Saturday, October 15, 2016

Nehemiah-A Ghost Town

By Mary Vee
Nehemiah 7

From Nehemiah's Journal

Photo Courtesy
My name is Nehemiah. I had been a servant in Babylon for a long time. I was cupbearer to the king. 

The king of Babylon sent me to oversee the completion of the rebuilding of Jerusalem. 

We've finished the work. In fact, last night was the first night we slept in peace. The gates were closed, the walls protected us from our enemies...yes, we all had a good sleep.

I walked through the city the next morning and discovered a new problem. We didn't have enough people living here. It was like a ghost town.

I know! Seems like a crazy problem, but it was. A city needs people living in it to thrive. Without people, old buildings aren't taken care of, animals and plants invade...all kinds of problems happen.  

I hadn't noticed the lack of people before, because we had many Jewish brothers helping to build the wall. The entire city was bustling. Those men went to their homes in the country after they finished rebuilding the walls. 

Little towns all around Jerusalem had been built a long time ago. Families built their homesteads there. Sons took over as fathers grew old. Back then, many people also lived in the city. Business thrived. 

Untile Nebuchadnezzar conquered seventy years ago and took most of the Jews who lived in the city and some who live in the countryside into captivity.

I called a meeting inviting men from all twelve tribes to discuss the problems we currently faced. The first order of business I addressed was to set a rule about the gates. I said to them, "The gates of Jerusalem are not to be opened until the sun is hot. While the gatekeepers are still on duty have them shut the doors and bar them. Also appoint residents of Jerusalem as guards, some at their posts and some near their own houses. This will keep us safe."

"The next problem we face is the lack of people living in the city. We need to rebuild homes and businesses. This will take more people moving back to the city."

They all agreed. God gave me the brilliant idea to call all the Israelites together and to register each family. I had found the genealogical record of those who had been the first to return from captivity. 

There was one group of people who searched for their family records but could not find the paperwork. Unfortunately we had to exclude them from the priesthood that they claimed, but we did not make them leave.

The leaders settled in Jerusalem and the rest of the people chose one out of every ten to live in Jerusalem. The remaining nine were to stay in their own town to keep it populated. Those who volunteered to move to the city were congratulated for their sacrifice.

The rest of the Israelites lived in the towns of Judah, each on his ancestral property.

With everyone settling in, we became a restored nation. One that will grown strong and fight our enemies.

Come back next time to see what happens.

sources: New International Version, New King James Version 

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