1 Now it came to pass, when the wall was built, and I had set up the doors, and the porters and the singers and the Levites were appointed,
2 That I gave my brother Hanani, and Hananiah the ruler of the palace, charge over Jerusalem: for he was a faithful man, and feared God above many.
3 And I said unto them, Let not the gates of Jerusalem be opened until the sun be hot; and while they stand by, let them shut the doors, and bar them: and appoint watches of the inhabitants of Jerusalem, every one in his watch, and every one to be over against his house.
4 Now the city was large and great: but the people were few therein, and the houses were not builded.
5 And my God put into mine heart to gather together the nobles, and the rulers, and the people, that they might be reckoned by genealogy. And I found a register of the genealogy of them which came up at the first, and found written therein,
6 These are the children of the province, that went up out of the captivity, of those that had been carried away, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away, and came again to Jerusalem and to Judah, every one unto his city;
7 Who came with Zerubbabel, Jeshua, Nehemiah, Azariah, Raamiah, Nahamani, Mordecai, Bilshan, Mispereth, Bigvai, Nehum, Baanah. The number, I say, of the men of the people of Israel was this;
8 The children of Parosh, two thousand an hundred seventy and two.
9 The children of Shephatiah, three hundred seventy and two.
10 The children of Arah, six hundred fifty and two.
11 The children of Pahathmoab, of the children of Jeshua and Joab, two thousand and eight hundred and eighteen.
12 The children of Elam, a thousand two hundred fifty and four.
13 The children of Zattu, eight hundred forty and five.
14 The children of Zaccai, seven hundred and threescore.
15 The children of Binnui, six hundred forty and eight.
16 The children of Bebai, six hundred twenty and eight.
17 The children of Azgad, two thousand three hundred twenty and two.
18 The children of Adonikam, six hundred threescore and seven.
19 The children of Bigvai, two thousand threescore and seven.
20 The children of Adin, six hundred fifty and five.
21 The children of Ater of Hezekiah, ninety and eight.
22 The children of Hashum, three hundred twenty and eight.
23 The children of Bezai, three hundred twenty and four.
24 The children of Hariph, an hundred and twelve.
25 The children of Gibeon, ninety and five.
26 The men of Bethlehem and Netophah, an hundred fourscore and eight.
27 The men of Anathoth, an hundred twenty and eight.
28 The men of Bethazmaveth, forty and two.
29 The men of Kirjathjearim, Chephirah, and Beeroth, seven hundred forty and three.
30 The men of Ramah and Gaba, six hundred twenty and one.
31 The men of Michmas, an hundred and twenty and two.
32 The men of Bethel and Ai, an hundred twenty and three.
33 The men of the other Nebo, fifty and two.
34 The children of the other Elam, a thousand two hundred fifty and four.
35 The children of Harim, three hundred and twenty.
36 The children of Jericho, three hundred forty and five.
37 The children of Lod, Hadid, and Ono, seven hundred twenty and one.
38 The children of Senaah, three thousand nine hundred and thirty.
39 The priests: the children of Jedaiah, of the house of Jeshua, nine hundred seventy and three.
40 The children of Immer, a thousand fifty and two.
41 The children of Pashur, a thousand two hundred forty and seven.
42 The children of Harim, a thousand and seventeen.
43 The Levites: the children of Jeshua, of Kadmiel, and of the children of Hodevah, seventy and four.
44 The singers: the children of Asaph, an hundred forty and eight.
45 The porters: the children of Shallum, the children of Ater, the children of Talmon, the children of Akkub, the children of Hatita, the children of Shobai, an hundred thirty and eight.
46 The Nethinims: the children of Ziha, the children of Hashupha, the children of Tabbaoth,
47 The children of Keros, the children of Sia, the children of Padon,
48 The children of Lebana, the children of Hagaba, the children of Shalmai,
49 The children of Hanan, the children of Giddel, the children of Gahar,
50 The children of Reaiah, the children of Rezin, the children of Nekoda,
51 The children of Gazzam, the children of Uzza, the children of Phaseah,
52 The children of Besai, the children of Meunim, the children of Nephishesim,
53 The children of Bakbuk, the children of Hakupha, the children of Harhur,
54 The children of Bazlith, the children of Mehida, the children of Harsha,
55 The children of Barkos, the children of Sisera, the children of Tamah,
56 The children of Neziah, the children of Hatipha.
57 The children of Solomon’s servants: the children of Sotai, the children of Sophereth, the children of Perida,
58 The children of Jaala, the children of Darkon, the children of Giddel,
59 The children of Shephatiah, the children of Hattil, the children of Pochereth of Zebaim, the children of Amon.
60 All the Nethinims, and the children of Solomon’s servants, were three hundred ninety and two.
61 And these were they which went up also from Telmelah, Telharesha, Cherub, Addon, and Immer: but they could not shew their father’s house, nor their seed, whether they were of Israel.
62 The children of Delaiah, the children of Tobiah, the children of Nekoda, six hundred forty and two.
63 And of the priests: the children of Habaiah, the children of Koz, the children of Barzillai, which took one of the daughters of Barzillai the Gileadite to wife, and was called after their name.
64 These sought their register among those that were reckoned by genealogy, but it was not found: therefore were they, as polluted, put from the priesthood.
65 And the Tirshatha said unto them, that they should not eat of the most holy things, till there stood up a priest with Urim and Thummim.
66 The whole congregation together was forty and two thousand three hundred and threescore,
67 Beside their manservants and their maidservants, of whom there were seven thousand three hundred thirty and seven: and they had two hundred forty and five singing men and singing women.
