Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Nehemiah 2

Is God shrewd? What is the political lesson here? The comforter (Nehemiah נחם) works in secret and does not let even those who might have been allies know what is in his heart. Who gets to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem? (Spiritual or physical J.) And those of you who have traveled to Jerusalem, note the gorge - you must have walked there, and the dragon spring (in the eye of the dragon)? Can I remember, and the king's reservoir? Yes, we walked in these places amid children who aimed a rock at us and were admonished by their mother, and amid the smell of tear gas, and on the other side in the field, on the way, having turned (שׁוב) to our hotel, the pomegranate wrapped in razor wire.

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, ...
Converte nos, Domine, ad te, et convertemur; innova dies nostros, sicut a principio.
הֲשִׁיבֵ֨נוּ יְהוָ֤ה ׀ אֵלֶ֙יךָ֙ וְֽנָשׁ֔וּבָה חַדֵּ֥שׁ יָמֵ֖ינוּ כְּקֶֽדֶם
Turn us Yahweh to you and we will be turned. Make new our days as of old.

There's a lot more to this book than I thought... But it is a severe lesson. In the Spirit, it is a condemnation of sin against the Spirit and Comforter, implicit in the name Nehemiah, who rebuilds the walls of Jerusalem, and its temple, the living body of the Anointed. True too is the severance of those who are outside, neither share, nor righteousness, nor memorial. In the flesh, I see trouble if a passage like this is used to justify subterfuge or violence.

It seems odd that אדם (Adam) is used for Nehemiah, an anticipation of a second Adam who would later come in the flesh and then as another Comforter.

