11 August 2017 Bible Reading
The books of Ezra, Nehemiah and Esther take place in the same approximate time frame, the Babylonian captivity of the children of Israel. However, chronologically, they would be ordered with Esther first, then Nehemiah and last Ezra.
1 The words of Nehemiah the son of Hacaliah. Now in the month Chislev, in the twentieth year, as I was in Shushan the palace, 2 Hanani, one of my brothers, came, he and certain men out of Judah; and I asked them concerning the Jews who had escaped, who were left of the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem. 3 They said to me, “The remnant who are left of the captivity there in the province are in great affliction and reproach. The wall of Jerusalem also is broken down, and its gates are burned with fire.” 4 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, “I beg you, Yahweh, the God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps covenant and loving kindness with those who love him and keep his commandments: 6 Let your ear now be attentive, and your eyes open, that you may listen to the prayer of your servant, which I pray before you at this time, day and night, for the children of Israel your servants while I confess the sins of the children of Israel, which we have sinned against you. Yes, I and my father’s house have sinned. 7 We have dealt very corruptly against you, and have not kept the commandments, nor the statutes, nor the ordinances, which you commanded your servant Moses.
8 “Remember, I beg you, the word that you commanded your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you trespass, I will scatter you abroad among the peoples; 9 but if you return to me, and keep my commandments and do them, though your outcasts were in the uttermost part of the heavens, yet will I gather them from there, and will bring them to the place that I have chosen, to cause my name to dwell there.’
10 “Now these are your servants and your people, whom you have redeemed by your great power, and by your strong hand. 11 Lord, I beg you, let your ear be attentive now to the prayer of your servant, and to the prayer of your servants, who delight to fear your name; and please prosper your servant today, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man.”
Now I was cup bearer to the king.
2 In the month Nisan, in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes the king, when wine was before him, I took up the wine, and gave it to the king. Now I had not been sad before in his presence. 2 The king said to me, “Why is your face sad, since you are not sick? This is nothing else but sorrow of heart.”
Then I was very much afraid. 3 I said to the king, “Let the king live forever! Why shouldn’t my face be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers’ tombs, lies waste, and its gates have been consumed with fire?”
4 Then the king said to me, “For what do you make request?”
So I prayed to the God of heaven. 5 I said to the king, “If it pleases the king, and if your servant has found favor in your sight, that you would send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers’ tombs, that I may build it.”
6 The king said to me (the queen was also sitting by him), “For how long shall your journey be? And when will you return?”
So it pleased the king to send me; and I set him a time. 7 Moreover I said to the king, “If it pleases the king, let letters be given me to the governors beyond the River, that they may let me pass through until I come to Judah; 8 and a letter to Asaph the keeper of the king’s forest, that he may give me timber to make beams for the gates of the citadel by the temple, for the wall of the city, and for the house that I shall enter into.”
The king granted my requests, because of the good hand of my God on me. 9 Then I came to the governors beyond the River, and gave them the king’s letters. Now the king had sent with me captains of the army and horsemen. 10 When Sanballat the Horonite, and Tobiah the servant, the Ammonite, heard of it, it grieved them exceedingly, because a man had come to seek the welfare of the children of Israel. 11 So I came to Jerusalem, and was there three days. 12 I arose in the night, I and some few men with me; neither told I any man what my God put into my heart to do for Jerusalem; neither was there any animal with me, except the animal that I rode on. 13 I went out by night by the valley gate, even toward the jackal’s well, and to the dung gate, and viewed the walls of Jerusalem, which were broken down, and its gates were consumed with fire. 14 Then I went on to the spring gate and to the king’s pool: but there was no place for the animal that was under me to pass. 15 Then went I up in the night by the brook, and viewed the wall; and I turned back, and entered by the valley gate, and so returned. 16 The rulers didn’t know where 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 who did the work. 17 Then I said to them, “You see the evil case that we are in, how Jerusalem lies waste, and its gates are burned with fire. Come, let us build up the wall of Jerusalem, that we won’t be disgraced.” 18 I told them of the hand of my God which was good on me, as also of the king’s words that he had spoken to me.
They said, “Let’s rise up and build.” So they strengthened their hands for the good work.
19 But when Sanballat the Horonite, and Tobiah the servant, the Ammonite, and Geshem the Arabian, heard it, they ridiculed us, and despised us, and said, “What is this thing that you are doing? Will you rebel against the king?”
20 Then answered I them, and said to them, “The God of heaven will prosper us. Therefore we, his servants, will arise and build; but you have no portion, nor right, nor memorial, in Jerusalem.”
