2 Kings 6 Part 2–Seeing Things From God’s Perspective

In life,there is often the easy way and then there is the right way.  Elisha was being given the commands of the king of Aram.  The king was trying to find ways to sneak up and raid Israel.  God was not having any of it. So God would tell Elisha, the kings very words and Elisha would in turn warn the king of Israel.  After a time or two, The king of Aram was furious and ordered His troops to surround and capture the pragmatic prophet…Not a good idea!  
 
So the troops surrounded Elisha, Elisha’s servant became terrifiied and cried out to his master.  Elisha calmed the servant down, and asked God to let his servant see things from God’s view.  Immediately,the servant saw the enemy surroiunded by charriots of fire manned with angels ready to wipe them out…Elisha was kind, however,and simp[ly asked God to blind them, Elisha then led them into captivity.  Elisha pray,  then God opened there eyes and nthey saw they were done for…Isreal fed them, gave them back their weapons and sent them home.  No more Armenean problems, and no one had to die.
 
Clearly, for the pragmatic prophet, this was not the easy way.  But, it was the best way.  His people were free, his king saw the power of the one true God, and his servant got a glimpse of the spiritual world–and we got to share it.  There is never a time when we honor God and His plan; that God does not ultimately bring out the best. If we, like Elisha, simply continue to trust the Lord and follow His lead; then we will see our enemy foiled, trapped, captured and shamed.  We do win in the end.  We simply must continue to see the world from the Father’s perspective.  Do not be afraid; our army has charriots of Fire and mighty servants at its command.  Thank You, Lord, for your preparation, provision and protection from all our enemies.
 
God Bless You

Now the king of Aram was at war with Israel. After conferring with his officers, he said, “I will set up my camp in such and such a place.”

The man of God sent word to the king of Israel: “Beware of passing that place, because the Arameans are going down there.” 10 So the king of Israel checked on the place indicated by the man of God. Time and again Elisha warned the king, so that he was on his guard in such places.

11 This enraged the king of Aram. He summoned his officers and demanded of them, “Tell me! Which of us is on the side of the king of Israel?”

12 “None of us, my lord the king,” said one of his officers, “but Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the very words you speak in your bedroom.”

13 “Go, find out where he is,” the king ordered, “so I can send men and capture him.” The report came back: “He is in Dothan.” 14 Then he sent horses and chariots and a strong force there. They went by night and surrounded the city.

15 When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh no, my lord! What shall we do?” the servant asked.

16 “Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”

17 And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

18 As the enemy came down toward him, Elisha prayed to the Lord, “Strike this army with blindness.” So he struck them with blindness, as Elisha had asked.

19 Elisha told them, “This is not the road and this is not the city. Follow me, and I will lead you to the man you are looking for.” And he led them to Samaria.

20 After they entered the city, Elisha said, “Lord, open the eyes of these men so they can see.” Then the Lord opened their eyes and they looked, and there they were, inside Samaria.

21 When the king of Israel saw them, he asked Elisha, “Shall I kill them, my father? Shall I kill them?”

22 “Do not kill them,” he answered. “Would you kill those you have captured with your own sword or bow? Set food and water before them so that they may eat and drink and then go back to their master.” 23 So he prepared a great feast for them, and after they had finished eating and drinking, he sent them away, and they returned to their master. So the bands from Aram stopped raiding Israel’s territory.

2 Kings 5 Part 1–Just Trust God and Do What He Asks

Elisha the pragmatic prophet…The king’s mighty warrior Naaman was a leper, So Elisha told the leperous warrior to go and dip 7 times in the Jordan. He had no agenda, he wanted nothing in return and gave a straight forward direction for a complete cure.  Namaan was so mad. He wanted pomp and ceremony.  He wanted a fuss. So when Elisha gave a direct cure–Namaan griped until he completed the task and was cleaned.  He was then very pleased and grateful,  But, again, for Elisha it was all in a days work.
 
