Lesson 2 - Nehemiah

By james

Overall Question: How did Nehemiah get involved in rebuilding Jerusalem's walls?

Memory Text: Nehemiah 1:4-5 New Living Translation 4 When I heard this, I sat down and wept. In fact, for days I mourned, fasted, and prayed to the God of heaven. 5 Then I said, “O Lord, God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps his covenant of unfailing love with those who love him and obey his commands


Sunday – Nehemiah Receives Bad News

Nehemiah 1:1-4 New Century Version These are the words of Nehemiah son of Hacaliah. In the month of Kislev in the twentieth year, I, Nehemiah, was in the capital city of Susa. 2 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. 3 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 burned.” 4 When I heard these things, I sat down and cried for several days. I was sad and fasted. I prayed to the God of heaven.

Nehemiah 1:3 SDA BIBLE COMMENTARY Considering the shock occasioned by Hanani’s report (vs. 4–11), the events described must have been recent. The words of Hanani do not necessarily mean that the whole wall had been destroyed and all gates burned with fire… That only a partial destruction had occurred may also be inferred from the space of time—52 days—in which Nehemiah was able to complete the rebuilding of the entire city wall (ch. 6:15). In so short a time it would have been all but impossible even under the most favorable circumstances to rebuild the entire wall, including its many gates, had it been in the condition in which Nebuchadnezzar left it. The rapid reconstruction was due not only to the great enthusiasm of both leaders and people, but also to the progress undoubtedly made under Ezra and others before the Samaritans destroyed part of it.


Monday - Nehemiah’s Prayer

Nehemiah 1:5-11 Contemporary English Version 5 Lord God of heaven, you are great and fearsome. And you faithfully keep your promises to everyone who loves you and obeys your commands. 6 I am your servant, so please have mercy on me and answer the prayer that I make day and night for these people of Israel who serve you. I, my family, and the rest of your people have sinned 7 by choosing to disobey you and the laws and teachings you gave to your servant Moses. 8 Please remember the promise you made to Moses. You told him that if we were unfaithful, you would scatter us among foreign nations. 9 But you also said that no matter how far away we were, we could turn to you and start obeying your laws. Then you would bring us back to the place where you have chosen to be worshiped. 10 Our Lord, I am praying for your servants—those you rescued by your great strength and mighty power. 11 Please answer my prayer and the prayer of your other servants who gladly honor your name. When I serve the king his wine today, make him pleased with me and have him do what I ask.

Nehemiah 1:11 COMMENTARY BY ADAM CLARKE The king's butler, which gave him the opportunity of being frequently with the king; and to be in such a place of trust, he must be in the king's confidence.  No Eastern potentate would have a cup-bearer with whom he could not trust his life, poison being frequently administered in this way.


Tuesday – Nehemiah Speaks Out

Nehemiah 2:1-8 Easy-to-Read Version In the month of Nisan in the 20th year of King Artaxerxes, some wine was brought to the king. I took the wine and gave it to the king. I had never before been sad when I was with him, but now I was sad. 2 So the king asked me, “Are you sick? Why do you look sad? I think your heart is full of sadness.” Then I was very afraid. 3 But even though I was afraid, I said to the king, “May the king live forever! I am sad because the city where my ancestors are buried lies in ruins, and the gates of that city have been destroyed by fire.”  4 Then the king said to me, “What do you want me to do?” Before I answered, I prayed to the God of heaven. 5 Then I answered the king, “If it would please the king, and if I have been good to you, please send me to Jerusalem, the city in Judah where my ancestors are buried. I want to go there and rebuild that city.” 6 The king and the queen who was sitting next to him asked me, “How long will your trip take? When will you get back here?” The king was happy to send me, so I gave him a certain time. 7 I also said to the king, “If it would please the king to do something else for me, let me ask. Please give me some letters to show the governors of the area west of the Euphrates River. I need these letters so that the governors will give me permission to pass safely through their lands on my way to Judah. 8 I also need lumber for the heavy wooden beams for the gates, the walls, the walls around the Temple, and my house. So I need a letter from you to Asaph, who is in charge of your forests.”  The king gave me the letters and everything I asked for. The king did that because my God was kind to me.

Nehemiah 2:2 SDA BIBLE COMMENTARY Notwithstanding the king’s kind and compassionate words, Nehemiah sensed danger. He appeared sad in the king’s presence, and was, furthermore, about to ask permission to leave the court. Both were contrary to the fundamental assumption of Persian court life, that to bask in the light of the royal countenance was the height of happiness. Would the king be displeased, refuse the request, dismiss him from his post, and cast him into prison; or would he pardon the apparent rudeness and grant the request?

