Reflection on Nehemiah 5:14-19

“And from the day, in which the king commanded me to be governor in the land of Juda, from the twentieth year even to the two and thirtieth year of Artaxerxes the king, for twelve years, I and my brethren did not eat the yearly allowance that was due to the governors.  But the former governors that had been before me, were chargeable to the people, and took of them in bread, and wine, and in money every day forty sides: and their officers also oppressed the people. But I did not so for the fear of God.  Moreover I built in the work of the wall, and I bought no land, and all my servants were gathered together to the work.  The Jews also and the magistrates to the number of one hundred and fifty men, were at my table, besides them that came to us from among the nations that were round about us.  And there was prepared for me day by day one ox, and six choice rams, be- sides fowls, and once in ten days I gave store of divers wines, and many other things: yet I did not require my yearly allowance as governor: for the people were very much impoverished. Remember me, O my God, for good according to all that I have done for this people.” (Nehemiah 5:14-19)

Literal Sense:  Nehemiah was not like the previous governors who imposed financial burdens upon the people.  In fact, Nehemiah fed 150 Jews and magistrates, as well as others at his own expense and he did so without requiring of the people the yearly allowance which was due to the governor.  Instead of seeking compensation from the impoverished people, Nehemiah asked God to reward him for what he had done.

Allegorical Sense:  Like Nehemiah, Jesus did not require of the people those things that were rightly due to him, such as honor, respect, acknowledgment of His authority and identity, etc.  Instead, Christ looked to His Father to reward Him for what He had done, and God the Father exalted His Son as a result.

Moral Sense:  Often people do not compensate us for what we do.  People may not show us the proper respect due, or deliver unto us the appropriate wages our services earn.  Like Nehemiah and Jesus who did not demand what was due to them but looked to God for their reward, we too ought to overlook transgressions, forgive debts and accept a more humble position than the one we could rightly demand.

Anagogical Sense:  Though people may overlook our good deeds or fail to render unto us according to what we have done, God will one day reward us for our service and render unto us according to what we have done, whether it be good or bad.

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