The great lesson of Elksha was that he did not do God’s work for any reason other than to please God.  He did not need stuff, he did not seek fame.  His reward was to honor God.  He had Elijah’s power and then some. He had already raised the dead, feed the hungry and now healed a leper–it always was simply to honor God.
 
If we could follow the Lord, selflessly as Elisha did–then we would see God do amazing things; and we could take joy in seeing God being honored.  We can be sure that God will be honored, and He will bless his chosen.  We must only walk humbly and seek Him. The Lord will make sure we are exalted in His time and in his way.  We can never outgive God or out honor Him. The more we try, the more He  will blesses us. Elisha’s servant failed to see that, He became greedy and paid a huge price.  It is critical for us to simply trust and follow the Lord. If we will, we can rest assured that God will bless us mightily.
 
God Bless You

Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master and in high favor, because by him the Lord had given victory to Syria. He was a mighty man of valor, but he was a leper.[a] 2 Now the Syrians on one of their raids had carried off a little girl from the land of Israel, and she worked in the service of Naaman’s wife. 3 She said to her mistress, “Would that my lord were with the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.” 4 So Naaman went in and told his lord, “Thus and so spoke the girl from the land of Israel.” 5 And the king of Syria said, “Go now, and I will send a letter to the king of Israel.”

So he went, taking with him ten talents of silver, six thousand shekels[b] of gold, and ten changes of clothing. And he brought the letter to the king of Israel, which read, “When this letter reaches you, know that I have sent to you Naaman my servant, that you may cure him of his leprosy.” And when the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his clothes and said, “Am I God, to kill and to make alive, that this man sends word to me to cure a man of his leprosy? Only consider, and see how he is seeking a quarrel with me.”

But when Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his clothes, he sent to the king, saying, “Why have you torn your clothes? Let him come now to me, that he may know that there is a prophet in Israel.” So Naaman came with his horses and chariots and stood at the door of Elisha’s house. 10 And Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, “Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored, and you shall be clean.” 11 But Naaman was angry and went away, saying, “Behold, I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call upon the name of the Lord his God, and wave his hand over the place and cure the leper. 12 Are not Abana[c] and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be clean?” So he turned and went away in a rage. 13 But his servants came near and said to him, “My father, it is a great word the prophet has spoken to you; will you not do it? Has he actually said to you, ‘Wash, and be clean’?” 14 So he went down and dipped himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God, and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.

I Kings 19 Part 2–I Am Here,and I am Listening

This scene speaks volumes about Elijah and about the Lord.  Elijah demoralized in Hebron, and God there to meet him.  God asked Elijah to stand at the mouth of a cave before God. Then a strong and violent wind passed, a mighty earthquake shook, then a fire pushed through–but, God was not in any of those. Then a quiet wisper immediately grabbed Elijah’s attention and reverence.  Isn’t it amazing that often we hear a whisper clearer than a violent weather event.  Elijah knew his Lord. He was not fooled by the fanfare; nor, was Elijah shaken in his devotion to God. Elijah was simply worn out, and ready to go home.  So, God spoke very candidly to His prophet–in a sense, God told Elijah to finish up what I have for you to do. Then God asked Elijah to prep his replacement and then they would get Elijah home.  God did not berarate Elijah, nor, did God promise things would be OK or get better for Elijah. 
 
Life is difficult, God does not make excuses. We seek Him and He prepares, protects and provides for us.  But, it is important to remember that God is personal.  He individually cares for His own. He is with you and listens to your prayers.  As any Father, He seeks to meet us where we are and lead us where we need to be.  He asks us, like He asked Elijah “What are you doing here?” It is our duty as God’s kids to ask ourselves the same question–Why are we here??? if it is because of sin, then repent, if it is a trial, then pray and persevere.  Whatever the case, we must continue to seek God and listen for His still, small voice.  We may never fully understand God’s plan or God’s timing; but, we can know God! We can trust God to complete His plan for our lives.  
 
