemiah is one odd story. He’s a Jew serving wine to a Persian king in what is now Iran. Who saw that coming? The king, Artaxerxes, trusts this Jewish man with his life. How did Nehemiah get there? Likely he was the descendant of Jews taken captive to Babylon (Iraq) about 150 years earlier, when Babylon leveled Jerusalem and other cities and took the Jews captive. About 50 years later, Persia (Iran) defeated Babylon and freed the Jews and other captives to go home. But many Jews stayed because they grew up in exile. Iraq and Iran was the only homeland they knew. Yet, many returned to the land of their ancestors to rebuild Jerusalem and the other cities. Nehemiah gets word that Jerusalem’s walls are still broken down and the city gates are gone. It’s a city undefended. He can’t believe it. By this time, Jews have had about 90 years to fix those walls.
Winetaster becomes city builderSo, Nehemiah talks the king into giving him a 12-year leave of absence so he can repair the walls. It certainly seems odd that the king would grant his winetaster’s Big Ask. Yet the king also agrees to give him the wood for the job, sends him with a detachment of soldiers as an escort, and then appoints him governor over the Jewish province of Judah. That’s what the southern Jewish nation of Judah had become, a Persian province ruled by a Persian king who even chose the songs Jews could sing at the Temple (Nehemiah 11:23). Earlier, when Babylon exiled Jews from their homeland, settlers moved in. They hated the idea of Jews returning to power because it meant the Jews would try to take back the land and get rid of everyone else. Nehemiah had 12 years to fix the walls. It took him 52 days. Nehemiah rallied Jerusalem-area Jews to join the work. They felt the clock sands slipping away while their neighbors plotted to stop the work. Murdering Nehemiah seems to have been one plan on the table. Attacking the work crew was another. Jewish construction workers carried their weapons on the job in daylight, guarded the walls all night, and didn’t get much sleep during those 52 days and nights. Nehemiah spent the rest of his 12-year leave reminding the people what it meant to be Jewish. They studied the Laws of Moses that we read today as the first five books in the Bible.
JERUSALEM’S WALL BUILDERS: ROLL CREDITS
NEHEMIAH’S MOTLEY CONSTRUCTION CREWNehemiah 3 1Teams of people worked together repairing different parts of Jerusalem’s damaged wall and destroyed gates. SHEEP GATE. Elisheba the high priest worked alongside other priests to rebuild the Sheep Gate. Then they built the doors, set them in place, and dedicated the entire area to God. They did this all the way from the Tower of the Hundred to the Tower of the Hananel. 2WALL. Jericho men worked on the wall beside the gate. Zaccur son of Imri worked just beyond them. 3FISH GATE. Hassenaah’s sons built the Fish Gate. They set in the door and placed the beams, bolts, and bars. 4WALL. Meremoth worked beside them on wall repairs. He was the son of Uriah and grandson of Hakkoz. 5WALL. People from the village of Tekoa made repairs. But their noble leaders wouldn’t stoop to manual labor—even for the Lord. It was beneath them.
Jerusalem walls, gates in time of Nehemiah