MAY 26

Chapter 13 records Nehemiah's second visit to Jerusalem. He found that the Jewish men had repeated the sin of taking heathen wives. In fact, some of the priests had even sinned in this way. It was now necessary for this courageous saint to face the sin and honestly judge it. He started at the house of God, when he discovered that the high priest was allied with the Jews' enemy, Tobiah. Nehemiah lost no time in throwing out Tobiah and his goods, and having the Temple chamber sanctified for its proper use.

The Book of Nehemiah closes with three prayers (verses 22,29, and 31). Nehemiah had done his work, but only God could bless it and keep it going. The time would come when Nehemiah would die, and the majority of the people would forget him. However, because of his faithfulness, God would never forget him.

The events recorded in the Book of Esther take place between Ezra 6 and 7. The third year of Ahasuerus (chapter 1:3) would be the year 483 b.c. Ahasuerus was the title of the Persian ruler, just as Pharaoh was the title of the Egyptian ruler. The Book of Esther does not mention the name of God, but the name of the king is mentioned at least 28 times.

The significance of the Book of Esther is that it testifies to the secret watchcare of Jehovah over dispersed Israel. Even though the word "Jehovah" does not appear in the book, His overruling providence is seen in every chapter.

King Xerxes ruled from 486 to 465 b.c. We can see from our reading that he was an impulsive ruler. At least four years passed between chapters 1 and 2, during which time King Xerxes went on his disastrous Greek campaign. He came home a bitter man. It was only natural that he should seek some kind of comfort in his home. In the latter part of chapter 2, King Xerxes makes Esther queen, to take the place of Vashti.

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