Nehemiah Chapter 1

How Nehemiah felt called

1 The words of Nehemiah, son of Hacaliah. In the month of Chislev, in the twentieth year of King Arta xer xes, I was in the Citadel of Susa when

2 Hanani, one of my brothers, came with some men from Judah. I asked them about the Jew ish survivors who had returned from exile and about Jerusalem.

3 They answered me, ¡°The peo ple now live there in the province, in the midst of great poverty and shame. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down and its gates burned.¡±

4 When I heard these words, I sat down, wept and mourned for days. I fasted and prayed before the God of heaven. 5 And I said,

5 ¡°O Yahweh, God of heaven, you are fear some and great. You keep your cov enant and your kindness towards those who love you and fulfill your commandments. 6 May your ears be attentive and your eyes open to listen to the prayer of your servant!

6 I am now in your presence day and night, for your servants, the children of Israel. I confess to you the sins we chil dren of Israel have committed against you: I myself and the family of my fa ther have sinned.

7 We have acted very badly. We did not fulfill your commandments, laws and instructions which you gave to your servant Moses.

8 But remember, too, what you said to Moses: If you are not faithful to me, I will scatter you among the nations.

9 But if you fulfill my commandments and put them into practice, I shall again lead you back to the place where I have chosen to dwell. I shall gather you, though you be dispersed to the ends of the world.

10 So then, Lord, do not forget that they are your servants; they are your people, whom you have saved with your great power and strong hand. 11 Listen to my pray er and to the prayer of those who only wish to honor your Name. I ask you to help me now. May I be well received by the king.¡±

11 I was then in charge of preparing the drinks of the king.


Comments Nehemiah, Chapter 1

• 1.1 Nehemiah served in the palace of King Arta xerxes as cupbearer, a high position at a time when kings were afraid of being poisoned.

He is a man whose future is assured: yet, he leaves everything to serve God.

Nehemiah¡¯s vocation comes from:

¨C His great trust in God¡¯s promises.

¨C An understanding of history which only a be liever can have: Jews need not blame anyone else for their difficult situation. Their own sins are the cause of their mis fortunes. They must not expect their national restoration to come from the kindness of more powerful countries, but from their own conversion.

Nehemiah is an example of all those who are able to recognize the voice of the Lord through events and who do not wait for a special call to get to work. There is no doubt that every Christian, trusting in God, is called to discover and achieve what God expects for the salvation of the world, just as Nehemiah did.