68 Their horses, seven hundred thirty and six: their mules, two hundred forty and five:
69 Their camels, four hundred thirty and five: six thousand seven hundred and twenty asses.
70 And some of the chief of the fathers gave unto the work. The Tirshatha gave to the treasure a thousand drams of gold, fifty basons, five hundred and thirty priests’ garments.
71 And some of the chief of the fathers gave to the treasure of the work twenty thousand drams of gold, and two thousand and two hundred pound of silver.
72 And that which the rest of the people gave was twenty thousand drams of gold, and two thousand pound of silver, and threescore and seven priests’ garments.
73 So the priests, and the Levites, and the porters, and the singers, and some of the people, and the Nethinims, and all Israel, dwelt in their cities; and when the seventh month came, the children of Israel were in their cities.
1 And all the people gathered themselves together as one man into the street that was before the water gate; and they spake unto Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses, which the Lord had commanded to Israel.
2 And Ezra the priest brought the law before the congregation both of men and women, and all that could hear with understanding, upon the first day of the seventh month.
3 And he read therein before the street that was before the water gate from the morning until midday, before the men and the women, and those that could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive unto the book of the law.
4 And Ezra the scribe stood upon a pulpit of wood, which they had made for the purpose; and beside him stood Mattithiah, and Shema, and Anaiah, and Urijah, and Hilkiah, and Maaseiah, on his right hand; and on his left hand, Pedaiah, and Mishael, and Malchiah, and Hashum, and Hashbadana, Zechariah, and Meshullam.
5 And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people; (for he was above all the people;) and when he opened it, all the people stood up:
6 And Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God. And all the people answered, Amen, Amen, with lifting up their hands: and they bowed their heads, and worshipped the Lord with their faces to the ground.
7 Also Jeshua, and Bani, and Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodijah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, and the Levites, caused the people to understand the law: and the people stood in their place.
8 So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading.
9 And Nehemiah, which is the Tirshatha, and Ezra the priest the scribe, and the Levites that taught the people, said unto all the people, This day is holy unto the Lord your God; mourn not, nor weep. For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the law.
10 Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the Lord is your strength.
11 So the Levites stilled all the people, saying, Hold your peace, for the day is holy; neither be ye grieved.
12 And all the people went their way to eat, and to drink, and to send portions, and to make great mirth, because they had understood the words that were declared unto them.
13 And on the second day were gathered together the chief of the fathers of all the people, the priests, and the Levites, unto Ezra the scribe, even to understand the words of the law.
14 And they found written in the law which the Lord had commanded by Moses, that the children of Israel should dwell in booths in the feast of the seventh month:
15 And that they should publish and proclaim in all their cities, and in Jerusalem, saying, Go forth unto the mount, and fetch olive branches, and pine branches, and myrtle branches, and palm branches, and branches of thick trees, to make booths, as it is written.
16 So the people went forth, and brought them, and made themselves booths, every one upon the roof of his house, and in their courts, and in the courts of the house of God, and in the street of the water gate, and in the street of the gate of Ephraim.
17 And all the congregation of them that were come again out of the captivity made booths, and sat under the booths: for since the days of Jeshua the son of Nun unto that day had not the children of Israel done so. And there was very great gladness.
18 Also day by day, from the first day unto the last day, he read in the book of the law of God. And they kept the feast seven days; and on the eighth day was a solemn assembly, according unto the manner.
The Gift of Joy
By: Niezel Carganilla-Gaoaen
In the book of Nehemiah, we learned that Nehemiah had rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem and many Israelites had returned to their homeland following the nation’s 70 years of exile in Babylon. On the first day of the seventh month, all the people assembled as one man in the square before the Water Gate and started to listen to Ezra the priest reading the Word of the Lord from the book of the Law that had been given by God to Israel. As they listened to God’s Word being read to them, the nation realized how far they wandered away from their God and how deeply they had fallen into sin. Both men and women began to mourn and grieve deeply. The people wept while hearing the Scriptures being read to them. in Nehemiah 8:9, Ezra encouraged the people to stop grieving for their past sins. Nehemiah also stood up and comforted them, saying: “Go, eat the festival foods, drink the sweet drinks, and send portions to him who has nothing prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your refuge.” [Nehemiah 8:10 NASB]
Sometimes, we all grow weary, overwhelmed, and discontent with life. We can wander away from God just like the Israelites. We can fail to do what is right; we can revert ourselves back into our old bad habits; we can live our lives in selfish pride; and, even keep Jesus standing outside the door of our hearts. The trajectory of our circumstance can leave us feeling doubtful, confused, and longing for more help from God. Just like in Israel at the time, we must remember that today is a day to celebrate. Jesus Christ has redeemed us by His blood and has released us from the bondage of slavery and sin into freedom. As our home church Pastor preached the other day, we must keep the Word of God in our hearts each day. We must have God each day! We must listen to the Word of the Lord, for faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. [2 Corinthians 5:17]
We must confess our sins and recognize how far we may have wandered from God. We must turn away from our wrong attitudes and look directly to Jesus, for everyday is holy to the Lord our God. Just like the Israelites, we must not remain in self-condemnation but rejoice as there is no condemnation to those that dwell in Christ Jesus. The gift of joy is available to us though the Holy Spirit. He is faithful and His joy is constant, steadfast, and designed to strengthen us during all seasons. We must keep our heart open to the joy that He provides us each day. Take Nehemiah’s advice, “For the joy of the Lord is indeed our strength!”