God Bless You

And he said, “Go out and stand on the mount before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper.[a] 13 And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And behold, there came a voice to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 14 He said, “I have been very jealous for the Lord, the God of hosts. For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away.” 15 And the Lord said to him, “Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus. And when you arrive, you shall anoint Hazael to be king over Syria. 16 And Jehu the son of Nimshi you shall anoint to be king over Israel, and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah you shall anoint to be prophet in your place. 17 And the one who escapes from the sword of Hazael shall Jehu put to death, and the one who escapes from the sword of Jehu shall Elisha put to death. 18 Yet I will leave seven thousand in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.”

The Call of Elisha

19 So he departed from there and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen in front of him, and he was with the twelfth. Elijah passed by him and cast his cloak upon him. 20 And he left the oxen and ran after Elijah and said, “Let me kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow you.” And he said to him, “Go back again, for what have I done to you?” 21 And he returned from following him and took the yoke of oxen and sacrificed them and boiled their flesh with the yokes of the oxen and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he arose and went after Elijah and assisted him.

I Kings 18 Part –A Great Rain

God never promises to make it easy.  He simply promises to follow through  on His promises.  Now that the heart of the people had left the false God Baal, God was ready to end the drought.  One thing still remained–Elijah had to release the rain.  So, from the same Mount Carmel, Elijah began to pray. He sent his servant out seven times to see if God answered; and then, on the 7th time a tiny cloud appeared.  Elijah knew that tiny cloud meant big things were ahead.  So, Elijah warned the king and then took off and met Ahab at the gates of Jezreel.  The author pens la perfect quote–“And there was a great rain!”  What a reminder that God does not do just OK!
 
God appreciates righteousness.  He also rewards tenacity.  Like Elijah, sometimes we have to keep praying to unleash God’s power.  It may seem like God is not listening, but–sometimes God needs our patience to fully complete His plan for our lives.  Additionally, what starts out to be “a small cloud” can easily turn into a “great rain” if we will simply wait on the Lord.  We can never lose hope nor admit defeat. We have read the end of the book, and yes, we win!!! Pray without ceasing. Wait upon our Lord to complete HIS plan for our lives.  If we can do that, history tells us that we can expect “A Great Rain”!!!
 
God Bless You

 And Elijah said to Ahab, “Go up, eat and drink, for there is a sound of the rushing of rain.” 42 So Ahab went up to eat and to drink. And Elijah went up to the top of Mount Carmel. And he bowed himself down on the earth and put his face between his knees. 43 And he said to his servant, “Go up now, look toward the sea.” And he went up and looked and said, “There is nothing.” And he said, “Go again,” seven times. 44 And at the seventh time he said, “Behold, a little cloud like a man’s hand is rising from the sea.” And he said, “Go up, say to Ahab, ‘Prepare your chariot and go down, lest the rain stop you.’” 45 And in a little while the heavens grew black with clouds and wind, and there was a great rain. And Ahab rode and went to Jezreel. 46 And the hand of the Lord was on Elijah, and he gathered up his garment and ran before Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel.

Esther 6 Part 2–Hamaan’s World Implodes

Hamaan was sunk.  His hated was being given a personal parade that Hamaan designed, grand marshalled and led. When it was over Hamaan had announced to the entire kingdom that Mordechi was an awesome man.  Now as he contemplated Mordechi’s demise, it looked pretty silly. What is more, he spent all that money on a gallows, he changed the law to kill the Israelite people…The King will be  less than pleased.  Hamaan, captain of his own ship, just learned that the name of that ship was Titanic…
 
When we try to play God in our lives, more times than not, we play out scenarios like Hamaan’s.  We think things are right on track–until they are not.  Our world implodes around us and we shake our heads in disbelief.  Funny thing is that we should not be surprised.  We do not do God well.  We neither have the omnicience, omnipotence or the omnipresence to pull it off. God is God, and  as such, can see and plan the ultimate outcomes.  We can only see what limited things that are before us.   That is why we must walk by faith and allow God to do what he is equipped to do–lead us.  If we will, we will be surprised by the amazing journey we have traversed; and will see God’s hand directing us to a full and meaningful life.  
 
