Nehemiah 7: Fear. The hallmark of religion.
Nehemiah Part 7 of 13
1 Now it happened, when the wall was built, and I had set up the doors, and the porters and the singers and the Levites were appointed,
I still don’t understand why you need singers. Is this a city or a nightclub?
2 that I put my brother Hanani, and Hananiah the governor of the castle, in charge of Jerusalem; for he was a faithful man, and feared God above many.
Fear. The hallmark of religion.
3 I said to them, “Don’t let the gates of Jerusalem be opened until the sun is hot; and while they stand guard, let them shut the doors, and you bar them: and appoint watches of the inhabitants of Jerusalem, everyone in his watch, with everyone near his house.”
4 Now the city was wide and large; but the people were few therein, and the houses were not built.
5 My God put into my heart to gather together the nobles, and the rulers, and the people, that they might be reckoned by genealogy. I found the book of the genealogy of those who came up at the first, and I found written therein:
Any god that thinks there really are such people as ‘nobles’ is no god. People should not be thought of as being above any other person except by their own deeds.
6 These are the children of the province, who went up out of the captivity of those who had been carried away, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away, and who returned to Jerusalem and to Judah, everyone to his city;
It isn’t the children born of one of your people and one of another people. Those children you refuse and shun. Those children you deny.
7 who came with Zerubbabel, Jeshua, Nehemiah, Azariah, Raamiah, Nahamani, Mordecai, Bilshan, Mispereth, Bigvai, Nehum, Baanah. The number of the men of the people of Israel:
Here we go again. Numbers. As if big numbers mean anything. It is action that counts, not quantity.
8 The children of Parosh, two thousand one hundred seventy-two.
9 The children of Shephatiah, three hundred seventy-two.
10 The children of Arah, six hundred fifty-two.
11 The children of Pahathmoab, of the children of Jeshua and Joab, two thousand eight hundred eighteen.
12 The children of Elam, one thousand two hundred fifty-four.
13 The children of Zattu, eight hundred forty-five.
14 The children of Zaccai, seven hundred sixty.
15 The children of Binnui, six hundred forty-eight.
16 The children of Bebai, six hundred twenty-eight.
17 The children of Azgad, two thousand three hundred twenty-two.
18 The children of Adonikam, six hundred sixty-seven.
19 The children of Bigvai, two thousand sixty-seven.
20 The children of Adin, six hundred fifty-five.
21 The children of Ater, of Hezekiah, ninety-eight.
22 The children of Hashum, three hundred Twenty-eight.
23 The children of Bezai, three hundred twenty-four.
24 The children of Hariph, one hundred twelve.
25 The children of Gibeon, ninety-five.
26 The men of Bethlehem and Netophah, one hundred eighty-eight.
27 The men of Anathoth, one hundred twenty-eight.
28 The men of Beth Azmaveth, forty-two.
29 The men of Kiriath Jearim, Chephirah, and Beeroth, seven hundred forty-three.
30 The men of Ramah and Geba, six hundred twenty-one.
31 The men of Michmas, one hundred and twenty-two.
32 The men of Bethel and Ai, a hundred twenty-three.
33 The men of the other Nebo, fifty-two.
34 The children of the other Elam, one thousand two hundred fifty-four.
35 The children of Harim, three hundred twenty.
36 The children of Jericho, three hundred forty-five.
37 The children of Lod, Hadid, and Ono, seven hundred twenty-one.
38 The children of Senaah, three thousand nine hundred thirty.
39 The priests: The children of Jedaiah, of the house of Jeshua, nine hundred seventy-three.
40 The children of Immer, one thousand fifty-two.
41 The children of Pashhur, one thousand two hundred forty-seven.
42 The children of Harim, one thousand seventeen.
43 The Levites: the children of Jeshua, of Kadmiel, of the children of Hodevah, seventy-four.
44 The singers: the children of Asaph, one hundred forty-eight.
45 The porters: the children of Shallum, the children of Ater, the children of Talmon, the children of Akkub, the children of Hatita, the children of Shobai, one hundred thirty-eight.
46 The Nethinim: the children of Ziha, the children of Hasupha, the children of Tabbaoth,
47 the children of Keros, the children of Sia, the children of Padon,
48 the children of Lebana, the children of Hagaba, the children of Salmai,
49 the children of Hanan, the children of Giddel, the children of Gahar,
50 the children of Reaiah, the children of Rezin, the children of Nekoda,
51 the children of Gazzam, the children of Uzza, the children of Paseah.
52 The children of Besai, the children of Meunim, the children of Nephushesim,
53 the children of Bakbuk, the children of Hakupha, the children of Harhur,
54 the children of Bazlith, the children of Mehida, the children of Harsha,
55 the children of Barkos, the children of Sisera, the children of Temah,
56 the children of Neziah, the children of Hatipha.
57 The children of Solomon’s servants: the children of Sotai, the children of Sophereth, the children of Perida,
58 the children of Jaala, the children of Darkon, the children of Giddel,
59 the children of Shephatiah, the children of Hattil, the children of Pochereth Hazzebaim, the children of Amon.
60 All the Nethinim, and the children of Solomon’s servants, were three hundred ninety-two.
61 These were those who went up from Tel Melah, Tel Harsha, Cherub, Addon, and Immer; but they could not show their fathers’ houses, nor their seed, whether they were of Israel:
62 The children of Delaiah, the children of Tobiah, the children of Nekoda, six hundred forty-two.
63 Of the priests: the children of Hobaiah, the children of Hakkoz, the children of Barzillai, who took a wife of the daughters of Barzillai the Gileadite, and was called after their name.
64 These searched for their geneological records, but couldn’t find them. Therefore were they deemed polluted and put from the priesthood.
Bigotry. Evil actions from people who purport to be God’s chosen.
65 The governor said to them, that they should not eat of the most holy things, until there stood up a priest with Urim and Thummim.
66 The whole assembly together was forty-two thousand three hundred sixty,
67 besides their male servants and their female servants, of whom there were seven thousand three hundred thirty-seven: and they had two hundred forty-five singing men and singing women.
68 Their horses were seven hundred thirty-six; their mules, two hundred forty-five;
69 their camels, four hundred thirty-five; their donkeys, six thousand seven hundred twenty
70 Some from among the heads of fathers’ households gave to the work. The governor gave to the treasury one thousand darics of gold, fifty basins, and five hundred thirty priests’ garments.
71 Some of the heads of fathers’ households gave into the treasury of the work twenty thousand darics of gold, and two thousand two hundred minas of silver.
72 That which the rest of the people gave was twenty thousand darics of gold, and two thousand minas of silver, and sixty-seven priests’ garments.
73 So the priests, and the Levites, and the porters, and the singers, and some of the people, and the Nethinim, and all Israel, lived in their cities. When the seventh month had come, the children of Israel were in their cities.
If a real God every arose, we would have no need of walled cities. People would not be marked as unclean or polluted. Nobody would die of hunger so the rich could have more than they need. Animals would not be slaughtered just to show how ‘holy’ someone thinks they are. War would be a word only ever seen in history books.
We are not children of God. We are still children though. I wonder if we will ever grow up?