Nehemiah Chapter 2
"The Desolations of Jerusalem."
Bible Study is written by Roger Christopherson, and it's
Nehemiah 2:1 "And it came to pass in the month Nissan, in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes the king, that wine was before him: and I took up the wine, and gave it unto the king. Now I had not been before time sad in his presence."
A good man is always happy and content in what ever his situation. Nehemiah was close to God, and the Heavenly Father was an important part of Nehemiah's life. This is happening after the captivity was coming to an end, and the captivity was the only life that Nehemiah knew. Nehemiah knew why God had caused his people to go into captivity, and he knew that God forewarned them through the law that He gave to Moses [Leviticus 26:40-45]. They had sinned the sin, and now the time of captivity was over.
Now that the time of the captivity was over, Nehemiah knew that something had to be done about Jerusalem, and the rebuilding of Jerusalem.
Nehemiah 2:2 "Wherefore the king said unto me, "Why is thy countenance sad, seeing thou art not sick? this is nothing else but sorrow for heart." Then I was very sore afraid,"
The king was close to Nehemiah, who was the Kings cupbearer, and he could not understand why Nehemiah was so sad, when he wasn't sick. The king knew that Nehemiah was heart broken, as it was very plain to see. When your the cup bearer of the king, it isn't healthy to be in such a frame of mind for the king relies on you for his protection and good health. Nehemiah had a reason to be afraid.
Nehemiah 2:3 "And said unto the king, "Let the king live for ever: why should not my countenance be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers sepulchres, lieth waste, and the gates thereof are consumed with fire?"
Nehemiah now knows that this is the time to put it all before the king. Nehemiah tells the king that "my home is laid to waste, his father's burial place is shambles, and the entire city lies in ruin.
Nehemiah 2:4 "Then the king said unto me, "For what dost thou make request?"
The king is touched by this all, and now asks Nehemiah what he wants of the king. This request that Nehemiah gives is serious, for it could cause Nehemiah to fall from the grace of the king. Nehemiah was close to the king, as we will see later, this could cause a rift to come between the king and Nehemiah. So what did Nehemiah do? As we saw in the first chapter, He prayed to the Father in Heaven, who can change the mind of the king.
Nehemiah 2:5 "And I said unto the king, "If it please the king, and if thy servant have found favour in thy sight, that thou wouldest send me unto Judah, unto the city of my fathers sepulchres, that I may build it."
This is a good approach, "If it please the king", and it is obvious that he had. The word "Judah" should be "Judea", as it is the geographic location, and not the people of Judah. This documented that Nehemiah is of the tribe of Judah. In this approach that Nehemiah used to approach the king has the key to our heavenly Fathers heart. In prayer, Nehemiah did it all just perfect, because Nehemiah was honest in it. This king knew Nehemiah, his character, and his expressions, and when Nehemiah dealt with the king it was in honesty.
God also knows the very thought and intent of our heart, and you simply cannot fool Him, and this is why honesty is important when we come before our Heavenly Father.
Nehemiah 2:6 "And the king said unto me, (the queen also sitting by him,) "For how long shall thy journey be? and when wilt thou return?" So it pleased the king to send me; and I set him a time."
God answered Nehemiah's prayer. Nehemiah could not help himself in showing his depression over the state of affairs when Jerusalem lie in ruins, and when the king saw his depression and asked him about it, Nehemiah was honest with him. The word "queen" in the Hebrew text is is "Ha-shegal" which is borrowed from the Akkadian word for bride [sha]. In particular, it applies to a "foreign queen", and from the book of Esther, we know that foreign queen to be Esther.
Some critics say that Esther is introduced here (parenthetically) because of her sympathy and interest, which Nehemiah so greatly needed at this juncture. This is just as Mordecai had needed it in a time past, as recorded in Esther 4:14.
The point to remember here, is that this is a time of day, and the location is the privacy of the king's sitting room, where only the king, his wife and Nehemiah are present. Nehemiah is there because of the trust that the king had in Nehemiah. Nehemiah was respected to the point that the king would let him in to his own bedroom. This is the reason for the statement, "the queen also sitting by." So you see the nearness that Nehemiah had in the heart of the king is the same key as we should have to God, Honesty.
