Read the Bible | June 18th
Conspiracy Against Nehemiah
 Now when Sanballat and Tobiah and Geshem the Arab and the rest of our enemies heard that I had built the wall and that there was no breach left in it (although up to that time I had not set up the doors in the gates),  Sanballat and Geshem sent to me, saying, “Come and let us meet together at Hakkephirim in the plain of Ono.” But they intended to do me harm.  And I sent messengers to them, saying, “I am doing a great work and I cannot come down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and come down to you?”  And they sent to me four times in this way, and I answered them in the same manner.  In the same way Sanballat for the fifth time sent his servant to me with an open letter in his hand.  In it was written, “It is reported among the nations, and Geshem also says it, that you and the Jews intend to rebel; that is why you are building the wall. And according to these reports you wish to become their king.  And you have also set up prophets to proclaim concerning you in Jerusalem, ‘There is a king in Judah.’ And now the king will hear of these reports. So now come and let us take counsel together.”  Then I sent to him, saying, “No such things as you say have been done, for you are inventing them out of your own mind.”  For they all wanted to frighten us, thinking, “Their hands will drop from the work, and it will not be done.” But now, O God, strengthen my hands.
 Now when I went into the house of Shemaiah the son of Delaiah, son of Mehetabel, who was confined to his home, he said, “Let us meet together in the house of God, within the temple. Let us close the doors of the temple, for they are coming to kill you. They are coming to kill you by night.”  But I said, “Should such a man as I run away? And what man such as I could go into the temple and live? I will not go in.”  And I understood and saw that God had not sent him, but he had pronounced the prophecy against me because Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him.  For this purpose he was hired, that I should be afraid and act in this way and sin, and so they could give me a bad name in order to taunt me.  Remember Tobiah and Sanballat, O my God, according to these things that they did, and also the prophetess Noadiah and the rest of the prophets who wanted to make me afraid.
The Wall Is Finished
 So the wall was finished on the twenty-fifth day of the month Elul, in fifty-two days.  And when all our enemies heard of it, all the nations around us were afraid and fell greatly in their own esteem, for they perceived that this work had been accomplished with the help of our God.  Moreover, in those days the nobles of Judah sent many letters to Tobiah, and Tobiah's letters came to them.  For many in Judah were bound by oath to him, because he was the son-in-law of Shecaniah the son of Arah: and his son Jehohanan had taken the daughter of Meshullam the son of Berechiah as his wife.  Also they spoke of his good deeds in my presence and reported my words to him. And Tobiah sent letters to make me afraid. (ESV)
 Now when the wall had been built and I had set up the doors, and the gatekeepers, the singers, and the Levites had been appointed,  I gave my brother Hanani and Hananiah the governor of the castle charge over Jerusalem, for he was a more faithful and God-fearing man than many.  And I said to them, “Let not the gates of Jerusalem be opened until the sun is hot. And while they are still standing guard, let them shut and bar the doors. Appoint guards from among the inhabitants of Jerusalem, some at their guard posts and some in front of their own homes.”  The city was wide and large, but the people within it were few, and no houses had been rebuilt.
Lists of Returned Exiles
 Then my God put it into my heart to assemble the nobles and the officials and the people to be enrolled by genealogy. And I found the book of the genealogy of those who came up at the first, and I found written in it:
 These were the people of the province who came up out of the captivity of those exiles whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried into exile. They returned to Jerusalem and Judah, each to his town.  They came with Zerubbabel, Jeshua, Nehemiah, Azariah, Raamiah, Nahamani, Mordecai, Bilshan, Mispereth, Bigvai, Nehum, Baanah.
The number of the men of the people of Israel:  the sons of Parosh, 2,172.  The sons of Shephatiah, 372.  The sons of Arah, 652.  The sons of Pahath-moab, namely the sons of Jeshua and Joab, 2,818.  The sons of Elam, 1,254.  The sons of Zattu, 845.  The sons of Zaccai, 760.  The sons of Binnui, 648.  The sons of Bebai, 628.  The sons of Azgad, 2,322.  The sons of Adonikam, 667.  The sons of Bigvai, 2,067.  The sons of Adin, 655.  The sons of Ater, namely of Hezekiah, 98.  The sons of Hashum, 328.  The sons of Bezai, 324.  The sons of Hariph, 112.  The sons of Gibeon, 95.  The men of Bethlehem and Netophah, 188.  The men of Anathoth, 128.  The men of Beth-azmaveth, 42.  The men of Kiriath-jearim, Chephirah, and Beeroth, 743.  The men of Ramah and Geba, 621.  The men of Michmas, 122.  The men of Bethel and Ai, 123.  The men of the other Nebo, 52.  The sons of the other Elam, 1,254.  The sons of Harim, 320.  The sons of Jericho, 345.  The sons of Lod, Hadid, and Ono, 721.  The sons of Senaah, 3,930.
