When the wall had been built and I had hung the doors, the gatekeepers, singers, and Levites were appointed.
Then I put my brother Hanani and Hananiah the commander of the fortress in charge of Jerusalem. Hananiah was a faithful man who revered God more than many.
I said to them, "The gates of Jerusalem aren't to be opened during the hottest time of the day. While the gatekeepers are still on duty, have them shut and bar the doors. Also, appoint guards from among those who live in Jerusalem. Station some at their watch posts and some in front of their own houses."
Now although the city was wide and large, only a few people were living within it, and no houses had been rebuilt.
My God then prompted me to assemble the officials, the officers, and the people so that they could be registered by families. I found the record of the families who were the first to return, and I found the following written in it:
These are the people of the province who returned from the captivity of those exiles whom Babylon's King Nebuchadnezzar had taken into exile. They all returned to Jerusalem and Judah, everyone to their own town.
They came with Zerubbabel, Jeshua, Nehemiah, Azariah, Raamiah, Nahamani, Mordecai, Bilshan, Mispereth, Bigvai, Nehum, and Baanah. The number of the people of Israel:
The family of Parosh 2,172
of Shephatiah 372
of Arah 652
of Pahath-moab, that is, of the descendants of Jeshua and Joab 2,818
of Elam 1,254
of Zattu 845
of Zaccai 760
of Binnui 648
of Bebai 628
of Azgad 2,322
of Adonikam 667
of Bigvai 2,067
of Adin 655
of Ater, that is, of the descendants of Hezekiah 98
of Hashum 328
of Bezai 324
of Hariph 112
of Gibeon 95
The people of Bethlehem and Netophah 188
of Anathoth 128
of Beth-azmaveth 42
of Kiriath-jearim, Chephirah, and Beeroth 743
of Ramah and Geba 621
of Michmas 122
of Bethel and Ai 123
of the other Nebo 52
the inhabitants of the other Elam 1,254
of Harim 320
of Jericho 345
of Lod, Hadid, and Ono 721
of Senaah 3,930
The priests: the descendants of Jedaiah, that is, of the house of Jeshua 973
of Immer 1,052
of Pashhur 1,247
of Harim 1,017
The Levites: the descendants of Jeshua, that is, of Kadmiel, of the descendants of Hodaviah 74
The singers: the descendants of Asaph 148
The descendants of gatekeepers: of Shallum, Ater, Talmon, Akkub, Hatita, and Shobai 138
The temple servants: the descendants of Ziha, Hasupha, Tabbaoth,
Keros, Sia, Padon,
Lebanah, Hagabah, Shalmai,
Hanan, Giddel, Gahar,
Reaiah, Rezin, Nekoda,
Gazzam, Uzza, Paseah,
Besai, Meunim, Nephushesim,
Bakbuk, Hakupha, Harhur,
Bazlith, Mehida, Harsha,
Barkos, Sisera, Temah,
Neziah, and Hatipha.
The descendants of Solomon'sservants: Sotai, Sophereth, Perida,
Jaala, Darkon, Giddel,
Shephatiah, Hattil, Pochereth-hazzebaim, and Amon.
All of the temple servants and the descendants of Solomon's servants totaled 392.
The following came up from Tel-Melah, Tel-harsha, Cherub, Addon, and Immer, but were unable to prove that their family or their descent was from Israel:
the descendants of Delaiah, Tobiah, and Nekoda, 642.
And of the priests: the descendants of Hobaiah, Hakkoz, and Barzillai (who had married one of the daughters of Barzillai the Gileadite and was called by his name)
looked for their entries in the genealogical records, but they weren't found there, so they were excluded from the priesthood as unclean.
The governor ordered that they shouldn't eat of the most holy food until a priest arose who could consult Urim and Thummim.
The whole assembly together totaled 42,360.
This number doesn't include their 7,337 male and female servants; they also had 245 male and female singers,
736 horses, 245 mules,
435 camels, and 6,720 donkeys.
Some of the heads of families made a donation for the work. The governor gave to the treasury 1,000 darics of gold, 50 bowls, and 530 priestly robes.
Some of the heads of families gave 20,000 darics of gold and 2,200 manehs of silver to the treasury for the work.
The rest of the people gave 20,000 darics of gold, 2,000 manehs of silver, and 67 priestly robes.
So the priests, the Levites, the gatekeepers, the singers, some of the people, the temple servants, and all Israel settled in their towns.
When the seventh month came and the people of Israel were settled in their towns, all the people gathered together in the area in front of the Water Gate. They asked Ezra the scribe to bring out the Instruction scroll from Moses, according to which the LORD had instructed Israel.
So on the first day of the seventh month, Ezra the priest brought the Instruction before the assembly. This assembly was made up of both men and women and anyone who could understand what they heard.
Facing the area in front of the Water Gate, he read it aloud, from early morning until the middle of the day. He read it in the presence of the men and the women and those who could understand, and everyone listened attentively to the Instruction scroll.