Nehemiah 2:7 "Moreover I said unto the king, "If it please the king, let letters be given unto me to the governors beyond the river, that they may convey me over till I come into Judah;"
Nehemiah 2:8 "And a letter unto Asaph the keeper of the king's forest, that he may give me timber to make beams for the gates of the palace which appertained to the house that I shall enter into." And the king granted me, according to the good hand of my God upon me."
Did you notice how Nehemiah gives credit to God for even the goodness of the king. This is because a person that really loves our heavenly Father, gives God the credit for all good that happens to and for him. When you please the Father, God can even change the minds of those who would be a hindrance to you.
The king gave Nehemiah everything that he had requested.
Nehemiah 2:9 "Then I came to the governors beyond the river, and gave them the king's letters. Now the king had sent captains of the army and horsemen with me."
Nehemiah has made his trip and is now beyond the river Euphrates, and he presents his letters from the king to each governor as he passes their territory, on his way to Jerusalem. Not only did the king give him the letters, but he provided an armed guard for Nehemiah's protection.
Nehemiah is the first to make this trip to Jerusalem, and is the ground breaker for rebuilding Jerusalem. Ezra has not made his first trip to Jerusalem when Nehemiah is making this trip to survey the situation.
Nehemiah 2:10 "When Sanballat the Horonite, and Tobiah the servant , the Ammonite, heard of it, it grieved them exceedingly that there was come a man to seek the welfare of the children of Israel."
The Ammonites were the children of Lot, and they had treated the children of Israel badly. Though they are kin to the Israelites, they are not friendly to them. Much of this strife came from the fact that God forbid that the Moabite men should ever mix with the Israelites.
Though Ruth was a Moabite, and she married an Israelite and became the grandparent of David, this order did not pertain to the Moabite women.
Nehemiah 2:11 "So I came to Jerusalem, and was there three days."
Nehemiah was there three days resting from his long trip.
Nehemiah 2:12 "And I arose in the night, I and some few men with me; neither told I any man what my God had put in my heart to do at Jerusalem: neither was there any beast with me, save the beast that I rode upon."
Though this is written and thought of as history, think of it also as prophecy for the end times. This place, Jerusalem is God holy special place.
Though Nehemiah arose in the night to do what he had to do, we are also in the night, for we are in the time of Satan and his system, which virtually controls this one world system which God has allowed him to do. Nehemiah is both riding and controlling the beast at Jerusalem. As we are getting deeper into the new world system [the beast] in these latter days, we had better also learn to ride and control the beast as far as our personal lives are concerned.
That beast is a matter of deception by Satan, the Antichrist, and when we ride the beast we are learning and understanding what Satan and his Kenites will do in their system, so that we will not be deceived. When we know what to expect, we can live our lives, and even prosper, and still have control over the beast.
Nehemiah 2:13 "And I went out by night by the gate of the valley, even before the dragon well, and to the dung port, and viewed the walls of Jerusalem, which were broken down, and the gates thereof were consumed with fire."
We know this could not have taken place during or after Ezra or Zerubbabel's journey, for this is all done in secret, and with Ezra's forty two thousand with him, there would be no secrecy.
When Nehemiah and his few men moved in the night from the valley gate towards the dung gate, and somewhere between there is the dragon well. There is lot of disagreement between the scholars as the the exact location of the dragon well. However before you get to the dragon well, we find the valley of Gihon. Somewhere in the valley of Gihon is the dragon's well. As Nehemiah passed each of these gates, he notices each of the gates that they were not only broken down, but charred by fire.
Nehemiah 2:14 "Then I went on to the gate of the fountain, and to the king's pool: but there was no place for the beast that was under me to pass."
Nehemiah continued on around the city wall, and came to the fountain gate, which was near the king's pool. The king's pool is the place of the "fount of the virgin", which is the symbol of Christ. Now get the prophetic symbolism of this verse. The beast of the end times will not pass Christ, nor will it have any control over any part of Christ's elect. However it will be Christ that will destroy the beast, in a futuristic sense.
