Nehemiah 6-7 The Message Bible

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The Plots of the Adversaries

6 1  When Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem the Arab, and the rest of our enemies heard that I had rebuilt the wall and that there were no more breaks in it - even though I hadn't yet installed the gates 2  - Sanballat and Geshem sent this message: "Come and meet with us at Kephirim in the valley of Ono." 3  so I sent messengers back with this: "I'm doing a great work; I can't come down. Why should the work come to a standstill just so I can come down to see you?" 4  Four times they sent this message and four times I gave them my answer. 5  The fifth time - same messenger, same message - Sanballat sent an unsealed letter 6  with this message: 7  and that you have appointed prophets to announce in Jerusalem, 'There's a king in Judah!' The king is going to be told all this - don't you think we should sit down and have a talk?" 8  I sent him back this: "There's nothing to what you're saying. You've made it all up." 9  They were trying to intimidate us into quitting. They thought, "They'll give up; they'll never finish it." I prayed, "Give me strength."

10  Then I met secretly with Shemaiah son of Delaiah, the son of Mehetabel, at his house. He said: Let's meet at the house of God, inside The Temple; Let's find safety behind locked doors because they're coming to kill you, Yes, coming by night to kill you. 11  I said, "Why would a man like me run for cover? And why would a man like me use The Temple as a hideout? I won't do it." 12  I sensed that God hadn't sent this man. The so-called prophecy he spoke to me was the work of Tobiah and Sanballat; they had hired him. 13  He had been hired to scare me off - trick me - a layman, into desecrating The Temple and ruining my good reputation so they could accuse me. 14  "O my God, don't let Tobiah and Sanballat get by with all the mischief they've done. And the same goes for the prophetess Noadiah and the other prophets who have been trying to undermine my confidence."

15  The wall was finished on the twenty-fifth day of Elul. It had taken fifty-two days. 16  When all our enemies heard the news and all the surrounding nations saw it, our enemies totally lost their nerve. They knew that God was behind this work. 17  All during this time letters were going back and forth constantly between the nobles of Judah and Tobiah. 18  Many of the nobles had ties to him because he was son-in-law to Shecaniah son of Arah and his son Jehohanan had married the daughter of Meshullam son of Berekiah. 19  They kept telling me all the good things he did and then would report back to him anything I would say. And then Tobiah would send letters to intimidate me.

Nehemiah Appoints Rulers for Jerusalem

7 1  After the wall was rebuilt and I had installed the doors, and the security guards, the singers, and the Levites were appointed, 2  I put my brother Hanani, along with Hananiah the captain of the citadel, in charge of Jerusalem because he was an honest man and feared God more than most men. 3  I gave them this order: "Don't open the gates of Jerusalem until the sun is up. And shut and bar the gates while the guards are still on duty. Appoint the guards from the citizens of Jerusalem and assign them to posts in front of their own homes." 4  The city was large and spacious with only a few people in it and the houses not yet rebuilt.

The List of Returning Exiles

5  God put it in my heart to gather the nobles, the officials, and the people in general to be registered. I found the genealogical record of those who were in the first return from exile. This is the record I found: 6  These are the people of the province who returned from the captivity of the Exile, the ones Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon had carried off captive; they came back to Jerusalem and Judah, each going to his own town. 7  They came back in the company of Zerubbabel, Jeshua, Nehemiah, Azariah, Raamiah, Nahamani, Mordecai, Bilshan, Mispereth, Bigvai, Nehum, and Baanah. The numbers of the men of the People of Israel by families of origin: 8  Parosh, 2,172 9  Shephatiah, 372 10  Arah, 652 11  Pahath-Moab (sons of Jeshua and Joab), 2,818 12  Elam, 1,254 13  Zattu, 845 14  Zaccai, 760 15  Binnui, 648 16  Bebai, 628 17  Azgad, 2,322 18  Adonikam, 667 19  Bigvai, 2,067 20  Adin, 655 21  Ater (sons of Hezekiah), 98 22  Hashum, 328 23  Bezai, 324 24  Hariph, 112 25  Gibeon, 95. 26  Israelites identified by place of origin: Bethlehem and Netophah, 188 27  Anathoth, 128 28  Beth Azmaveth, 42 29  Kiriath Jearim, Kephirah, and Beeroth, 743 30  Ramah and Geba, 621 31  Micmash, 122 32  Bethel and Ai, 123 33  Nebo (the other one), 52 34  Elam (the other one), 1,254 35  Harim, 320 36  Jericho, 345 37  Lod, Hadid, and Ono, 721 38  Senaah, 3,930. 39  Priestly families: Jedaiah (sons of Jeshua), 973 40  Immer, 1,052 41  Pashhur, 1,247 42  Harim, 1,017. 43  Levitical families: Jeshua (sons of Kadmiel and of Hodaviah), 74. 44  Singers: Asaph's family line, 148. 45  Security guard families: Shallum, Ater, Talmon, Akkub, Hatita, and Shobai, 138. 46  Families of support staff: Ziha, Hasupha, Tabbaoth, 47  Keros, Sia, Padon, 48  Lebana, Hagaba, Shalmai, 49  Hanan, Giddel, Gahar, 50  Reaiah, Rezin, Nekoda, 51  Gazzam, Uzza, Paseah, 52  Besai, Meunim, Nephussim, 53  Bakbuk, Hakupha, Harhur, 54  Bazluth, Mehida, Harsha, 55  Barkos, Sisera, Temah, 56  Neziah, and Hatipha. 57  Families of Solomon's servants: Sotai, Sophereth, Perida, 58  Jaala, Darkon, Giddel, 59  Shephatiah, Hattil, Pokereth-Hazzebaim, and Amon. 60  The Temple support staff and Solomon's servants added up to 392. 61  These are those who came from Tel Melah, Tel Harsha, Kerub, Addon, and Immer. They weren't able to prove their ancestry, whether they were true Israelites or not: 62  The sons of Delaiah, Tobiah, and Nekoda, 642. 63  Likewise with these priestly families: -The sons of Hobaiah, Hakkoz, and Barzillai, who had married a daughter of Barzillai the Gileadite and took that name. 64  They looked high and low for their family records but couldn't find them. And so they were barred from priestly work as ritually unclean. 65  The governor ruled that they could not eat from the holy food until a priest could determine their status by using the Urim and Thummim. 66  The total count for the congregation was 42,360. 67  That did not include the male and female slaves who numbered 7,337. There were also 245 male and female singers. 68  And there were 736 horses, 245 mules, 69  435 camels, and 6,720 donkeys. 70  Some of the heads of families made voluntary offerings for the work. The governor made a gift to the treasury of 1,000 drachmas of gold (about nineteen pounds), 50 bowls, and 530 garments for the priests. 71  Some of the heads of the families made gifts to the treasury for the work; it came to 20,000 drachmas of gold and 2,200 minas of silver (about one and a third tons). 72  Gifts from the rest of the people totaled 20,000 drachmas of gold (about 375 pounds), 2,000 minas of silver, and 67 garments for the priests. 73  The priests, Levites, security guards, singers, and Temple support staff, along with some others, and the rest of the People of Israel, all found a place to live in their own towns.

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