Nehemiah-Hear My Prayer
His brother spoke with concern, sorrowfully choosing his words. He spoke, “Nehemiah, our return to the land of our ancestors goes poorly. Our Holy City and the rebuilt Temple of Yahweh is unprotected by gates and a city wall and our existence is threatened daily.” Nehemiah’s spirit was crushed by the news and wept and mourned as he fasted and prayed. What must be done? What could be done? Something had to be done. As he prayed and fasted he realized he had a plan that might work. He would ask that through him, God would rescue his homeland, and Jerusalem, the city of his people. So he prayed, “O Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of your servant, and to the prayer of your servants who delight to fear your name, and give success to your servant today, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man.” Nehemiah 1:11 After the prayer he waited to present the rescue plan to the man, King Artaxerxes, that he served as the cupbearer. What would the King’s answer be?
Question of the week: How was Judah, the southern Kingdom of Israel, taken into captivity and how did they return?
Answer: In 6th century Judah rebelled against Babylon and was destroyed (586 BCE). The royal court and the priests, prophets the early and scribes were taken into captivity in Babylon. There the exiles looked forward to a future when a penitent and purified people would be allowed return to Jerusalem and rebuild the Temple. (These ideas are expressed by the prophets Jeremiah, Isaiah, and, Ezekiel). In 539 BCE Cyrus the Great, the Persian ruler, conquered Babylon and later decreed that the exiles should return to their home and rebuild the temple.