Nehemiah 2
וַיְהִ֣י ׀ בְּחֹ֣דֶשׁ נִיסָ֗ן שְׁנַ֥ת עֶשְׂרִ֛ים לְאַרְתַּחְשַׁ֥סְתְּא הַמֶּ֖לֶךְ יַ֣יִן לְפָנָ֑יו
וָאֶשָּׂ֤א אֶת־הַיַּ֙יִן֙ וָאֶתְּנָ֣ה לַמֶּ֔לֶךְ וְלֹא־הָיִ֥יתִי רַ֖ע לְפָנָֽיו
1 And it happened in the new moon of Nisan, the twentieth year of Artaxerxes the king. Wine was in his presence.
And I lifted up the wine and I gave it to the king, and I had not been dejected in his presence.
וַיֹּאמֶר֩ לִ֨י הַמֶּ֜לֶךְ מַדּ֣וּעַ ׀ פָּנֶ֣יךָ רָעִ֗ים וְאַתָּה֙ אֵֽינְךָ֣ חוֹלֶ֔ה אֵ֣ין זֶ֔ה כִּי־אִ֖ם רֹ֣עַֽ לֵ֑ב
וָאִירָ֖א הַרְבֵּ֥ה מְאֹֽד
2 And the king said to me, For what purpose is your face dejected, though you yourself have no illness. Is that not it?
But is it dejection of heart? And I feared very much.
וָאֹמַ֣ר לַמֶּ֔לֶךְ הַמֶּ֖לֶךְ לְעוֹלָ֣ם יִחְיֶ֑ה
מַדּ֜וּעַ לֹא־יֵרְע֣וּ פָנַ֗י אֲשֶׁ֨ר הָעִ֜יר בֵּית־קִבְר֤וֹת אֲבֹתַי֙ חֲרֵבָ֔ה וּשְׁעָרֶ֖יהָ אֻכְּל֥וּ בָאֵֽשׁ
3 And I said to the king, O king, live forever.
For what purpose is my face not dejected, that the city, the house of the tombs of my fathers, is desert and her gates devoured in the fire.
וַיֹּ֤אמֶר לִי֙ הַמֶּ֔לֶךְ עַל־מַה־זֶּ֖ה אַתָּ֣ה מְבַקֵּ֑שׁ
וָֽאֶתְפַּלֵּ֔ל אֶל־אֱלֹהֵ֖י הַשָּׁמָֽיִם
4 And the king said to me, What is it you seek?
And I prayed to the God of the heavens.
וָאֹמַ֣ר לַמֶּ֔לֶךְ אִם־עַל־הַמֶּ֣לֶךְ ט֔וֹב וְאִם־יִיטַ֥ב עַבְדְּךָ֖ לְפָנֶ֑יךָ
אֲשֶׁ֧ר תִּשְׁלָחֵ֣נִי אֶל־יְהוּדָ֗ה אֶל־עִ֛יר קִבְר֥וֹת אֲבֹתַ֖י וְאֶבְנֶֽנָּה
5 And I said to the king, If to the king it is good, and if your servant has done well in your presence,
that you would send me to Judah to the city of the tombs of my fathers that I may build it.
וַיֹּאמֶר֩ לִ֨י הַמֶּ֜לֶךְ וְהַשֵּׁגַ֣ל ׀ יוֹשֶׁ֣בֶת אֶצְל֗וֹ עַד־מָתַ֛י יִהְיֶ֥ה מַֽהֲלָכֲךָ֖ וּמָתַ֣י תָּשׁ֑וּב
וַיִּיטַ֤ב לִפְנֵֽי־הַמֶּ֙לֶךְ֙ וַיִּשְׁלָחֵ֔נִי וָֽאֶתְּנָ֥ה ל֖וֹ זְמָֽן
6 And the king said to me, (and the consort was sitting next to him), How long will your expedition be, and when will you return?
So it was good before the king, and he sent me, and I gave him an estimate.
וָאוֹמַר֮ לַמֶּלֶךְ֒ אִם־עַל־הַמֶּ֣לֶךְ ט֔וֹב אִגְּרוֹת֙ יִתְּנוּ־לִ֔י עַֽל־פַּחֲו֖וֹת עֵ֣בֶר הַנָּהָ֑ר
אֲשֶׁר֙ יַעֲבִיר֔וּנִי עַ֥ד אֲשֶׁר־אָב֖וֹא אֶל־יְהוּדָֽה
7 And I said to the king, If to the king it is good, let letters be given to me to viceroys beyond the river,
that they may let me pass through until I come to Judah.
וְאִגֶּ֡רֶת אֶל־אָסָף֩ שֹׁמֵ֨ר הַפַּרְדֵּ֜ס אֲשֶׁ֣ר לַמֶּ֗לֶךְ אֲשֶׁ֣ר יִתֶּן־לִ֣י עֵצִ֡ים לְ֠קָרוֹת אֶת־שַׁעֲרֵ֨י הַבִּירָ֤ה אֲשֶׁר־לַבַּ֙יִת֙ וּלְחוֹמַ֣ת הָעִ֔יר וְלַבַּ֖יִת אֲשֶׁר־אָב֣וֹא אֵלָ֑יו
וַיִּתֶּן־לִ֣י הַמֶּ֔לֶךְ כְּיַד־אֱלֹהַ֖י הַטּוֹבָ֥ה עָלָֽי
8 And a letter to Asaph, the keeper of the paradise that is the king's, that will give me trees for rafters for the gates of the temple precincts, that is for the house and for the wall of the city, and the house into which I will enter.
And the king gave me permission according to the good hand of my God upon me.
וָֽאָב֗וֹא אֶֽל־פַּֽחֲווֹת֙ עֵ֣בֶר הַנָּהָ֔ר וָאֶתְּנָ֣ה לָהֶ֔ם אֵ֖ת אִגְּר֣וֹת הַמֶּ֑לֶךְ
וַיִּשְׁלַ֤ח עִמִּי֙ הַמֶּ֔לֶךְ שָׂ֥רֵי חַ֖יִל וּפָרָשִֽׁים
9 And I came to the viceroys beyond the river, and I gave to them the letters of the king.
(And the king had sent with me forceful chiefs and cavaliers.)
וַיִּשְׁמַ֞ע סַנְבַלַּ֣ט הַחֹרֹנִ֗י וְטֽוֹבִיָּה֙ הָעֶ֣בֶד הָֽעַמֹּנִ֔י וַיֵּ֥רַע לָהֶ֖ם רָעָ֣ה גְדֹלָ֑ה
אֲשֶׁר־בָּ֥א אָדָ֔ם לְבַקֵּ֥שׁ טוֹבָ֖ה לִבְנֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵֽל
10 And Sanballet the Horonite heard, and Tobiah the servant, the Ammonite, and it irritated them in thought greatly,
that a human had come to seek towards good for the children of Israel.
וָאָב֖וֹא אֶל־יְרוּשָׁלִָ֑ם
וָאֱהִי־שָׁ֖ם יָמִ֥ים שְׁלֹשָֽׁה
