Royalty and Ruin


Nehemiah Accomplishes the “Impossible”

This chapter is based on Nehemiah 2; 3; and 4.

The royal letters to the governors of the provinces along Nehemiah’s route obtained prompt assistance for him. No enemy dared give trouble to the official guarded by the power of the Persian king! RR 224.1

However, his arrival in Jerusalem with a military escort, showing that he had come on some important mission, sparked the jealousy of heathen tribes who had often heaped injury and insult on the Jews. Leading out in this evil work were certain chiefs of these tribes, Sanballat, Tobiah, and Geshem. They watched Nehemiah with critical eyes and tried to obstruct and hinder his work. RR 224.2

Knowing that bitter enemies stood ready to oppose him, Nehemiah concealed his mission from them until he could study the situation and form his plans. He hoped to set the people at work before his enemies knew what was happening. RR 224.3

Choosing a few men whom he knew, Nehemiah told them what he wanted to accomplish and the plans he proposed. He enlisted their interest and assistance at once. RR 224.4

On the third night after his arrival Nehemiah rose at midnight and went out with a few trusted companions to view the ruins of Jerusalem. On his mule, he passed from one part of the city to another, surveying the broken-down walls and gates of the city. Painful thoughts filled his sorrowful heart as he gazed on the shattered defenses of Jerusalem. Memories of Israel’s past greatness stood in sharp contrast with the evidences of her humiliation. RR 224.5

In secrecy and silence Nehemiah completed his circuit. “And the officials did not know where I had gone or what I had done; I had not yet told the Jews, the priests, the nobles, the officials, or the others who did the work.” The remainder of the night he spent in prayer, for the morning would call for earnest effort to rally his dispirited countrymen. RR 224.6

Nehemiah carried a royal order requiring the inhabitants to cooperate in rebuilding the walls of the city, but he preferred to gain the sympathy of the people, knowing that a union of hearts was essential in the work. When he called the people together he presented arguments designed to unite the various groups. RR 224.7

Nehemiah’s hearers did not know of his midnight circuit the night before. But the fact that he was able to speak of the condition of the city with accuracy and in detail astonished them. RR 225.1