Teacher: Rusty Kennedy
Series: Ezra / Nehemiah
1 When Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem the Arab, and the rest of our enemies heard that I had rebuilt the wall and that no gap was left in it —though at that time I had not installed the doors in the gates — 2 Sanballat and Geshem sent me a message: “Come, let’s meet together in the villages of the Ono Valley.” But they were planning to harm me.
3 So I sent messengers to them, saying, “I am doing a great work and cannot come down. Why should the work cease while I leave it and go down to you?” 4 Four times they sent me the same proposal, and I gave them the same reply.
5 Sanballat sent me this same message a fifth time by his aide, who had an open letter in his hand. 6 In it was written: It is reported among the nations—and Geshem kagrees—that you and the Jews plan to rebel. This is the reason you are building the wall. According to these reports, you are to become their king 7 and have even set up the prophets in Jerusalem to proclaim on your behalf: “There is a king in Judah.” These rumors will be heard by the king. So come, let’s confer together.
8 Then I replied to him, “There is nothing to these rumors you are spreading; you are inventing them in your own mind.” 9 For they were all trying to intimidate us, saying, “They will become discouraged in the work, and it will never be finished.”
But now, my God, strengthen me.
10 I went to the house of Shemaiah son of Delaiah, son of Mehetabel, who was restricted to his house. He said:
Let us meet at the house of God
inside the temple.
Let us shut the temple doors
because they are coming to kill you.
They are coming to kill you tonight!
11 But I said, “Should a man like me run away? How can I enter the temple and live? I will not go.” 12 I realized that God had not sent him, because of the prophecy he spoke against me. Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him. 13 He was hired, so that I would be intimidated, do as he suggested, sin, and get a bad reputation, in order that they could discredit me.
14 My God, remember Tobiah and Sanballat for what they have done, and also Noadiah the prophetess and the other prophets who wanted to intimidate me.
15 The wall was completed in 52 days, on the twenty-fifth day of the month Elul. 16 When all our enemies heard this, all the surrounding nations were intimidated and lost their confidence, for they realized that this task had been accomplished by our God.
17 During those days, the nobles of Judah sent many letters to Tobiah, and Tobiah’s letters came to them. 18 For many in Judah were bound by oath to him, since he was a son-in-law of Shecaniah son of Arah, and his son Jehohanan had married the daughter of Meshullam son of Berechiah. 19 These nobles kept mentioning Tobiah’s good deeds to me, and they reported my words to him. And Tobiah sent letters to intimidate me.
1 When the wall had been rebuilt and I had the doors installed, the gatekeepers, singers, and Levites were appointed. 2 Then I put my brother Hanani in charge of Jerusalem, along with Hananiah, commander of the fortress, because he was a faithful man who feared God more than most. 3 I said to them, “Do not open the gates of Jerusalem until the sun is hot, and let the doors be shut and securely fastened while the guards are on duty. Station the citizens of Jerusalem as guards, some at their posts and some at their homes.”
4 The city was large and spacious, but there were few people in it, and no houses had been built yet. 5 Then my God put it into my mind to assemble the nobles, the officials, and the people to be registered by genealogy. I found the genealogical record of those who came back first, and I found the following written in it:
6 These are the people of the province who went up among the captive exiles deported by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. Each of them returned to Jerusalem and Judah, to his own town. 7 They came with Zerubbabel, Jeshua, Nehemiah, Azariah, Raamiah, Nahamani, Mordecai, Bilshan, Mispereth, Bigvai, Nehum, and Baanah.