 The priests: the sons of Jedaiah, namely the house of Jeshua, 973.  The sons of Immer, 1,052.  The sons of Pashhur, 1,247.  The sons of Harim, 1,017.
 The Levites: the sons of Jeshua, namely of Kadmiel of the sons of Hodevah, 74.  The singers: the sons of Asaph, 148.  The gatekeepers: the sons of Shallum, the sons of Ater, the sons of Talmon, the sons of Akkub, the sons of Hatita, the sons of Shobai, 138.
 The temple servants: the sons of Ziha, the sons of Hasupha, the sons of Tabbaoth,  the sons of Keros, the sons of Sia, the sons of Padon,  the sons of Lebana, the sons of Hagaba, the sons of Shalmai,  the sons of Hanan, the sons of Giddel, the sons of Gahar,  the sons of Reaiah, the sons of Rezin, the sons of Nekoda,  the sons of Gazzam, the sons of Uzza, the sons of Paseah,  the sons of Besai, the sons of Meunim, the sons of Nephushesim,  the sons of Bakbuk, the sons of Hakupha, the sons of Harhur,  the sons of Bazlith, the sons of Mehida, the sons of Harsha,  the sons of Barkos, the sons of Sisera, the sons of Temah,  the sons of Neziah, the sons of Hatipha.
 The sons of Solomon's servants: the sons of Sotai, the sons of Sophereth, the sons of Perida,  the sons of Jaala, the sons of Darkon, the sons of Giddel,  the sons of Shephatiah, the sons of Hattil, the sons of Pochereth-hazzebaim, the sons of Amon.
 All the temple servants and the sons of Solomon's servants were 392.
 The following were those who came up from Tel-melah, Tel-harsha, Cherub, Addon, and Immer, but they could not prove their fathers' houses nor their descent, whether they belonged to Israel:  the sons of Delaiah, the sons of Tobiah, the sons of Nekoda, 642.  Also, of the priests: the sons of Hobaiah, the sons of Hakkoz, the sons of Barzillai (who had taken a wife of the daughters of Barzillai the Gileadite and was called by their name).  These sought their registration among those enrolled in the genealogies, but it was not found there, so they were excluded from the priesthood as unclean.  The governor told them that they were not to partake of the most holy food until a priest with Urim and Thummim should arise.
Totals of People and Gifts
 The whole assembly together was 42,360,  besides their male and female servants, of whom there were 7,337. And they had 245 singers, male and female.  Their horses were 736, their mules 245,  their camels 435, and their donkeys 6,720.
 Now some of the heads of fathers' houses gave to the work. The governor gave to the treasury 1,000 darics of gold, 50 basins, 30 priests' garments and 500 minas of silver.  And some of the heads of fathers' houses gave into the treasury of the work 20,000 darics of gold and 2,200 minas of silver.  And what the rest of the people gave was 20,000 darics of gold, 2,000 minas of silver, and 67 priests' garments.
 So the priests, the Levites, the gatekeepers, the singers, some of the people, the temple servants, and all Israel, lived in their towns.
And when the seventh month had come, the people of Israel were in their towns. (ESV)
Ezra Reads the Law
 And all the people gathered as one man into the square before the Water Gate. And they told Ezra the scribe to bring the Book of the Law of Moses that the LORD had commanded Israel.  So Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly, both men and women and all who could understand what they heard, on the first day of the seventh month.  And he read from it facing the square before the Water Gate from early morning until midday, in the presence of the men and the women and those who could understand. And the ears of all the people were attentive to the Book of the Law.  And Ezra the scribe stood on a wooden platform that they had made for the purpose. And beside him stood Mattithiah, Shema, Anaiah, Uriah, Hilkiah, and Maaseiah on his right hand, and Pedaiah, Mishael, Malchijah, Hashum, Hashbaddanah, Zechariah, and Meshullam on his left hand.  And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people, for he was above all the people, and as he opened it all the people stood.  And Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God, and all the people answered, “Amen, Amen,” lifting up their hands. And they bowed their heads and worshiped the LORD with their faces to the ground.  Also Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodiah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, the Levites, helped the people to understand the Law, while the people remained in their places.  They read from the book, from the Law of God, clearly, and they gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading.
