Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Year 8, Day 58: Nehemiah 11

Theological Commentary: Click Here

There is an interesting concept that we get as we read through Nehemiah 11.  We see that many of the leaders volunteer to live in Jerusalem.  After all, that’s where the power resides.  That’s where the walls are.  That’s where the temple is.  Anyone who is anyone is going to live in Jerusalem.

What’s interesting about this chapter is that we also learn that there had to be a draft to get people to come to Jerusalem.  What is this draft and why is it necessary?  Largely, this draft was to fill Jerusalem with other people: merchants, servants, workers, etc.  Jerusalem wouldn’t function if all it had were the rich and elite.  Who would actually do anything of substance?

Therefore, there was a draft to fill Jerusalem with regular and lower-class people.  The question s why.  Why would people need to be convinced to come and live in the center of the Hebrew culture?  The reason is simple.  To live in Jerusalem meant to voluntarily give up one’s land and one’s means for providing for family.  To live outside of Jerusalem is to live on land that can be farmed or can raise animals.  The live in Jerusalem meant that you had to work just to make money.  Then, you would have to find someone who would trade your money for goods.  It’s a process we understand really well in modern days, but it was a troublesome process fraught with pitfalls in the ancient world.

So, what is the neat part of this chapter?  I can think of two elated teachings that we can get.  First, notice that the city doesn’t function with just the elite.  The city needs people of all abilities and status to function.  It’s a sign of humanity’s need for all people, not just the elite.  Second, remember that this is God’s city.  God wants people of all status around Him.  He isn’t just the God of the elite.  He doesn’t love those with the most resources.  God loves all people and values what all people can bring to Him.