We must trust Him and follow him closely. Then like Mordechi–He will make sure we are honored before our most dreaded emenies.
 
God Bless You

 “Go at once,” the king commanded Haman. “Get the robe and the horse and do just as you have suggested for Mordecai the Jew, who sits at the king’s gate. Do not neglect anything you have recommended.”

11 So Haman got the robe and the horse. He robed Mordecai, and led him on horseback through the city streets, proclaiming before him, “This is what is done for the man the king delights to honor!”

12 Afterward Mordecai returned to the king’s gate. But Haman rushed home, with his head covered in grief, 13 and told Zeresh his wife and all his friends everything that had happened to him.

His advisers and his wife Zeresh said to him, “Since Mordecai, before whom your downfall has started, is of Jewish origin, you cannot stand against him—you will surely come to ruin!” 14 While they were still talking with him, the king’s eunuchs arrived and hurried Haman away to the banquet Esther had prepared.

Esther 5 Part 2–Hamaans Grand Plan

Meanwhile, 
 
Hamaan was feeling like he had the world by the tail. Still he had one burr in hiis saddle–Mordechi.  No matter how great the world around him became, he would never be content as long as Mordechi could disrespect him.  So to get the better of Him, Hamaan’s wife suggessted that Hamaan build a tremendous gallows and hang his mortal enemy. That brought Hamaan joy upon joy. Now he had it all. He was rich, the king loved him. He was eradecating the world of the Israelites and especially Mordechi…Or, so he thought.  Hamaan was the captain of his own ship and as such could call his own shots.  What Hamaan did not understand was control is an illusion. The control Hamaan thought he now had was only there because God had allowed it.
 
We often fall into that same trap.  We begin to believe we somehow have gained control of our destiny.  We have free will, no doubt. But in the end God’s plan is bigger.  That is why humbly following God’s lead always turns out better.  When we try to run our own lives “Our Way” (Circa Frank Sinatra) it turns into a chaotic mess.  It always looks Good to start, but apart from the Lord we will certainly make a mess out of life.  Solomon reminds us, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your understanding, acknowledge him in all your ways and he will make your path straight.” Proverbs 3: 5-6  Hamaan had no idea what he was creating, but to be sure, it was a mess!
 
God Bless You

And Haman went out that day joyful and glad ofMeanwhile heart. But when Haman saw Mordecai in the king’s gate, that he neither rose nor trembled before him, he was filled with wrath against Mordecai. 10 Nevertheless, Haman restrained himself and went home, and he sent and brought his friends and his wife Zeresh. 11 And Haman recounted to them the splendor of his riches, the number of his sons, all the promotions with which the king had honored him, and how he had advanced him above the officials and the servants of the king. 12 Then Haman said, “Even Queen Esther let no one but me come with the king to the feast she prepared. And tomorrow also I am invited by her together with the king. 13 Yet all this is worth nothing to me, so long as I see Mordecai the Jew sitting at the king’s gate.” 14 Then his wife Zeresh and all his friends said to him, “Let a gallows[d] fifty cubits[e] high be made, and in the morning tell the king to have Mordecai hanged upon it. Then go joyfully with the king to the feast.” This idea pleased Haman, and he had the gallows made.

Esther 3 Part 2–Bewildered

So things were going fine. Israel was doing its thing, Xerxes was doing His thing…Then Hamaan decides to destroy and pillage the people of Israel.  There had been no uprisings. There had been no talk of escape or rebellion.  So when the edict for the Israelite’s complete destruction was posted–well, the whole nation was dumfounded, well everyone but Hamaan. Sometimes the circumstance of Life simply does not make sense.  But, God is faithful to  execute His plan no matter how little sense life seems to make.  It is obvious that the Israelite people were shocked and devestated–How could this be? But the great news was that even in those devastating moments God was working his plan.
 