Ezra the scribe stood on a wooden platform that had been made for this purpose. And standing beside him were Mattithiah, Shema, Anaiah, Uriah, Hilkiah, and Maaseiah on his righthand side; while Pedaiah, Mishael, Malchijah, Hashum, Hash-baddanah, Zechariah, and Meshullam stood on his lefthand side.
Standing above all of the people, Ezra the scribe opened the scroll in the sight of all of the people. And as he opened it, all of the people stood up.
Then Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God, and all of the people answered, "Amen! Amen!" while raising their hands. Then they bowed down and worshipped the LORD with their faces to the ground.
The Levites—Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodiah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, and Pelaiah—helped the people to understand the Instruction while the people remained in their places.
They read aloud from the scroll, the Instruction from God, explaining and interpreting it so the people could understand what they heard.
Then Nehemiah the governor, Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all of the people, "This day is holy to the LORD your God. Don't mourn or weep." They said this because all the people wept when they heard the words of the Instruction.
"Go, eat rich food, and drink something sweet," he said to them, "and send portions of this to any who have nothing ready! This day is holy to our LORD. Don't be sad, because the joy from the LORD is your strength!"
The Levites also calmed all of the people, saying, "Be quiet, for this day is holy. Don't be sad!"
Then all of the people went to eat and to drink, to send portions, and to have a great celebration, because they understood what had been said to them.
On the second day, the heads of the families of all the people, along with the priests and the Levites, gathered together around Ezra the scribe in order to study the words of the Instruction.
And they found written in the Instruction that the LORD had commanded through Moses that the Israelites should live in booths during the festival of the seventh month.
They also found that they should make the following proclamation and announce it throughout 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 the roofs of their houses or their courtyards, in the courtyards of God's house, in the area by the Water Gate, or in the area by the Gate of Ephraim.
The whole assembly of those who had returned from captivity made booths and lived in them. This was something that the people of Israel hadn't done since the days of Joshua, Nun's son, and there was very great rejoicing.
He read from God's Instruction scroll every day, from the first until the last day of the festival. They kept the festival for seven days and held a solemn assembly on the eighth day, just as the Instruction required.
On the twenty-fourth day of this month, the people of Israel were assembled. They fasted, wore funeral clothing, and had dirt on their heads.
After the Israelites separated themselves from all of the foreigners, they stood to confess their sins and the terrible behavior of their ancestors.
They stood in their place and read the Instruction scroll from the LORD their God for a quarter of the day. For another quarter of the day, they confessed and worshipped the LORD their God.
On the stairs of the Levites stood Jeshua, Bani, Kadmiel, Shebaniah, Bunni, Sherebiah, Bani, and Chenani. They cried out with a loud voice to the LORD their God.
Then the Levites—Jeshua, Kadmiel, Bani, Hashabneiah, Sherebiah, Hodiah, Shebaniah, and Pethahiah—said: Stand up and bless the LORD your God. From everlasting to everlasting bless your glorious name, which is high above all blessing and praise.
You alone are the LORD. You alone made heaven, even the heaven of heavens, with all their forces. You made the earth and all that is on it, and the seas and all that is in them. You preserve them all, and the heavenly forces worship you.
LORD God, you are the one who chose Abram. You brought him out of Ur of the Chaldeans and gave him the name Abraham.
You found him to be faithful before you, and you made a covenant with him. You promised to give to his descendants the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, and the Girgashites. And you have kept your promise because you are righteous.
You saw the affliction of our ancestors in Egypt and heard their cry at the Reed Sea.
You performed signs and wonders against Pharaoh, all his servants, and the people of his land. You knew that they had acted arrogantly against our ancestors. You made a name for yourself, a name that is famous even today.
You divided the sea before them so that they went through it on dry land. But you cast their pursuers into the depths, as a stone into the mighty waters.
With a pillar of cloud you led them by day and with a column of lightning by night; they lit the way in which the people should go.
You came down upon Mount Sinai and spoke with them from heaven. You gave them proper judgments and true Instruction, good statutes and commandments.
You made known to them your holy Sabbath, and gave them commandments, statutes, and Instruction through your servant Moses.
When they were hungry, you gave them bread from heaven; when they were thirsty, you brought water out of the rock for them. You told them to go in to possess the land that you had sworn to give them.
But our ancestors acted arrogantly. They were stubborn and wouldn't obey your commandments.
They refused to obey, and didn't remember the wonders that you accomplished in their midst. They acted arrogantly and decided to return to their slavery in Egypt. But you are a God ready to forgive, merciful and compassionate, very patient, and truly faithful. You didn't forsake them.
Even when they had cast an image of a calf for themselves, saying, "This is your God who brought you up out of Egypt," and holding you in great contempt,
you, in your great mercy, didn't abandon them in the wilderness. The column of cloud continued to guide them on their journey during the day, and the column of lightning lit their path during the night.
You gave your good spirit to teach them. You didn't withhold your manna from them, and you gave them water for their thirst.
