Today’s reading and yesterday’s reading go together. While Ezra, the priest was rebuilding the temple, Nehemiah, the governor, was leading the people to rebuild the walls around Jerusalem. The book of Nehemiah is a great read. it’s written by Nehemiah in first person and it reads very smoothly. He was a cupbearer for the king (Artaxerxes) and then was sent to help his people rebuild the walls. Nehemiah was a good leader and he helped the people work as a team to rebuild the wall. He had them each as family groups work on particular sections until it was finished. Amazingly enough, the entire wall was finished in just 52 days. This time even included the fact that part of the people were building the wall while part of the people were defending and standing guard against those who might attack them. The unity among the people during this process and the speed with which they worked are a testament that it was not in their own strength, but the Lord’s that all this was accomplished.
In yesterday’s readings from Ezra I asked what happened to the people’s foreign wives and children when they repented of their sin of marring these people. I haven’t found the answer yet, however, Nehemiah brings this topic of intermarriage up in his writings toward the end of this book. He, like Ezra, finds the practice despicable and tells the people not to do it.