The number of the Israelite men included:
8 Parosh’s descendants 2,172
9 Shephatiah’s descendants 372
10 Arah’s descendants 652
11 Pahath-moab’s descendants:
Jeshua’s and Joab’s descendants 2,818
12 Elam’s descendants 1,254
13 Zattu’s descendants 845
14 Zaccai’s descendants 760
15 Binnui’s descendants 648
16 Bebai’s descendants 628
17 Azgad’s descendants 2,322
18 Adonikam’s descendants 667
19 Bigvai’s descendants 2,067
20 Adin’s descendants 655
21 Ater’s descendants: of Hezekiah 98
22 Hashum’s descendants 328
23 Bezai’s descendants 324
24 Hariph’s descendants 112
25 Gibeon’s descendants 95
26 Bethlehem’s and Netophah’s men 188
27 Anathoth’s men 128
28 Beth-azmaveth’s men 42
29 Kiriath-jearim’s, Chephirah’s, and Beeroth’s men 743
30 Ramah’s and Geba’s men 621
31 Michmas’s men 122
32 Bethel’s and Ai’s men 123
33 the other Nebo’s men 52
34 the other Elam’s people 1,254
35 Harim’s people 320
36 Jericho’s people 345
37 Lod’s, Hadid’s, and Ono’s people 721
38 Senaah’s people 3,930.
39 The priests included:
Jedaiah’s descendants of the house of Jeshua 973
40 Immer’s descendants 1,052
41 Pashhur’s descendants 1,247
42 Harim’s descendants 1,017.
43 The Levites included:
Jeshua’s descendants: of Kadmiel
Hodevah’s descendants 74.
44 The singers included:
Asaph’s descendants 148.
45 The gatekeepers included:
Shallum’s descendants, Ater’s descendants,
Talmon’s descendants, Akkub’s descendants,
Hatita’s descendants, Shobai’s descendants 138.
46 The temple servants included:
Ziha’s descendants, Hasupha’s descendants,
Tabbaoth’s descendants, 47 Keros’s descendants,
Sia’s descendants, Padon’s descendants,
48 Lebanah’s descendants, Hagabah’s descendants,
Shalmai’s descendants, 49 Hanan’s descendants,
Giddel’s descendants, Gahar’s descendants,
50 Reaiah’s descendants, Rezin’s descendants,
Nekoda’s descendants, 51 Gazzam’s descendants,
Uzza’s descendants, Paseah’s descendants,
52 Besai’s descendants, Meunim’s descendants,
Nephishesim’s descendants, 53 Bakbuk’s descendants,
Hakupha’s descendants, Harhur’s descendants,
54 Bazlith’s descendants, Mehida’s descendants,
Harsha’s descendants, 55 Barkos’s descendants,
Sisera’s descendants, Temah’s descendants,
56 Neziah’s descendants, Hatipha’s descendants.
57 The descendants of Solomon’s servants included:
Sotai’s descendants, Sophereth’s descendants,
Perida’s descendants, 58 Jaala’s descendants,
Darkon’s descendants, Giddel’s descendants,
59 Shephatiah’s descendants, Hattil’s descendants,
Pochereth-hazzebaim’s descendants, Amon’s descendants.
60 All the temple servants
and the descendants of Solomon’s servants 392.
61 The following are those who came from Tel-melah, Tel-harsha, Cherub, Addon, and Immer, but were unable to prove that their families and ancestors were Israelite:
62 Delaiah’s descendants,
and Nekoda’s descendants 642
63 and from the priests: the descendants of Hobaiah, the descendants of Hakkoz, and the descendants of Barzillai—who had taken a wife from the daughters of Barzillai the Gileadite and was called by their name. 64 These searched for their entries in the genealogical records, but they could not be found, so they were disqualified from the priesthood. 65 The governor ordered them not to eat the most holy things until there was a priest who could consult the Urim and Thummim.
66 The whole combined assembly numbered 42,360
67 not including their 7,337 male and female slaves,
as well as their 245 male and female singers.
68 They had 736 horses, 245 mules,
69 435 camels, and 6,720 donkeys.
70 Some of the family leaders gave to the project. The governor gave 1,000 gold coins, 50 bowls, and 530 priestly garments to the treasury. 71 Some of the family leaders gave 20,000 gold coins and 2,200 silver minas to the treasury for the project. 72 The rest of the people gave 20,000 gold coins, 2,000 silver minas, and 67 priestly garments. 73 So the priests, Levites, gatekeepers, temple singers, some of the people, temple servants, and all Israel settled in their towns.
