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Nehemiah and the Wall of Jerusalem

Submitted by on Wednesday, 28 September 2011One Comment

Nehemiah sees the rubble in Jerusalem by Tissot-sm

Today’s Readings

  • Reading I:  Nehemiah 2:1-8
  • Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 137
  • Gospel Reading: Luke 9:57-62


The Book of Nehemiah is usually read together with the Book of Ezra as one long book. Nehemiah 8–10 is considered part of the so-called “Ezra Source” (which includes Ezra 7–10), while Nehemiah 1–7 and 11–13 are from a separate source that scholars call the “Nehemiah Memoir.” The Nehemiah Memoir is written in the first person and recounts details of Nehemiah’s life, his deeds and his administration of the province, probably meant to serve as an official record of his accomplishments to be deposited in the Temple archives. The accounts are punctuated by prayers to God, such as “Remember for my good, O my God, all that I have done for this people” (Nehemiah 5:19).


More from Biblical Archaeology:Nehemiah

The Lord’s Either/Or

In view of the coming reign of God, all that constitutes a man’s security will have to go to second place. A similar passage is also found in Matthew ( Matthew 8:19-22). There, however, only two men are involved one of which is a scribe while the other is already a disciple. In Luke, the sayings are placed within the context of the journey to Jerusalem, symbol of the journey all disciples have to take. Further, the saying about the plow (v. 62) is found in Luke alone.

These sayings put into clear relief the previous call narratives. When the Lord called the fishermen, for example, it was for them to join him in a mission where no rest is guaranteed, and where family life will be set aside. The manner by which the Twelve and the Seventy are sent — without procured support — is the manner of those who proclaim the Good News of the reign of God. "No cloak, no stick, no money bag…" (cf. 10:4;9:3)

More from the Bible Journal

Nehemiah 2:1-8
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg LXX Hebrew
1And it came to pass in the month of Nisan, in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes the king: that wine was before him, and I took up the wine, and gave it to the king: and I was as one languishing away before his face.
2And the king said to me: Why is thy countenance sad, seeing thou dost not appear to be sick? this is not without cause, but some evil, I know not what, is in thy heart. And I was seized with an exceeding great fear:
3And I said to the king: O king, live for ever: why should not my countenance be sorrowful, seeing the city of the place of the sepulchres of my fathers is desolate, and the gates thereof are burnt with fire?
4Then the king said to me: For what dost thou make request? And I prayed to the God of heaven,
5And I said to the king: If it seem good to the king, and if thy servant hath found favour in thy sight, that thou wouldst send me into Judea to the city of the sepulchre of my father, and I will build it.
6And the king said to me, and the queen that sat by him: For how long shall thy journey be, and when wilt thou return? And it pleased the king, and he sent me: and I fixed him a time.
7And I said to the king: If it seem good to the king, let him give me letters to the governors of the country beyond the river, that they convey me over, till I come into Judea:
8And a letter to Asaph the keeper of the king's forest, to give me timber that I may cover the gates of the tower of the house, and the walls of the city, and the house that I shall enter into. And the king gave me according to the good hand of my God with me.
Luke 9:57-62
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg Greek
57And it came to pass, as they walked in the way, that a certain man said to him: I will follow thee withersoever thou goest.
58Jesus said to him: The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.
59But he said to another: Follow me. And he said: Lord, suffer me first to go, and to bury my father.
60And Jesus said to him: Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou, and preach the kingdom of God.
61And another said: I will follow thee, Lord; but let me first take my leave of them that are at my house.
62Jesus said to him: No man putting his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.
Nehemiah 5:19
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg LXX Hebrew
19Remember me, O my God, for good according to all that I have done for this people.
Matthew 8:19-22
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg Greek
19And a certain scribe came and said to him: Master, I will follow thee whithersoever thou shalt go.
20And Jesus saith to him: The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air nests: but the son of man hath not where to lay his head.
21And another of his disciples said to him: Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.
22But Jesus said to him: Follow me, and let the dead bury their dead.

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