[b-hebrew] Isaiah 53 read within the book as a whole

Lisbeth S. Fried lizfried at umich.edu
Wed May 26 23:23:33 EDT 2004

Dear Harold,
> Dear Liz,
> HH: Why do you think Nehemiah was building that wall? Was it because
> he worked for the Persian governor?
Nehemiah didn't work for the Persian governor, he was the Persian governor.
He worked for the satrap and the king.

 That helped, but the real reason
> was that he loved God and felt concern for the people who had
> repented and returned to Israel (Neh 1:9). Why do you think those
> people building the wall went back to Israel? These returnees were
> the faithful ones who believed in the nation. The priests were
> priests of the living God. They knew that a wall needed to be built
> if they were to have strength as a people and nation. Doubtless they
> shared Nehemiah's vision. Remember that Nehemiah learned of the need
> to rebuild the wall from his brother and other men from Judah (Neh
> 1:2). Nehemiah came, saw the city, and told the Jews about his goal
> of rebuilding the wall. This is what they said:
> Neh 2:18 "Let's start rebuilding," and they were encouraged to do
> this good work.
> Hh: The following sentence shows the attitude of the builders:
> Neh 4:6 So we rebuilt the wall entire the entire wall was joined
> together up to half its height, for the people had the will to keep
> working.
> HH: The people wanted to do this because it needed to be done. Praise
> the Lord even King Artaxerxes saw the wisdom of rebuilding
> Jerusalem's wall and granted Nehemiah the timber to rebuild the gates
> of the temple's fortress, the city wall, and even a home for Nehemiah
> (Neh 2:8). So the people had the resources to accomplish this task.

Harold, do you realize that you are reading this from Nehemiah's point 
of view? Nehemiah, the Persian governor, was the one who wrote this.
Do you think you might get another point of view if someone else wrote
it? Nehemiah came to Judah to install a Persian garrison in it, a birah.
But you only see one side. 
Read the first chapter of First Maccabees. Then you will get the
perspective of the local population when the foreign monarch
installed a birah, an akra in the city. You will realize the
true feelings of the population. The purpose of a birah is for
the installation of Persian soldiers. These were the soldiers
the elite cavalry commanders of the Persian army that Nehemiah
brought with him. I suspect that Nehemiah is a rab shakah. That
literally means "cupbearer", but the cupbearer is the title
of a military commander. Nehemiah brought soldiers with him.
They held spears and were armed, these were Nehemiah's "boys,"
na'arim, his servants who were at his disposal to build the
wall, to guard the people, to force them to build. THey also
guarded the wall during Shabbat. 
Whether the people wanted to or not, it was forced labor.
> 					Yours,
> 					Harold Holmyard
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