From whom is this book entitled, and what evidence is there as to its authorship! ch. 1. 1. N. B. His name signifies, comfort of the Lord.
At what time does it resume the history of the returned Jews, and how far does it carry it down? N. B. The date of its commencement, according to Prideaux, is about one year after the close of Ezra’s history, and it extends onward through a period of 36 years, terminating precisely at the same point with the expiration of the first seven of Daniel’s seventy weeks—during which " the street was to be built again, and the wall even in troubulous times." Dan. 9. 25.
What are its general contents’? N. B. The building and fioishing of the wall in spite of the opposition they met with—the reading of the laws in a public assembly—the people’s renewal of their ancient engagements—the resettling of the city—and the reformation of abuses.
In whose reign and court did Nehemiah live, and what was his office? ch. 2.1. This Artaxerxes was the same person who gave to Ezra the excellent commission recited in that book ch. 7.
What melancholy information did he receive from his brother and how was he affected by it? v. 2—4.
What confessions and petitions are embraced in this prayer? 1 v. 5—11.
What ancient promise did he plead? Deut. 30.4.
What is ever the first duty of those who are projecting designs of public utility?
Are those whom God has raised to high and comfortable stations in the world still bound to "remember the afflictions of Joseph?" 1 Cor. 12.26.
Relate the circumstances of his interview with the king? v. 1—6.
Who is supposed to have been the queen that sat at this time by the king's side?
What letters did he ask of the king, and were they granted?
To whom did he deliver his letters on his arrival, and who were exceedingly disaffected at his coming?
What method did he take to acquaint himself with the real condition of the city and how did he find it? v. 11—16.
How did he then exholt and encourage his brethren to proceed with the work, and with what success?
How did their enemies represent their efforts, and what reply was made to them?
What contemptuous reflections were cast upon the builders by their enemies?
What was Nehemiah's humble and devout address to God on this occasion?
Was this prayer dictated by a spirit of personal resentment, or was it prophetical, and declaratory of the divine judgments against men who gave evidence of being judicially hardened?
Are many or most of the imprecations of David's Psalms to be interpreted on the same principle?
What does the Psalmist say of the effect of a good man's blessing and cursing? Ps. 37.22.
Had these malicious reproaches any effect upon those employed in the work? v. 6.
Did the rage of these men increase with the progress of the work, and to what did it finally excite them?
Was this a real and criminal conspiracy against the government and authority of the king?
Have the true followers of Christ more trouble to apprehend from those who have a nominal carnal religion than from any other source?
What precautions were taken to withstand them? What was Judah's desponding complaint, and what the enemy's subtle design?
How did Nehemiah receive information of their plans, and what did he do to frustrate them?
What prudent arrangements did he make that his men might be always in a posture of defence? V. 16—21.
What did he require of those that lived without the city, and what proof is given of the vigilance of the whole people?
What general complaint now arose from within to interrupt the harmony of their proceedings? V. 1—5.
What law of Moses was violated in this instance? Ex. 22. 25.
How was Nehemiah affected by their statements, and what did he say to the nobles and rulers? v. 6—11.
How did it appear that his remonstrance had the desired effect, and what farther did he do on the occasion ? v. 12, 13.
Ought professors to be extremely cautious of bringing a reproach upon religion by means of any thing connected with their pecuniary transactions?
What does Nehemiah say as to his own economical habits, and how does he contrast his conduct with that of his predecessors?
Was this done in a boasting spirit? 2 Cor. 11. 7—9.
What stratagem did Sanballat and his party devise to bring Nehemiah into a snare, and how was it baffled? v. 1—3.
How many times did they repeat the attempt, and to what did they then resort?
Did Sanballat send this notice of a pretended current report under a shew of friendship?
What was Nehemiah's answer to this? v. 8, 9.
What was their next cunning, but unavailing plot, as related by Nehemiah? v. 10—14.
What was Shemaiah's design in shutting himself up? N.B. Either to pretend that he was seeking retirement for prayer and meditation under the apprehensions of danger, or in this way to give Nehemiah a sign of what he also ought to do if he would consult his safety.
Are the people of God in special danger from temptations when they come under color of religion and devotion?
What was the main consideration that led him to decline seeking safety in that manner?v 11.
Does it become us, when solicited to sin, to remember what characters we sustain, and what professions we have made?
Ought we to be willing to lose our lives rather than desert the known path of duty, or do a dishonorable thing?
How long before the wall was finished, and what was the effect of it upon their adversaries?
What treacherous correspondence was carried on by some of the nobles of Judah, to the great mortification of Nehemiah? v.17—19.
Are there apt to be some in the church, in all ages, who are secretly in league with the enemy?
Having furnished the city with walls and gates, what was Nehemiah's next step? v. 1—3.
What circumstance rendered a strict watch more necessary? v. 4.
What other useful measure was suggested to Nehemiah? N.B. The design of this searching into the genealogy of the families was to ascertain who had formerly had their settlement in Jerusalem, that he might bring them back, or at least a tenth part of the people, to re-inhabit the city.
What donations were made to the sacred treasury?
At what time and place did the people assemble themselves together, and what precept had they an eye to in this affair? Lev. 23.23—25.