3 Then Eliashib the high priest rose up with his brothers the priests, and they built the sheep gate; they sanctified it, and set up its doors; even to the tower of Hammeah they sanctified it, to the tower of Hananel. 2 Next to him built the men of Jericho. Next to them built Zaccur the son of Imri. 3 The sons of Hassenaah built the fish gate. They laid its beams, and set up its doors, its bolts, and its bars. 4 Next to them, Meremoth the son of Uriah, the son of Hakkoz made repairs. Next to them, Meshullam the son of Berechiah, the son of Meshezabel made repairs. Next to them, Zadok the son of Baana made repairs. 5 Next to them, the Tekoites made repairs; but their nobles didn’t put their necks to the work of their lord. 6 Joiada the son of Paseah and Meshullam the son of Besodeiah repaired the old gate. They laid its beams, and set up its doors, and its bolts, and its bars. 7 Next to them, Melatiah the Gibeonite, and Jadon the Meronothite, the men of Gibeon, and of Mizpah, repaired the residence of the governor beyond the River. 8 Next to him, Uzziel the son of Harhaiah, goldsmiths, made repairs. Next to him, Hananiah one of the perfumers made repairs, and they fortified Jerusalem even to the wide wall. 9 Next to them, Rephaiah the son of Hur, the ruler of half the district of Jerusalem, made repairs. 10 Next to them, Jedaiah the son of Harumaph made repairs across from his house. Next to him, Hattush the son of Hashabneiah made repairs. 11 Malchijah the son of Harim, and Hasshub the son of Pahathmoab, repaired another portion, and the tower of the furnaces. 12 Next to him, Shallum the son of Hallohesh, the ruler of half the district of Jerusalem, he and his daughters, made repairs. 13 Hanun and the inhabitants of Zanoah repaired the valley gate. They built it, and set up its doors, its bolts, and its bars, and one thousand cubits of the wall to the dung gate. 14 Malchijah the son of Rechab, the ruler of the district of Beth Haccherem repaired the dung gate. He built it, and set up its doors, its bolts, and its bars.
1 Corinthians 7:1-24
7 Now concerning the things about which you wrote to me: it is good for a man not to touch a woman. 2 But, because of sexual immoralities, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband. 3 Let the husband render to his wife the affection owed her, and likewise also the wife to her husband. 4 The wife doesn’t have authority over her own body, but the husband. Likewise also the husband doesn’t have authority over his own body, but the wife. 5 Don’t deprive one another, unless it is by consent for a season, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer, and may be together again, that Satan doesn’t tempt you because of your lack of self-control.
6 But this I say by way of concession, not of commandment. 7 Yet I wish that all men were like me. However each man has his own gift from God, one of this kind, and another of that kind. 8 But I say to the unmarried and to widows, it is good for them if they remain even as I am. 9 But if they don’t have self-control, let them marry. For it’s better to marry than to burn. 10 But to the married I command—not I, but the Lord—that the wife not leave her husband 11 (but if she departs, let her remain unmarried, or else be reconciled to her husband), and that the husband not leave his wife.
12 But to the rest I—not the Lord—say, if any brother has an unbelieving wife, and she is content to live with him, let him not leave her. 13 The woman who has an unbelieving husband, and he is content to live with her, let her not leave her husband. 14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified in the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified in the husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are holy. 15 Yet if the unbeliever departs, let there be separation. The brother or the sister is not under bondage in such cases, but God has called us in peace. 16 For how do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife? 17 Only, as the Lord has distributed to each man, as God has called each, so let him walk. So I command in all the assemblies.
18 Was anyone called having been circumcised? Let him not become uncircumcised. Has anyone been called in uncircumcision? Let him not be circumcised. 19 Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God. 20 Let each man stay in that calling in which he was called. 21 Were you called being a bondservant? Don’t let that bother you, but if you get an opportunity to become free, use it. 22 For he who was called in the Lord being a bondservant is the Lord’s free man. Likewise he who was called being free is Christ’s bondservant. 23 You were bought with a price. Don’t become bondservants of men. 24 Brothers, let each man, in whatever condition he was called, stay in that condition with God.
19 Oh how great is your goodness,
which you have laid up for those who fear you,
which you have worked for those who take refuge in you,
before the sons of men!
20 In the shelter of your presence you will hide them from the plotting of man.
You will keep them secretly in a dwelling away from the strife of tongues.
21 Praise be to Yahweh,
for he has shown me his marvelous loving kindness in a strong city.
22 As for me, I said in my haste, “I am cut off from before your eyes.”
Nevertheless you heard the voice of my petitions when I cried to you.
23 Oh love Yahweh, all you his saints!
Yahweh preserves the faithful,
and fully recompenses him who behaves arrogantly.
24 Be strong, and let your heart take courage,
all you who hope in Yahweh.
4 A high look, and a proud heart,
the lamp of the wicked, is sin.