October 445 B.C. Walls and Gates Refurbished under Nehemiah, Governor of Judah
The Abrahamic descendants, children of Israel and children of God-given faith, had been taken captive by Nebuchadnezzar. Believers had returned to the land. The reconstruction of the Temple had resumed under Haggai and Zechariah, but the walls and gates were still in disrepair. Nehemiah, servant of a Medo-Persian Emperor, Artaxerxes (c. A.D. 465-424), heard that things were in disarray in Jerusalem. He was grieved and prayed for answers.
His story is carried at Nehemiah 1.4-2.9.
Nehemiah 1:4-2:91599 Geneva Bible (GNV)
4 And when I heard these words, I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and I fasted and prayed before the God of heaven,
5 And said, O Lord God of heaven, the great and terrible God, that keepeth covenant and mercy for them that love him, and observe his commandments,
6 I pray thee let thine ears be attent, and thine eyes open, to hear the prayer of thy servant, which I pray before thee daily, day and night for the children of Israel thy servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel, which we have sinned against thee, both I and my father’s house have sinned:
7 We have [a]grievously sinned against thee, and have not kept the commandments, nor the statutes, nor the judgments, which thou commandedst thy servant Moses.
8 I beseech thee, remember the word that thou commandedst thy servant Moses, saying, Ye will transgress, and I will scatter you abroad among the people.
9 But if ye return unto me, and keep my commandments, and do them, though your scattering were to the uttermost part of the heaven, yet will I gather you from thence, and will bring you unto the place that I have chosen to place my Name there.
10 Now these are thy servants and thy people whom thou hast redeemed by thy great power, and by thy mighty hand.
11 O Lord, I beseech thee, let thine ear now hearken to the prayer of thy servant, and to the prayer of thy servants, who desire to [b]fear thy Name, and I pray thee, cause thy servant to prosper this day, and give him favor in the presence of [c]this man: for I was the king’s butler.
2 1 After Nehemiah had obtained letters of Artaxerxes, 11 he came to Jerusalem, 17 and built the walls.
1 Now in the month [d]Nisan in the twentieth year of king [e]Artaxerxes, the wine stood before him, and I took up the wine, and gave it unto the king. Now I was not before time sad in his presence.
2 And the king said unto me, Why is thy countenance sad, seeing thou art not sick? this is nothing, but sorrow of heart. Then was I sore afraid,
3 And I said to the King, God save the king forever: why should not my countenance be sad, when the city and house of the sepulchers of my fathers lieth waste, and the gates thereof are devoured with fire?
4 And the king said unto me, For what thing doest thou require? Then I prayed [f]to the God of heaven,
5 And said unto the king, If it please the king, and if thy servant have found favor in thy sight, I desire that thou wouldest send me to Judah unto the city of the sepulchers of my fathers, that I may build it.
6 And the King said unto me, (the Queen also sitting by him:) How long shall thy journey be? and when wilt thou come again? So it pleased the king, and he sent me, and I set him a time.
7 After I said unto the King, If it please the King, let them give me letters to the captains beyond the [g]River, that they may convey me over, till I come into Judah,
8 And letters unto Asaph the keeper of the king’s [h]park, that he may give me timber to build the gates of the palace (which appertained to the house) and for the walls of the city, and for the house that I shall enter into. And the king gave me according to [i]the good hand of my God upon me.
9 ¶ Then came I to the captains beyond the River, and gave them the king’s letters. And the king had sent captains of the army and horsemen with me.
a. Nehemiah 1:7 Hebrew, corrupted.
b. Nehemiah 1:11 That is, to worship thee.
c. Nehemiah 1:11 To wit, the king Artaxerxes.
d. Nehemiah 2:1 Which was the first month of the year, and containeth part of March and part of April.
f. Nehemiah 2:4 I desired God in mine heart to prosper mine enterprise.
g. Nehemiah 2:7 Or, Euphrates.
h. Nehemiah 2:8 Or, Paradise.
i. Nehemiah 2:8 As God moved me to ask, and as he gave me good success therein.
Upon arrival in Jerusalem, he sought everyone’s help. But local governors were not amused. Sanballat, Tobiah and Gesham, regional rulers, sought to obstruct the rebuilding effort. They threw up various efforts at opposition. It’s expected from reprobates and pagan idolaters. We ought expect the same.
Madness was one claim by one reprobatish ruler.
1599 Geneva Bible (GNV)
2 And said before his [a]brethren and the army of Samaria, thus he said, What do these [b]weak Jews? will they fortify themselves? will they sacrifice? will they finish it in a day? will they make the stones whole again out of the heaps of dust, seeing they are burnt?
a. Nehemiah 4:2 Of his companions that dwelt in Samaria.
b. Nehemiah 4:2 Thus the wicked that consider not that God’s power is ever in a readiness for the defense of his, mock them as though they were weak and feeble.
Tobiah offered his own reprobatish taunts.
Nehemiah 4:31599 Geneva Bible (GNV)
3 And Tobiah the Ammonite was beside him, and said, Although they build, yet if a fox go up, he shall even break down their stony wall.
Nehemiah gave his response to all three.
1599 Geneva Bible (GNV)
4 [a]Hear, O our God (for we are despised) and turn their shame upon their own head, and give them unto a prey [b]in the land of their captivity,
a. Nehemiah 4:4 This is the remedy that the children of God have against the derision and threatenings of their enemies, to flee to God by prayer.
b. Nehemiah 4:4 Let them be spoiled and led away captive.
In defiance of the reprobates and pagans, the covenant children proceed in faith, rebuilt the walls and rehung the gates in 52 days on 2 October 445 B.C.
There, there Sanballat, Tobiah, Gesham and all reprobates.
The enemies were humiliated and frightened by the rising Church…then, like now.
Reprobates fear God in the sense of dread and hatred. They are theophobes…then, like now. They hate a rising Church.
1. Fear of humans?
2. Fear of opponents?
3. Fear of individuals?
4. What of the role of imprecatory Psalms and prayers?
5. Why did American Episcopalians go squishy on imprecatory prayers and Psalms, including the Reformed Episcopal outfit?