When life seems completely dark and hope seems a distant dream; that is when God does His best work .  We have to trust that the Lord knows what is going on and will work His plan flawlessly to make our lives full and meaningful.  We must always seek  God and trust His plan for our lives.  If we will then at the end we can point to the countless times He intervened and completed His work in our lives.  Help me, Lord, to never give up in dire circumstances and always trust You to complete Your plan in my life.
 
God Bkess  You

 So the king took his signet ring from his finger and gave it to Haman son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, the enemy of the Jews. 11 “Keep the money,” the king said to Haman, “and do with the people as you please.”

12 Then on the thirteenth day of the first month the royal secretaries were summoned. They wrote out in the script of each province and in the language of each people all Haman’s orders to the king’s satraps, the governors of the various provinces and the nobles of the various peoples. These were written in the name of King Xerxes himself and sealed with his own ring. 13 Dispatches were sent by couriers to all the king’s provinces with the order to destroy, kill and annihilate all the Jews—young and old, women and children—on a single day, the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar, and to plunder their goods. 14 A copy of the text of the edict was to be issued as law in every province and made known to the people of every nationality so they would be ready for that day.

15 The couriers went out, spurred on by the king’s command, and the edict was issued in the citadel of Susa. The king and Haman sat down to drink, but the city of Susa was bewildered.

Esther 2 Part 3–God’s Bigger Plan

It is no secret that God is large and in charge. As we continue to look at the life of Esther, it is critical that one remembers that it is also a look at the life of Israel, the Exile and Mordechi–Esther’s uncle and guardian. Just after Esther is crowned queen of the empire, her uncle overhears the plotting of the King’s assignation.  He reports the plot to Esther, she reports the plot to the King and the King executes the would be assassins.  Not a big deal…or was it? Had Esther not been made queen, Would her guardian be able to sit at a place of honor at the gate? If he was not Esther’s uncle would his report gotten to the King? Had the assassins been successful, what might have become of the people of Israel?
 
The point being, the things God does each day to execute His plans for our lives entertwine, interact and work together for the good. We can never try to figure God out, it is simply too far above our ability to comprehend. But suffice it to say, that God knows what is going on and cares deeply and personally for each of us–even a heathen King. We can never give up or think that God has abandoned us.  He may simply be orchestrating a plan for our salvation  or the salvation of many others.  Our contribution may seem small, but one never knows what impact our faith and obedience may have.  It is like the story of the retiring tent evangelist that was preaching his heart out, but noone was coming forward.  He felt so useless.  The only documented conversion in his last revival tour was a young man from North Carolina, the boy’s name–Billy Graham. We must trust that God has a plan and He chooses us to be a part if we are simply willing to trust and obey!
 
God Bless You

 When the virgins were assembled a second time, Mordecai was sitting at the king’s gate. 20 But Esther had kept secret her family background and nationality just as Mordecai had told her to do, for she continued to follow Mordecai’s instructions as she had done when he was bringing her up.

21 During the time Mordecai was sitting at the king’s gate, Bigthana[b] and Teresh, two of the king’s officers who guarded the doorway, became angry and conspired to assassinate King Xerxes. 22 But Mordecai found out about the plot and told Queen Esther, who in turn reported it to the king, giving credit to Mordecai. 23 And when the report was investigated and found to be true, the two officials were impaled on poles. All this was recorded in the book of the annals in the presence of the king.

Nehemiah 7–God’s Word is Priceless

Once everything was completed on the rebuilding of the walls around Jerusalem,The attention was turned to the word of God.  All the remnant gaathered  at the temple and Ezra read the word of God.  They considered what they heard and took it to heart.  They had experienced trials, they experienced indignity they lost all national pride. So now as they were beginning to see things change, they refocused  on the Lord and  His word.  As the word sank in, the people’s hearts were restored.  
 
In our lives, we experience life in a big way. as we do that it is easy to lose focus on the Lord and His word. When we lose that focus, it grows desparate, hopeless and lonely.  God is faithful, in the midst of the difficulty, He shows us he is still in charge and loves us.  When we grasp that, ten we can focus back on God and His leading.  When we grasp that, then God can do the work in our lives . Like the people that returned to Israel We need to return to the word and allow it to pour over us.  When it does, it will return us to a place of pride in our walk with God that will affect all that we do and those that we know.  That is why it says in the word that God’s word is a two-edged sword. It is a weapon against our enemy and food for our soul.
 
