BAR 31:04, Jul/Aug 2005
Nehemiah Rebuilds the Walls of Jerusalem
Excerpts from Nehemiah 111
1:1. In the month of Chislev, in the twentieth year, while I was in Susa the capital, 2. one of my brothers, Hanani, came with certain men from Judah; and I asked them about the Jews that survived, those who had escaped the captivity, and about Jerusalem. 3. They replied, The survivors there in the province who escaped captivity are in great trouble and shame; the wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been destroyed by fire. 4. When I heard these words I sat down and wept, and mourned for days, fasting and praying before the God of heaven ...
2:1. In the month of Nisan, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, ... 5. I said to the king, If it pleases the king, and if your servant has found favor with you, I ask that you send me to Judah, to the city of my ancestors graves, so that I may rebuild it. 6. The king said to me (the queen also was sitting beside him), How long will you be gone, and when will you return? So it pleased the king to send me, and I set him a date ... 11. So I came to Jerusalem ... 13. and I inspected the wall of Jerusalem that had been broken down and its gates that had been destroyed by fire ... 17. then I said to [those that were there to do the work], You see the trouble we are in, how Jerusalem lies in ruins with its gates burned? Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, so that we may no longer suffer disgrace. 18. I told them that the hand of my God had been gracious upon me, and also the words that the king had spoken to me. Then they said, Let us start building! So they committed themselves to the common good.