Nehemiah 2:5 COMMENTARY BY ADAM CLARKE The tombs of the dead were sacred among the ancients, and nothing could appear to them more detestable than disturbing the ashes or remains of the dead.  Nehemiah knew that in mentioning this circumstance he should strongly interest the feelings of the Persian king.

Nehemiah 2:6 COMMENTARY BY JAMIESON, FAUSSET, AND BROWN his petition was granted, to go as deputy governor of Judea, accompanied by a military guard, and invested with full powers to obtain materials for the building in Jerusalem, as well as to get all requisite aid in promoting his enterprise.


Wednesday – Nehemiah Sent

Nehemiah 2:9-10 Common English Bible 9 So I went to the governors of the province Beyond the River and gave them the king’s letters. The king had sent officers of the army and cavalry with me. 10 When Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite official heard this, they were very angry that someone had come to seek the welfare of the people of Israel.

Nehemiah 2:10 COMMENTARY FAMILY BIBLE NOTES The wicked are often grieved when the cause of God prospers and they cannot prevent it.


Thursday – Nehemiah Prepares for His Task

Nehemiah 2:11-20 Good News Translation 1 I went on to Jerusalem, and for three days 12 I did not tell anyone what God had inspired me to do for Jerusalem. Then in the middle of the night I got up and went out, taking a few of my companions with me. The only animal we took was the donkey that I rode on. 13 It was still night as I left the city through the Valley Gate on the west and went south past Dragon's Fountain to the Rubbish Gate. As I went, I inspected the broken walls of the city and the gates that had been destroyed by fire. 14 Then on the east side of the city I went north to the Fountain Gate and the King's Pool. The donkey I was riding could not find any path through the rubble, 15 so I went down into Kidron Valley and rode along, looking at the wall. Then I returned the way I had come and went back into the city through the Valley Gate. 16 None of the local officials knew where I had gone or what I had been doing. So far I had not said anything to any of the other Jews—the priests, the leaders, the officials, or anyone else who would be taking part in the work. 17 But now I said to them, “See what trouble we are in because Jerusalem is in ruins and its gates are destroyed! Let's rebuild the city walls and put an end to our disgrace.” 18 And I told them how God had been with me and helped me, and what the emperor had said to me. They responded, “Let's start rebuilding!” And they got ready to start the work. 19 When Sanballat, Tobiah, and an Arab named Geshem heard what we were planning to do, they laughed at us and said, “What do you think you're doing? Are you going to rebel against the emperor?” 20 I answered, “The God of Heaven will give us success. We are his servants, and we are going to start building. But you have no right to any property in Jerusalem, and you have no share in its traditions.”

Nehemiah 2:16-18 COMMENTARY BY JAMIESON, FAUSSET, AND BROWN The following day, having assembled the elders, Nehemiah produced his commission and exhorted them to assist in the work. The sight of his credentials, and the animating strain of his address and example, so revived their drooping spirits that they resolved immediately to commence the building, which they did, despite the bitter taunts and scoffing ridicule of some influential men.

Nehemiah 2:19-20 New Life Version 19 But when Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah the Ammonite servant, and Geshem the Arab heard about it, they made fun of us and hated us. They said, “What is this thing you are doing? Are you turning against the king?” 20 I answered them, “The God of heaven will make it go well for us. So we His servants will get up and build. But you have no share or right or anything to be remembered in Jerusalem.”

Nehemiah 2:20 SDA BIBLE COMMENTARY Even as the Samaritans’ claim of the right to interfere in Jewish affairs was rejected when they came proffering their aid (Ezra 4:2, 3), so now when their meddling became hostile in character it was even more fiercely and indignantly rejected. They were told that what happened in Jerusalem was none of their business, and that they had not even so much as a place in the memory of the inhabitants. Nehemiah made it plain that he expected no interference from them, and that they should attend to the affairs of their own communities and not trouble the worshipers of the true God.

Deuteronomy 7:9 New International Reader’s Version So I want you to realize that the Lord your God is God. He is the faithful God. He keeps his covenant for all time to come. He keeps it with those who love him and obey his commandments. He shows them his love.

Deuteronomy 7:9 SDA BIBLE COMMENTARY Mercy. From chesed, a word without any exact English equivalent. It reflects the concepts of ardent love, earnest desire, selfless kindness, grace, favor, and mercy. It represents the summit of unselfishness in either God or man. The RSV renders the term by “steadfast love.”

Psalm 23:1-6 Christian Standard Bible The Lord is my shepherd; I have what I need. 2 He lets me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside quiet waters.3 He renews my life; he leads me along the right paths for his name’s sake. 4 Even when I go through the darkest valley, I fear no danger, for you are with me; your rod and your staff—they comfort me. 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 6 Only goodness and faithful love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord

as long as I live.

Numbers 23:19 English Standard Version God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?