7 Nov. Nehemiah 1:1-4,2:1-10

7 Nov. A fourth group of exiles returns with Nehemiah

“These are the words of Nehemiah son of Hacaliah. In the month of Kislev in the twentieth year [of Artaxerxes’ reign], I, Nehemiah, was in the capital city of Susa. One of my brothers named Hanani came with some other men from Judah. I asked them about Jerusalem and the Jewish people who lived through the captivity.”

“They answered me, ‘Those who are left from the captivity are back in Judah, but they are in much trouble and are full of shame. The wall around Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burnt.’ When I heard these things, I sat down and cried for several days. I was sad and ate nothing… I was the one who served wine to the king.”

“It was the month of Nisan in the twentieth year Artaxerxes was king. He wanted some wine, so I took some and gave it to the king. I had not been sad in his presence before. So the king said, ‘Why does your face look sad even though you are not sick? Your heart must be sad.’”

“Then I was very afraid. I said to the king, ‘May the king live for ever! My face is sad because the city where my ancestors are buried lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire.’ Then the king said to me, ‘What do you want?’”

“First I prayed to the God of heaven. Then I answered the king, ‘If you are willing and if I have pleased you, send me to the city in Judah where my ancestors are buried so I can rebuild it.’”

“The queen was sitting next to the king. He asked me, ‘How long will your trip take, and when will you get back?’ It pleased the king to send me, so I set a time.”

“I also said to him, ‘If you are willing, give me letters for the governors west of the Euphrates River. Tell them to let me pass safely through their lands on my way to Judah. And may I have a letter for Asaph, the keeper of the king’s forest, telling him to give me timber? I will need it to make boards for the gates of the palace, which is by the Temple, and for the city wall and for the house in which I will live.’”

“So the king gave me the letters, because God was showing kindness to me. Then I went to the governors west of the Euphrates River and gave them the king’s letters. The king had also sent army officers and soldiers on horses with me.”

“When Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite officer heard about this, they were upset that someone had come to help the Israelites.”

          (Nehemiah 1:1-4; 2:1-10)



Nehemiah, the Jewish cupbearer to Artaxerxes I (465-424BC) at Susa, heard from his brother that the Jewish people in Jerusalem were living under severe provocation from their neighbours.

Nehemiah prayed and sought God’s guidance about the raids that were being carried out on Jerusalem by her Samaritan and Ammonite enemies (see Nehemiah 1:5-10).

After praying further, Nehemiah persuaded the king to allow him to return to Jerusalem with an armed escort to rebuild the city.

Nehemiah was issued with letters of introduction to the governors of the Persian province of Trans-Euphrates, and carried an imperial requisition authorising a supply of timber from the king’s forests.

Nehemiah returned to Jerusalem with a fourth group of exiles in 445BC.

The photo shows the Archers' frieze from Darius I's palace at Susa (in the Louvre Museum, Paris).

You can read more about the royal palace at Susa @ https://www.thebiblejourney.org/biblejourney2/35-the-exiles-return-to-judah/esther-becomes-queen-of-persia/

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