God Bless You

And all the people gathered themselves together as one man into the street that was before the water gate; and they spake unto Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses, which the Lord had commanded to Israel.

And Ezra the priest brought the law before the congregation both of men and women, and all that could hear with understanding, upon the first day of the seventh month.

And he read therein before the street that was before the water gate from the morning until midday, before the men and the women, and those that could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive unto the book of the law.

And Ezra the scribe stood upon a pulpit of wood, which they had made for the purpose; and beside him stood Mattithiah, and Shema, and Anaiah, and Urijah, and Hilkiah, and Maaseiah, on his right hand; and on his left hand, Pedaiah, and Mishael, and Malchiah, and Hashum, and Hashbadana, Zechariah, and Meshullam.

And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people; (for he was above all the people;) and when he opened it, all the people stood up:

And Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God. And all the people answered, Amen, Amen, with lifting up their hands: and they bowed their heads, and worshipped the Lord with their faces to the ground.

Also Jeshua, and Bani, and Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodijah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, and the Levites, caused the people to understand the law: and the people stood in their place.

So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading.

And Nehemiah, which is the Tirshatha, and Ezra the priest the scribe, and the Levites that taught the people, said unto all the people, This day is holy unto the Lord your God; mourn not, nor weep. For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the law.

10 Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the Lord is your strength.

Nehemaih 5 Part 2–Hold on Loosely

Nehemiah was incensed when he learned that the people were taking advantage of each other.  He immediately set out to make things right.  He made sure that the nobles no longer cheated and extorted those less fortunate.  Then he took it a few steps farther.  He stopped eating like a noble.  He ate a normal diet and carried on like a normal citizen.  What’s more, he fed a large number of those less fortunate than him at his table for years.  He knew that sharing what he had was a critical part of his life.  God had given him the vision and the passion to lead Israel back to being a nation.  He needed to be a servant leader, and so he was.
 
In our lives, we have to remain aware that God is in charge of our lives.  He leads us to places where we need to give back and share what we have and what we have learned.  We can never hold on so tightly to stuff that really is not ours anyway.  God will never be outgiven, or outserved.  If we will trust the Lord, He will always protect and provide amply to meet our needs.  The trick is to trust Him–even when it seems like we are all alone in the effort! 
 
God Bless You

 Give back to them immediately their fields, vineyards, olive groves and houses, and also the interest you are charging them—one percent of the money, grain, new wine and olive oil.”

12 “We will give it back,” they said. “And we will not demand anything more from them. We will do as you say.”

Then I summoned the priests and made the nobles and officials take an oath to do what they had promised. 13 I also shook out the folds of my robe and said, “In this way may God shake out of their house and possessions anyone who does not keep this promise. So may such a person be shaken out and emptied!”

At this the whole assembly said, “Amen,” and praised the Lord. And the people did as they had promised.

14 Moreover, from the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when I was appointed to be their governor in the land of Judah, until his thirty-second year—twelve years—neither I nor my brothers ate the food allotted to the governor. 15 But the earlier governors—those preceding me—placed a heavy burden on the people and took forty shekels[a] of silver from them in addition to food and wine. Their assistants also lorded it over the people. But out of reverence for God I did not act like that. 16 Instead, I devoted myself to the work on this wall. All my men were assembled there for the work; we[b] did not acquire any land.

17 Furthermore, a hundred and fifty Jews and officials ate at my table, as well as those who came to us from the surrounding nations. 18 Each day one ox, six choice sheep and some poultry were prepared for me, and every ten days an abundant supply of wine of all kinds. In spite of all this, I never demanded the food allotted to the governor, because the demands were heavy on these people.

19 Remember me with favor, my God, for all I have done for these people.

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