You kept them alive for forty years— they lacked nothing in the wilderness! Their clothes didn't wear out, and their feet didn't swell.
You gave them kingdoms and peoples, and assigned to them every side. They took possession of the land of King Sihon of Heshbon and the land of King Og of Bashan.
You multiplied their descendants as the stars of heaven. You brought them into the land that you had told their ancestors to enter and possess.
So the descendants went in and possessed the land. Before them, you subdued the Canaanites who inhabited the land. You also handed over to them their kings and the neighboring peoples, to do with as they wished.
They captured fortified cities and productive land, and took possession of houses filled with all kinds of good things: excavated cisterns, vineyards, olive orchards, and a great many fruit trees. They ate until they were satisfied and grew fat, and delighted themselves in your great goodness.
But they were disobedient, rebelled against you, and turned their back on your Instruction. They killed your prophets who had warned them so that they might return to you. They held you in great contempt.
Therefore, you handed them over to the power of their enemies who made them suffer. But when they cried out to you in their suffering, you heard them from heaven. Because you are merciful, you gave them saviors who saved them from the power of their enemies.
But after they had rest from this, they again started doing evil against you. So you gave them over to the power of their enemies who ruled over them. Yet when they turned and cried to you, you heard from heaven and rescued them many times because of your great mercy.
You also warned them to return to your Instruction, but they acted arrogantly and didn't obey your commands. They sinned against your judgments, even though life comes by keeping them. They turned a stubborn shoulder, became headstrong, and wouldn't obey.
You were patient with them for many years and warned them by your spirit through the prophets. But they wouldn't listen, so you handed them over to the neighboring peoples.
In your great mercy, however, you didn't make an end of them. Neither did you forsake them, for you are a merciful and compassionate God.
Now, our God, great and mighty and awesome God, you are the one who faithfully keeps the covenant. Don't treat lightly all of the hardship that has come upon us, upon our kings, our officials, our priests, our prophets, our ancestors, and all your people, from the time of the kings of Assyria until today.
You have been just in all that has happened to us; you have acted faithfully, and we have done wrong.
Our kings, our officials, our priests, and our ancestors haven't kept your Instruction. They haven't heeded your commandments and the warnings that you gave them.
Even in their own kingdom, surrounded by the great goodness that you gave to them, even in the wide and rich land that you gave them, they didn't serve you or turn from their wicked works.
So now today we are slaves, slaves in the land that you gave to our ancestors to enjoy its fruit and its good gifts.
Its produce profits the kings whom you have placed over us because of our sins. They have power over our bodies and do as they please with our livestock. We are in great distress.
Peter and John were going up to the temple at three o'clock in the afternoon, the established prayer time.
Meanwhile, a man crippled since birth was being carried in. Every day, people would place him at the temple gate known as the Beautiful Gate so he could ask for money from those entering the temple.
When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he began to ask them for a gift.
Peter and John stared at him. Peter said, "Look at us!"
So the man gazed at them, expecting to receive something from them.
Peter said, "I don't have any money, but I will give you what I do have. In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, rise up and walk!"
Then he grasped the man's right hand and raised him up. At once his feet and ankles became strong.
Jumping up, he began to walk around. He entered the temple with them, walking, leaping, and praising God.
All the people saw him walking and praising God.
They recognized him as the same one who used to sit at the temple's Beautiful Gate asking for money. They were filled with amazement and surprise at what had happened to him.
While the healed man clung to Peter and John, all the people rushed toward them at Solomon's Porch, completely amazed.
Seeing this, Peter addressed the people: “You Israelites, why are you amazed at this? Why are you staring at us as if we made him walk by our own power or piety?
The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—the God of our ancestors—has glorified his servant Jesus. This is the one you handed over and denied in Pilate's presence, even though he had already decided to release him.
You rejected the holy and righteous one, and asked that a murderer be released to you instead.
You killed the author of life, the very one whom God raised from the dead. We are witnesses of this.
His name itself has made this man strong. That is, because of faith in Jesus' name, God has strengthened this man whom you see and know. The faith that comes through Jesus gave him complete health right before your eyes.
"Brothers and sisters, I know you acted in ignorance. So did your rulers.
But this is how God fulfilled what he foretold through all the prophets: that his Christ would suffer.
Change your hearts and lives! Turn back to God so that your sins may be wiped away.
Then the Lord will provide a season of relief from the distress of this age and he will send Jesus, whom he handpicked to be your Christ.
Jesus must remain in heaven until the restoration of all things, about which God spoke long ago through his holy prophets.
Moses said, The Lord your God will raise up from your own people a prophet like me. Listen to whatever he tells you.23Whoever doesn't listen to that prophet will be totally cut off from the people.24
All the prophets who spoke—from Samuel forward—announced these days.
You are the heirs of the prophets and the covenant that God made with your ancestors when he told Abraham, Through your descendants, all the families on earth will be blessed.26
After God raised his servant, he sent him to you first—to bless you by enabling each of you to turn from your evil ways."