My friends, Holy Week set me back a bit and I’ve not been able to post as much but I am keeping up with my Nehemiah posts! We are now on Chapter 7 and it can be a hard one to read but here we go!
Nehemiah Chapter 7
1-4 The wall is now built and it’s time to protect it and set up shop, so to speak. The gatekeepers, singers, and Levites have all been appointed.
Nehemiah gives instruction for protecting the city from those who wish to destroy it again. Keep the gates closed and barred until the sun is hot. Appoint extra guards.
Again, they are worried about the outsiders, the foreigners mixing in with them. They see the world as Us vs Them. They set themselves apart not wanting to let in others. (My first thoughts but I was reminded in the comments of my second thoughts below*)
*Of course, they needed to protect those who were inside, especially since there were so few of them and no houses had yet been built inside the city. Thanks, Anonymous, for the reminder!
“Lists of the Returned Exiles”
5-6 Now it’s time to bring the people back home to Jerusalem, to celebrate their homecoming.
7-62 Here we have a list of those who came and their genealogy – their connection to their faith. This history is so very important to them and they believe it is their only way in.
63-65 There was one family who presented themselves as priests. They were descendants of a priest who married into another family, a very wealthy family, and the priest took that family name and in doing so, gave up his priesthood and that of future generations. They were still welcomed in but not as priests.
They have returned to celebrate
66-73 Now they all gathered together in a great celebration – remembering their history. They came together as one family, one community of God.
I love this theme of togetherness, one family, community.
I feel that this is the very reason Jesus came – to gather us all together and make us one family in him – in love.
Maybe it’s because we’ve been in Lent and are now in Easter that I just keep seeing this thread of community, of connectedness.
We are all one. Connected to each other by our creator in whose image or likeness each and every one of us was created. We are ALL sisters and brothers. One big family. If only we could learn to live happily together. But even in families, there is often discord so I guess it is also with the family of God, but oh, I wish we could find a way to live in harmony.
Time to share
This chapter wasn’t easy to read with all the lists of names. Did you make it through? Any thoughts on this chapter? I’d love to hear from you! Let’s learn together!
I did not look at it as trying to keep the outsiders out, I saw it as keeping the enemy out. At that time there were many people that wanted to harm them. The wall was meant as a form of protection and the people within guarded it to protect their families. The gate had a purpose when the doors were opened, all were welcomed.
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They were protecting themselves from those who might wish them harm and destroy the temple again.
I guess what makes me feel like they were keeping outsiders out was the list of genealogy as proof of their right to be there, but of course, I shared that thought before we got there.
But I do understand that they needed to protect all the work they had done and the lives of those within especially since there were so few of them inside at the time. Thanks for reminding me!