Nehemiah 9-10

Nehemiah 9-10

Chapter 9: Jews Fast and Confess Sins

On the twenty-fourth day of this month the children of Israel were assembled with fasting, in sackcloth, and with dust on their heads. Then those of Israelite lineage separated themselves from all foreigners; and they stood and confessed their sins and the iniquities of their fathers. They stood up in their place and read from the Book of the Law of the Lord their God for a quarter of the day; and for another quarter they confessed and worshiped the Lord.

Jeshua, Bani, Kadmiel, Shebaniah, Bunni, Sherebiah, Bani, and Chenani stood on the stairs of the Levites and cried out with a loud voice to the Lord. The Levites, Jeshua, Kadmiel, Bani, Hashabniah, Sherebiah, Hodijah, Shebaniah, and Pethahiah, said:

“Stand up and bless the Lord your God for ever and ever: and blessed be thy glorious name, which is exalted above all blessing and praise. Thou, even thou, art Lord alone; thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth, and all things that are therein, the seas, and all that is therein, and thou preservest them all; and the host of heaven worshippeth thee.

Thou art the Lord the God, who didst choose Abram, and broughtest him forth out of Ur of the Chaldees, and gavest him the name of Abraham; And foundest his heart faithful before thee, and madest a covenant with him to give the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Jebusites, and the Girgashites, to give it, I say, to his seed, and hast performed thy words; for thou art righteous: And didst see the affliction of our fathers in Egypt, and heardest their cry by the Red sea; And shewedst signs and wonders upon Pharaoh, and on all his servants, and on all the people of his land: for thou knewest that they dealt proudly against them. So didst thou get thee a name, as it is this day. And thou didst divide the sea before them, so that they went through the midst of the sea on the dry land; and their persecutors thou threwest into the deeps, as a stone into the mighty waters.

                Moreover thou leddest them in the day by a cloudy pillar; and in the night by a pillar of fire, to give them light in the way wherein they should go. Thou camest down also upon Mount Sinai, and spakest with them from heaven, and gavest them right judgments, and true laws, good statutes and commandments: And madest known unto them thy holy sabbath, and commandedst them precepts, statutes, and laws, by the hand of Moses thy servant: And gavest them bread from heaven for their hunger, and broughtest forth water for them out of the rock for their thirst, and promisedst them that they should go in to possess the land which thou hadst sworn to give them.

But they and our fathers dealt proudly, and hardened their necks, and hearkened not to thy commandments;  And refused to obey, neither were mindful of thy wonders that thou didst among them; but hardened their necks, and in their rebellion appointed a captain to return to their bondage; but thou art a God ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and forsookest them not.

Yea, when they had made them a molten calf, and said, This is thy God that brought thee up out of Egypt, and had wrought great provocations; Yet thou in thy manifold mercies forsookest them not in the wilderness: the pillar of the cloud departed not from them by day, to lead them in the way; neither the pillar of fire by night, to shew them light, and the way wherein they should go. Thou gavest also thy good spirit to instruct them, and with eldest not thy manna from their mouth, and gavest them water for their thirst.

Yea, forty years didst thou sustain them in the wilderness, so that they lacked nothing; their clothes waxed not old, and their feet swelled not. Moreover thou gavest them kingdoms and nations, and didst divide them into corners: so they possessed the land of Sihon, and the land of the king of Heshbon, and the land of Og king of Bashan.

Their children also multipliedst thou as the stars of heaven, and broughtest them into the land, concerning which thou hadst promised to their fathers, that they should go in to possess it. So the children went in and possessed the land, and thou subduedst before them the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites, and gavest them into their hands, with their kings, and the people of the land, that they might do with them as they would.  And they took strong cities, and a fat land, and possessed houses full of all goods, wells digged, vineyards, and oliveyards, and fruit trees in abundance: so they did eat, and were filled, and became fat, and delighted themselves in thy great goodness.” (Nehemiah 9:5-25)

Anytime a nation forsakes the Lord and his prophets, being disobedient to the Laws of God… Nothing GOOD will ever come from it!

“Nevertheless they were disobedient, and rebelled against thee, and cast thy law behind their backs, and slew thy prophets which testified against them to turn them to thee, and they wrought great provocations. Therefore thou deliveredst them into the hand of their enemies, who vexed them: and in the time of their trouble, when they cried unto thee, thou heardest them from heaven; and according to thy manifold mercies thou gavest them saviours, who saved them out of the hand of their enemies.

But after they had rest, they did evil again before thee: therefore leftest thou them in the hand of their enemies, so that they had the dominion over them: yet when they returned, and cried unto thee, thou heardest them from heaven; and many times didst thou deliver them according to thy mercies; And testifiedst against them, that thou mightest bring them again unto thy law: yet they dealt proudly, and hearkened not unto thy commandments, but sinned against thy judgments, (which if a man do, he shall live in them;) and withdrew the shoulder, and hardened their neck, and would not hear.