Just as the house of Judah will come back to Jerusalem after the captivity, or punishment, so also after the testing of this earth age, in the Millennium age all Israel will return to Jerusalem.
So Nehemiah is continuing his survey of the Jerusalem wall and the gate.
Nehemiah 2:15 "Then went I up in the night by the brook, and viewed the wall, and turned back, and entered by the gate of the valley, and so returned.
This brook is in the valley of Kedren and from that position he could see the condition of the wall, and that of the Temple. Nehemiah did not go to the horse gate, but from his view of these other gates, the wall and the Temple, he turned to go back.
Nehemiah 2:16 "And the rulers knew not whither I went, or what I did; neither had I as yet told it to the Jews, nor to the priests, nor to the nobles, nor to the rulers, nor to the rest that did the work."
If God gives you a special secret mission to do, you do not have to share that with anyone for it to be considered successful before the Heavenly Father. God will direct you, and through you covert actions in the work of the Lord, you can become effect, for no one, including Satan has to know about it, and they would understand it anyway. God chooses whom He will to accomplish what He desires done.
Have you ever had that feeling that there was more to God's word then what you were taught, and brought up to believe.
Nehemiah 2:17 "Then said I unto them, "Ye see the distress that we are in, how Jerusalem lieth waste, and the gates thereof are burned with fire: come, and let us build up the wall of Jerusalem, that we be no more a reproach."
Nehemiah is telling the Jews and the priests to join with him to rebuild the city of Jerusalem, and make it nice again.
Nehemiah 2:18 "Then I told them of the hand of my God which was good upon me; as also the king's words that he had spoken unto me. And they said, "Let us rise up and build." So they strengthened their hands for this good work."
God's hand on you will always be good when you are trying to serve Him, other wise it can be very stressful. When Nehemiah finished telling them how God had worked in his life, and why he came to Jerusalem, they got excited to do the work. We will see in the next chapter that many of the nobles wanted to give lip service, but they left it to the common men to do the work.
Nehemiah 2:19 "But when Sanballat the Horonite, and Tobiah the servant, the Ammonite, and Geshem the Arabian, heard it, they laughed us to scorn, and despised us, and said, "What is this thing that ye do? will ye rebel against the king?"
When the governmental leaders heard these men tell of the rebuilding job they were going to do, and looked at the rag-tag men and tools that they had, they thought it was a joke. The men's hearts were in the job, however it was inconceivable how it could ever be done. It looked sort of like a ant pulling a bale of hay. What they didn't like about the idea was that it appeared to be an act of rebellion against the king.
Nehemiah 2:20 "Then answered I them, and said unto them, "The God of heaven, He will prosper us; therefore we His servants will arise and build: but ye have no portion, nor right, nor memorial, in Jerusalem."
Nehemiah set the record straight. He let them know that it was only by the help of "the God of heaven" that they would get the job done. Then he let it be known that their help was not wanted, and what had to be done was not their business. Jerusalem was God's city, and for His people and they were not part of either God's people or His Temple [memorial].
These people simply did not believe in any God of heaven, and for Nehemiah to say this to them was like water flowing of a duck's back. The only strength that they could see were in the muscles and backbone of the men that were going to do the work.
The world of today is just as skeptical when we stand up and say, God said this, or that, when they don't believe in God anyway. When we say that God's word says what He will do in the end times, and what He will do for them if they believe; it is just so many words. For they cannot believe nor understand any of the power of God, because their minds are closed to God and His Words.
Just like the streets and walls were rebuilt, as well as the Temple, God will bring His Word to come to pass also. By reading and understanding the Bible, we can be alerted to every detail and sign of our time, and we can know where we are with respect to the coming of the Antichrist [the fifth trumpet], and finally the seventh trumpet and Christ's return.
God can build walls up, and He
can tare them down; He can build a man up and change his life for
His service, or He can bring a man down in the sinners vanity.
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