Who took the lead in improving the occasion for the instruction of the people ? N. B. " Some conjecture that Ezra had been at Babylon during the preceding events in which his name is not mentioned ; and that he had lately returned : but perhaps he had been privately occupied in his own line for the good of the people, and was well satisfied to leave public affairs entirely to Nehemiah." Scott.
Were the children also present, and what may we infer from this as to the duty of parents?
How long was the reading continued, and is this to be considered as a rule for us at present?
What arrangements were made for the convenience of Ezra and his associates on this occasion?
Was the bringing forth of the sacred volume attended with peculiar solemnity?
What other passage has a degree of similarity to this? Rev. 5.9.
What services were performed preparatory to the reading, and how did they make provision, that all the immense congregation might be able to hear?
What did they do besides merely reading the law? N.B. This "giving the sense" is supposed to be rather expounding, than translating the selected portions of the law.
Ought the exposition cf the Scriptures ever to be esteemed an important part of public worship?
How were the people affected on hearing the words of the law, and what charges did Nehemiah and Ezra give them? N.B. In contrast with this "sending portions" by reason of what they had now learned with joy from the word of God, we find those who (Rev. 11. 10.) slew the "two witnesses," i. e. suppressed the light of the Scriptures, the two witnessing; Testaments, together with that line of faithful pastors and teachers, whose testimony corresponded with them, rejoicing over their dead bodies, making merry, and sending gifts one to another. So different is the Spirit of Christ, from that of Antichrist; The one glorying in the light of divine truth, the other rejoicing in its extinction!
What occurred on the second day, and to what did it lead ? v. 13—18.
Do we learn from prophecy that this is typical of something which will occur in the period of the latter-day glory? Zech. 14.16—19.
Is the long previous disuse of any divine ordinance a sufficient reason for neglecting to restore the observance of it?
What other religious assembly was held by the people, and how long after the first?
What previous preparation had they made for the profitable observance of the fast?
Will our fasting and prayers be unavailing without the relinquishment of known sins?
What were the services of the occasion?
Does the prayer uttered on this occasion contain a compend of the history of the nation of Israel?
Is it proper for us in prayer to set the mercies of God as forcibly in contrast with our own unworthiness as possible?
What resolution did they come to in consideration of the divine goodness and of their own sins?
Did the whole congregation put their seals to this covenant, or only the chief men and rulers in the name of the rest?
What is said of the remainder of the common people, and of the proselytes? v. 28.
What were the prominent articles in this covenant? v. 30,31.
What did they engage to do for keeping up the temple-service? v. 32, 33.
How did they determine to provide wood for the altar?
What other requisitions of the law did they now resolve, by solemn covenant, to comply with?
Were they required literally to bring or devote their first-born children, cattle, &c. or merely the redemption-price prescribed in the law? Ex. 13. 12,15.
Are the people complained of by one of the prophets for having neglected to pay their tithes, and what is their sin called? Mai. 3. 8, 9.
What measures did they take for repeopling Jerusalem?
Which of the tribes furnished the largest quota of new inhabitants, and why? v. 4—8.
Who were sought for at the dedication of the wall, and how were they previously prepared for the service? v. 26—30. N. B. This dedication included a solemn consecration of the city to the honor of God, and to his gracious protection.
What were the ceremonies of the dedication? v. 31—43.
What new measures did they take for the maiatenance of their ministers?
What is meant by the porters "keeping the ward of purification?" N. B. Ward here signifies charge; and the words imply that they were vigilant in keeping the precincts of the Temple pure, by not permitting any thing ceremonially unclean to enter.
What did they find on a new occasion of reading the law, and what was the consequence? v. 1—3.
Where is this precept recorded and what was the reason of it? Deut. 23. 3—5. N. B. As this whole history of the return of the Jews from captivity, of their rebuilding the Temple, and restoring their ancient ritual, is doubtless typical of the glorious reformation that is to take place in the last ages of the world, this circumstance of separating the mixed multitude clearly points to the strictness which will then be exercised in maintaining a pure communion, and excluding all such from church fellowship as do not give evidence of belonging to the spiritual Israel. See Ezek. 44. 4—14.
What gross abomination had one of the chief men been guilty of, and how was the evil corrected? v. 4—9.
Where was Nehemiah at the time this impiety took place?
What other abuse had crept in among the people, and how did he proceed in effecting a reform? v. 10—13.
What prophet flourished about this time, who repeatedly refers to these abuses? Mal. 1. 9—14. and 3. 7—12.
Is the withholding maintenance from teachers of religion one of the surest methods of undermining its interests?
What instances of the profanation of the Sabbath did Nehemiah witness, and with whom and in what language did he expostulate? v. 15—18.
What did he do to prevent this enormity, and how did he supplicate the divine favor? v. 15—18.
Did he deem his good works as deserving a reward?
Is not the due observance of the holy Sabbath one of the last steps of reformation which will probably be effected in the Christian world?
What is the last instance recorded of the exercise of authority by Nehemiah, and upon whom especially was this act of discipline administered? N.B. The smiting and plucking off the hair here mentioned was not probably done by Nehemiah personally, but merely by his orders.
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