Yet many years didst thou forbear them, and testifiedst against them by thy spirit in thy prophets: yet would they not give ear: therefore gavest thou them into the hand of the people of the lands. Nevertheless for thy great mercies’ sake thou didst not utterly consume them, nor forsake them; for thou art a gracious and merciful God.” (Nehemiah 9:26-31)

Even after people have sinned and gone against the words of the Lord and his prophets, if they turn to the Lord again, they can always have a chance for redemption. The prayer continues…

“Now therefore, our God, the great, the mighty, and the terrible God, who keepest covenant and mercy, let not all the trouble seem little before thee, that hath come upon us, on our kings, on our princes, and on our priests, and on our prophets, and on our fathers, and on all thy people, since the time of the kings of Assyria unto this day. Howbeit thou art just in all that is brought upon us; for thou hast done right, but we have done wickedly. Neither have our kings, our princes, our priests, nor our fathers, kept thy law, nor hearkened unto thy commandments and thy testimonies, wherewith thou didst testify against them. For they have not served thee in their kingdom, and in thy great goodness that thou gavest them, and in the large and fat land which thou gavest before them, neither turned they from their wicked works.

Behold, we are servants this day, and for the land that thou gavest unto our fathers to eat the fruit thereof and the good thereof, behold, we are servants in it: And it yieldeth much increase unto the kings whom thou hast set over us because of our sins: also they have dominion over our bodies, and over our cattle, at their pleasure, and we are in great distress. And because of all this we make a sure covenant, and write it; and our princes, Levites, and priests, seal unto it.” (Nehemiah 9:32-38)

This chapter is for the most part a prayer to God, where the Jews confess their sins and he Levites bless and praise the Lord.

Chapter 10: Sabbath Day and Tithes

Those who placed their seal on the document were: Nehemiah the governor, the son of Hacaliah, and Zedekiah, Seraiah, Azariah, Jeremiah, Pashhur, Amariah, Malchijah, Hattush, Shebaniah, Malluch, Harim, Meremoth, Obadiah, Daniel, Ginnethon, Baruch, Meshullam, Abijah, Mijamin, Maaziah, Bilgai, and Shemaiah. These were the priests.

The Levites: Jeshua the son of Azaniah, Binnui of the sons of Henadad, and Kadmiel. Their brethren: Shebaniah, Hodijah, Kelita, Pelaiah, Hanan, Micha, Rehob, Hashabiah, Zaccur, Sherebiah, Shebaniah, Hodijah, Bani, and Beninu.

The leaders of the people: Parosh, Pahath-Moab, Elam, Zattu, Bani, Bunni, Azgad, Bebai, Adonijah, Bigvai, Adin, Ater, Hezekiah, Azzur, Hodijah, Hashum, Bezai, Hariph, Anathoth, Nebai, Magpiash, Meshullam, Hezir, Meshezabel, Zadok, Jaddua, Pelatiah, Hanan, Anaiah, Hoshea, Hananiah, Hasshub, Hallohesh, Pilha, Shobek, Rehum, Hashabnah, Maaseiah, Ahijah, Hanan, Anan, Malluch, Harim, and Baanah.

The rest of the people; the priests, the Levites, the gatekeepers, the singers, the Nethinim, and all those who had separated themselves from the peoples of the lands to the Law of God, their wives, their sons, and their daughters, everyone who had knowledge and understanding; these joined with their brethren, their nobles, and entered into a curse and an oath to walk in God’s Law, which was given by Moses the servant of God, and to observe and do all the commandments of the Lord, and His ordinances and His statutes:

Those statutes, made by the above named individuals were as follows;

  • We would not give our daughters as wives to the peoples of the land, nor take their daughters for our sons;
  • If the peoples of the land brought wares or any grain to sell on the Sabbath day, we would not buy it from them on the Sabbath, or on a holy day; and we would forego the seventh year’s produce and the exacting of every debt. (Nehemiah 10:31)
  • Also we made ordinances for ourselves, to exact from ourselves yearly one-third of a shekel for the service of the house of our God: for the showbread, for the regular grain offering, for the regular burnt offering of the Sabbaths, the New Moons, and the set feasts; for the holy things, for the sin offerings to make atonement for Israel, and all the work of the house of our God.