This Day Is Holy
 And Nehemiah, who was the governor, and Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, “This day is holy to the LORD your God; do not mourn or weep.” For all the people wept as they heard the words of the Law.  Then he said to them, “Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”  So the Levites calmed all the people, saying, “Be quiet, for this day is holy; do not be grieved.”  And all the people went their way to eat and drink and to send portions and to make great rejoicing, because they had understood the words that were declared to them.
Feast of Booths Celebrated
 On the second day the heads of fathers' houses of all the people, with the priests and the Levites, came together to Ezra the scribe in order to study the words of the Law.  And they found it written in the Law that the LORD had commanded by Moses that the people of Israel should dwell in booths during the feast of the seventh month,  and that they should proclaim it and publish it in all their towns and in Jerusalem, “Go out to the hills and bring branches of olive, wild olive, myrtle, palm, and other leafy trees to make booths, as it is written.”  So the people went out and brought them and made booths for themselves, each on his roof, and in their courts and in the courts of the house of God, and in the square at the Water Gate and in the square at the Gate of Ephraim.  And all the assembly of those who had returned from the captivity made booths and lived in the booths, for from the days of Jeshua the son of Nun to that day the people of Israel had not done so. And there was very great rejoicing.  And day by day, from the first day to the last day, he read from the Book of the Law of God. They kept the feast seven days, and on the eighth day there was a solemn assembly, according to the rule. (ESV)
Peter Speaks in Solomon's Portico
 While he clung to Peter and John, all the people, utterly astounded, ran together to them in the portico called Solomon's.  And when Peter saw it he addressed the people: “Men of Israel, why do you wonder at this, or why do you stare at us, as though by our own power or piety we have made him walk?  The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified his servant Jesus, whom you delivered over and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release him.  But you denied the Holy and Righteous One, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you,  and you killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses.  And his name—by faith in his name—has made this man strong whom you see and know, and the faith that is through Jesus has given the man this perfect health in the presence of you all.
 “And now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did also your rulers.  But what God foretold by the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ would suffer, he thus fulfilled.  Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out,  that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus,  whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago.  Moses said, ‘The Lord God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brothers. You shall listen to him in whatever he tells you.  And it shall be that every soul who does not listen to that prophet shall be destroyed from the people.’  And all the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel and those who came after him, also proclaimed these days.  You are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant that God made with your fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘And in your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed.’  God, having raised up his servant, sent him to you first, to bless you by turning every one of you from your wickedness.” (ESV)
Peter and John Before the Council
 And as they were speaking to the people, the priests and the captain of the temple and the Sadducees came upon them,  greatly annoyed because they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead.  And they arrested them and put them in custody until the next day, for it was already evening.  But many of those who had heard the word believed, and the number of the men came to about five thousand.
 On the next day their rulers and elders and scribes gathered together in Jerusalem,  with Annas the high priest and Caiaphas and John and Alexander, and all who were of the high-priestly family.  And when they had set them in the midst, they inquired, “By what power or by what name did you do this?”  Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders,  if we are being examined today concerning a good deed done to a crippled man, by what means this man has been healed,  let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by him this man is standing before you well.  This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone.  And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus.  But seeing the man who was healed standing beside them, they had nothing to say in opposition.  But when they had commanded them to leave the council, they conferred with one another,  saying, “What shall we do with these men? For that a notable sign has been performed through them is evident to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it.  But in order that it may spread no further among the people, let us warn them to speak no more to anyone in this name.”  So they called them and charged them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.  But Peter and John answered them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge,  for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.”  And when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding no way to punish them, because of the people, for all were praising God for what had happened.  For the man on whom this sign of healing was performed was more than forty years old. (ESV)