When the seventh month came and the Israelites had settled in their towns,
1 all the people gathered together at the square in front of the Water Gate. They asked Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses that the LORD had given Israel. 2 On the first day of the seventh month, Ezra the priest brought the law before the assembly of men, women, and all who could listen with understanding. 3 While he was facing the square in front of the Water Gate, he read out of it from daybreak until noon before the men, the women, and those who could understand. All the people listened attentively to the book of the law. 4 Ezra the scribe stood on a high wooden platform made for this purpose. Mattithiah, Shema, Anaiah, Uriah, Hilkiah, and Maaseiah stood beside him on his right; to his left were Pedaiah, Mishael, Malchijah, Hashum, Hash-baddanah, Zechariah, and Meshullam. 5 Ezra opened the book in full view of all the people, since he was elevated above everyone. As he opened it, all the people stood up. 6 Ezra praised the LORD, the great God, and with their hands uplifted all the people said, “Amen, Amen!” Then they bowed down and worshiped the LORD with their faces to the ground.
7 Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodiah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, and Pelaiah, who were Levites, pexplained the law to the people as they stood in their places. 8 They read out of the book of the law of God, translating and giving the meaning so that the people could understand what was read. 9 Nehemiah the governor, Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who were instructing the people said to all of them, “This day is holy to the LORD your God. Do not mourn or weep.” For all the people were weeping as they heard the words of the law. 10 Then he said to them, “Go and eat what is rich, drink what is sweet, and send portions to those who have nothing prepared, since today is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, because the joy of the LORD is your stronghold.” 11 And the Levites quieted all the people, saying, “Be still, since today is holy. Do not grieve.” 12 Then all the people began to eat and drink, send portions, and have a great celebration, because they had understood the words that were explained to them.
13 On the second day, the family leaders of all the people, along with the priests and Levites, assembled before Ezra the scribe to study the words of the law. 14 They found written in the law how the LORD had commanded through Moses that the Israelites should dwell in booths during the festival of the seventh month. 15 So they proclaimed and spread this news throughout their towns and in Jerusalem, saying, “Go out to the hill country and bring back branches of olive, wild olive, myrtle, palm, and other leafy trees to make booths, just as it is written.” 16 The people went out, brought back branches, and made booths for themselves on each of their rooftops, and courtyards, the court of the house of God, the square by the Water Gate, and the square by the Gate of Ephraim. 17 The whole community that had returned from exile made booths and lived in them. They had not celebrated like this from the days of Joshua son of Nun until that day. And there was tremendous joy. 18 Ezra read out of the book of the law of God every day, from the first day to the last. The Israelites celebrated the festival for seven days, and on the eighth day there was an assembly, according to the ordinance.
 Ono Valley - 25 miles NW of Jerusalem… similar to going from Fishers, IN to Lebanon or Frankfort, IN
- Jerusalem sat much higher geographically than the rest of Israel.
 - Who invents these rumors?
- Nehemiah prays again.
 - We know Nehemiah as a leader, builder and a governor… not a priest. He is a layman.
- Numbers 18:7 - But you and your sons will carry out your priestly responsibilities for everything concerning the altar and for what is inside the veil, and you will do that work. I am giving you the work of the priesthood as a gift, but an unauthorized person who comes near the sanctuary will be put to death.” 
- Septuagint: Hebrew Bible translated into Greek suggests that Nehemiah was eunich in 2:6. Doubly worse!
 - Another Nehemiah prayer!
 - Remember… they were laughing at them and saying it couldn’t ever be done by them.
- Josephus regards this relatively brief time frame as improbable; he refers to a period of two years and four months (Ant. 11.5.8).
 - When the seventh month came (6 days passed into the month of Tishri)
 - It was Super Sunday!
 - A day of nothing… rest from the celebration!
- You see what has occurred here…
- The Lord has delivered His people…
- The Lord protected His people…
- They celebrated what the Lord has obviously done!
- You have more reason to celebrate today other than a football team winning a game.
 Barry, J. D., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Mangum, D., & Whitehead, M. M. (2012). Faithlife Study Bible (Ne 6:15). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.