They cast lots among the priests, the Levites, and the people, for bringing the wood offering into the house of our God, according to our fathers’ houses, at the appointed times year by year, to burn on the altar of the Lord. They made ordinances to bring the firstfruits of their ground and the firstfruits of all fruit of all trees, year by year, to the house of the Lord; to bring the firstborn of their sons and their cattle, as it is written in the Law, and the firstborn of their herds and their flocks, to the house of God, to the priests who minister in the house of our God; to bring the firstfruits of their dough, their offerings, the fruit from all kinds of trees, the new wine and oil, to the priests, to the storerooms of the house of our God; and to bring the tithes of their land to the Levites, for the Levites should receive the tithes in all the farming communities. And the priest, the descendant of Aaron, shall be with the Levites when the Levites receive tithes; and the Levites shall bring up a tenth of the tithes to the house of God, to the rooms of the storehouse. For the children of Israel and the children of Levi shall bring the offering of the grain, of the new wine and the oil, to the storerooms where the articles of the sanctuary are, where the priests who minister and the gatekeepers and the singers are; and we will not neglect the house of our God.

In this chapter we learn a lot about the importance of tithing and keeping the Sabbath day holy, see Nehemiah 10:31 and 38.

2 Samuel 23-24

2 Samuel 23-24

Chapter 23: Rulers must be Just

                David speaks (some of) his last words;

                “…He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God.” (2 Samuel 23:3). This is something really important, especially in today’s political scene. Rulers must always fear God, if they do this they will be successful! If not, they will be responsible for their actions.

                The rest of the chapter speaks of how David was not a great ruler, but God will bless them for their everlasting covenant. He also mentions the names of his mighty men and their deeds.

Chapter 24: David Sins; the Lord Sends Pestilence            

                David decides to number Israel and Judah, which combines 1, 300,000 troops! This angers the Lord and he sends a famine that kills 70,000 men! David tells Gad; “…let us fall now into the hand of the Lord; for his mercies are great: and let me not fall into the hand of man” (2 Samuel 24:14). We learn hear of the importance of being in the hands of God. Sometimes it is not popular to be with God, but whose hands would you rather be in? I think I would rather be in the hands of God and NOT MAN!

                David sees an Angel of the Lord, with whom he had sent. The Angel prepares to deliver more destruction, but David pleads with God and God decides to stop the destruction… because David repented of what he had done.

Leviticus 19-20

Leviticus 19-20

Chapter 19: Commandments/ Laws of God

  • Be holy as God is holy. (Leviticus 19:2)
  • Keep the Sabbath day holy. (Leviticus 19:3)
  • Do not worship idols or other gods. (Leviticus 19:4)
  • When you make a sacrifice of peace offerings, it must be done under your own will. The meat from the offering must be eaten within two days or it is abominable before the Lord. (Leviticus 19:5-7)
    • What we can learn here, is that sacrifices in the days of Moses meant sacrificing animals for Atonement of your sins. Today, after Jesus Christ took upon him our sins through Atonement we must confess our sins and do what we can to make a restitution of our sins. But if we do not do it with the right hear then it truly is abominable before the Lord.
  • When you collect your harvest of grapes or any other harvest, you must collect most of them, but still leaving behind some that are not picked for the poor and the strangers passing through the land. (Leviticus 19:8-10)
    • What we can learn here, is that since the days of Moses the Lord has put in some sort of Welfare program to help those in need.
  • Do not steal. (Leviticus 19:11)
  • Do not lie. (Leviticus 19:11)
  • Do not swear by the name of God falsely. (Leviticus 19:12)
  • Do not defraud your neighbor. (Leviticus 19:13)
  • Do not curse the deaf. (Leviticus 19:14)
  • Do not put a stumbling block before the blind. (Leviticus 19:14)
  • Do not judge someone who is poor by disrespecting him. Do not honor someone just because they are rich or mighty. But with righteous judgment will you judge people. (Leviticus 19:15)
    • It is not our place to judge, especially if we do not know someone. We might learn that someone who is poor, is a good person that fell into hard times and find that someone who is actually a respected individual has a closet full of dark secrets.
  • Do not gossip. (Leviticus 19:16)
  • Do not avenge nor bear any grudge against someone. (Leviticus 19:18)
  • Do not eat anything with blood. (Leviticus 19:26)
  • Do not cut or print on your skin. (Leviticus 19:28)
    • Piercings and Tattoos. Think of it this way, your body is a temple, right? So therefore we should not modify it or put things on it that were not intended.
  • Do not prostitute out your daughter, that she may become a whore. (Leviticus 19:29)

Chapter 20: Sexual Sins

The first 9 verses of Chapter 20 talk about not sacrificing children of the congregation of Israel to a superstitious man named Molech. The Lord is warning Israel once again about the dangers of worshiping false gods. The remainder of the chapter talks about Sexual Sins.

  • If a man commit adultery he and the woman shall be put to death.
  • If a man or woman commit incest in any form, those participating shall be put to death.
  • If a man lie with another man; homosexuality in general both men shall be put to death.
  • If a man or woman lie with an animal; bestiality in general then both the man and the beast shall be put to death.