11 So I came to Jerusalem,
and I was there three days.
וָאָק֣וּם ׀ לַ֗יְלָה אֲנִי֮ וַאֲנָשִׁ֣ים ׀ מְעַט֮ עִמִּי֒ וְלֹא־הִגַּ֣דְתִּי לְאָדָ֔ם מָ֗ה אֱלֹהַי֙ נֹתֵ֣ן אֶל־לִבִּ֔י לַעֲשׂ֖וֹת לִירוּשָׁלִָ֑ם
וּבְהֵמָה֙ אֵ֣ין עִמִּ֔י כִּ֚י אִם־הַבְּהֵמָ֔ה אֲשֶׁ֥ר אֲנִ֖י רֹכֵ֥ב בָּֽהּ
12 And I arose by night, I and a few soldiers with me, and I had not told any human what my God had permitted in my heart to do for Jerusalem.
And beast there was none with me, but only the beast that I was riding on.
וָאֵצְאָ֨ה בְשַֽׁעַר־הַגַּ֜יא לַ֗יְלָה וְאֶל־פְּנֵי֙ עֵ֣ין הַתַּנִּ֔ין וְאֶל־שַׁ֖עַר הָאַשְׁפֹּ֑ת
וָאֱהִ֨י שֹׂבֵ֜ר בְּחוֹמֹ֤ת יְרוּשָׁלִַ֙ם֙ אֲשֶׁר־הֵ֣ם ׀ פְּרוּצִ֔ים וּשְׁעָרֶ֖יהָ אֻכְּל֥וּ בָאֵֽשׁ
13 And I went out at the gorge gate by night, and at the face of the eye of the dragon, and at the gate of garbage dumps,
and I was inspecting the walls of Jerusalem, they that were breached, and her gates devoured in the fire.
וָאֶֽעֱבֹר֙ אֶל־שַׁ֣עַר הָעַ֔יִן וְאֶל־בְּרֵכַ֖ת הַמֶּ֑לֶךְ
וְאֵין־מָק֥וֹם לַבְּהֵמָ֖ה לַעֲבֹ֥ר תַּחְתָּֽי
14 And I passed through to the gate of the spring and to the reservoir of the king,
but there was no place for the beast under me to pass through.
וָאֱהִ֨י עֹלֶ֤ה בַנַּ֙חַל֙ לַ֔יְלָה וָאֱהִ֥י שֹׂבֵ֖ר בַּחוֹמָ֑ה
וָאָשׁ֗וּב וָאָב֛וֹא בְּשַׁ֥עַר הַגַּ֖יְא וָאָשֽׁוּב
15 And I ascended in the wadi by night and I was inspecting the wall,
and I turned back and entered at the gorge gate and I returned.
וְהַסְּגָנִ֗ים לֹ֤א יָדְעוּ֙ אָ֣נָה הָלַ֔כְתִּי וּמָ֖ה אֲנִ֣י עֹשֶׂ֑ה
וְלַיְּהוּדִ֨ים וְלַכֹּהֲנִ֜ים וְלַחֹרִ֣ים וְלַסְּגָנִ֗ים וּלְיֶ֙תֶר֙ עֹשֵׂ֣ה הַמְּלָאכָ֔ה עַד־כֵּ֖ן לֹ֥א הִגַּֽדְתִּי
16 And the prefects did not know where I walked or what I was doing.
And to the Judeans and to the priests and to the freeborn and to the prefects and to the rest, the deeds of the lines of work, so long, I did not tell.
וָאוֹמַ֣ר אֲלֵהֶ֗ם אַתֶּ֤ם רֹאִים֙ הָרָעָה֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר אֲנַ֣חְנוּ בָ֔הּ אֲשֶׁ֤ר יְרוּשָׁלִַ֙ם֙ חֲרֵבָ֔ה וּשְׁעָרֶ֖יהָ נִצְּת֣וּ בָאֵ֑שׁ
לְכ֗וּ וְנִבְנֶה֙ אֶת־חוֹמַ֣ת יְרוּשָׁלִַ֔ם וְלֹא־נִהְיֶ֥ה ע֖וֹד חֶרְפָּֽה
17 And I said to them, You see the evil that we are in, that Jerusalem is deserted, and her gates charred in the fire,
Come and build up the wall of Jerusalem, that we be no longer a reproach.
וָאַגִּ֨יד לָהֶ֜ם אֶת־יַ֣ד אֱלֹהַ֗י אֲשֶׁר־הִיא֙ טוֹבָ֣ה עָלַ֔י וְאַף־דִּבְרֵ֥י הַמֶּ֖לֶךְ אֲשֶׁ֣ר אָֽמַר־לִ֑י
וַיֹּֽאמְרוּ֙ נָק֣וּם וּבָנִ֔ינוּ וַיְחַזְּק֥וּ יְדֵיהֶ֖ם לַטּוֹבָֽה
18 And I told them of the hand of my God which was good upon me, and also the words of the king that he had said to me.
And they said, Let us arise and let us build, and they encouraged their means towards the good.
וַיִּשְׁמַע֩ סַנְבַלַּ֨ט הַחֹרֹנִ֜י וְטֹבִיָּ֣ה ׀ הָעֶ֣בֶד הָֽעַמּוֹנִ֗י וְגֶ֙שֶׁם֙ הָֽעַרְבִ֔י וַיַּלְעִ֣גוּ לָ֔נוּ וַיִּבְז֖וּ עָלֵ֑ינוּ
וַיֹּאמְר֗וּ מָֽה־הַדָּבָ֤ר הַזֶּה֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר אַתֶּ֣ם עֹשִׂ֔ים הַעַ֥ל הַמֶּ֖לֶךְ אַתֶּ֥ם מֹרְדִֽים
19 And Sanballet the Horonite heard and Tobiah, the servant, the Ammonite, and Geshem the Arabian, and they derided us and despised us.
And they said, What is this thing that you are doing? Do you mutiny against the king?
וָאָשִׁ֨יב אוֹתָ֜ם דָּבָ֗ר וָאוֹמַ֤ר לָהֶם֙ אֱלֹהֵ֣י הַשָּׁמַ֔יִם ה֚וּא יַצְלִ֣יחַֽ לָ֔נוּ וַאֲנַ֥חְנוּ עֲבָדָ֖יו נָק֣וּם וּבָנִ֑ינוּ
וְלָכֶ֗ם אֵֽין־חֵ֧לֶק וּצְדָקָ֛ה וְזִכָּר֖וֹן בִּירוּשָׁלִָֽם
20 And I turned to them a word, and I said to them, The God of the heavens himself will prosper us and we, his servants, arise and build,
but to you there is neither share nor righteousness nor memorial in Jerusalem.


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