Friday, November 12, 2010

Nehemiah, Chapters 5-7

Chapter 5

There's a famine and some of the rich Jews are taking advantage of the poorer residents, buying up the corn and land and even their children as slaves. Nehemiah accuses them of usury and they don't have a defense for themselves.

He orders them to return all the stuff they bought and the money and they do, ashamed. They appoint him governor, and he's so uncorrupt he doesn't take a salary. Nope, he mostly wants to finish the wall.

Chapter 6

The three governors who have been harassing Nehemiah send letters requesting a meeting with him. When that doesn't work, they start antagonizing him overtly, accusing him of rebelling against Persian. They even send a mole to try and convince him to go into the inner sanctum of the temple, thus dirtying himself in the eyes of his people. Fortunately he perceives the ruse and refuses. Instead he redoubles his efforts on the damned wall, finishing it in 52 days. No wonder nobody actually reads this book.

Chapter 7

Nehemiah puts his brother in charge of security, then sets about numbering all the people he has locked inside. What follows is a long list of their names, similar to the one in Ezra. some people are so pedantic that they'll go all the way through both lists and point out all the contradictions. Others, let's call them literalists, are so pedantic they'll try to justify the contradictions. Personally, I like what Northup Frye had to say, that the authors of the bible didn't care about accuracy, they were telling a story.

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