Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Nehemiah, Day 2 Readings

Nehemiah Copes with External Threats and Internal Unrest  

Today's reading describes how Nehemiah dealt with two threats to his efforts to rebuild Jerusalem's wall -- one external and one internal.  First, he must cope with the fear of nearby nations that the wall will strengthen the military power of the Israelites.  After all, a wall allows military protection for the city.  However, these neighbors also seem to threaten a preemptive invasion, forcing Nehemiah to station a large guard outside of the city to protect the effort to rebuild the wall.

Second, Nehemiah faces potential unrest from the Israelites.  Evidently, there was a shortage of food, and families had resorted to extreme measures to eat -- not only borrowing money, but mortgaging their farms and even selling their children into virtual slavery (what will be called "indentured servitude" in British colonies of the 16th and 17th centuries).  Many Israelites had become indebted to other Israelites.  Nehemiah forced the property to be returned and slaves to be released; even more, Nehemiah set an example by not taxing the people as much as he could to provide for himself and his household.

Read Nehemiah 4:1-5:19  (NIV)   (NRSV)   (CEB)
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Reading the Bible in Its Entirety

If you are planning to read the Bible in its entirety, you should read Nehemiah 4-6 today.