My synopsis is from reading the New American Standard Bible and the King James. I totally endorse the King James Bible, but the way my brain works, I just have a very difficult time understanding what I am reading at times. So to help explain it, I do reference some other translations. However, the KJV, I believe, is the number one standard to use. I know that sounds confusing and makes little sense- if I believe it is the best Engish translation, but, it is where my head is at for now.
As visual artist/creative person that I am, reading the KJV, is sort of like solving math problems. Might I say, my first semester of math in grade nine was 29%! I think old english accesses the left lobe of the grey matter, like math does. My right lobe, never shuts down, but the left…well, all I can say is, I hope that makes some sense.
I don't believe it is a sin to use another translation, but I do think it gets too confusing when we do not have one standard to use as a plumb line. On that note, here are the notes from the study my husband and I are doing (well my notes anyway) We decided, instead of just reading the Bible out loud, while I doze off (it's his soothing voice that does it), we could both take 30 minutes, read the chapter and write what we believe it was about. Thought it would be fun to post it in this blog. You know, since I didn't keep up with my earlier "inductive" study plans.
Chapter 1 (we are doing Nehemiah because our Bible study leader is going to take us through it this year- thought it would be good to do home work ahead of time, instead of winging it the night of.)
Nehemiah is cupbearer to the king Artaxerxes.
The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, the gates burned with fire. And there is a remnant who escaped captivity and are in distress.
When Nehemiah heard about this he was distraught and prayed to the God of Heaven, fasted, wept and mourned for days.
Nehemiah confesses sins, on behalf of his people Israel, as well as those within his own house. He says that they have basically rebelled against God by not following the Lord's commandments that He gave to Moses. And Nehemiah does acknowledge that God warned them that His people would be scattered if they were unfaithful to Him.
However, Nehemiah points out that God said *even though your outcasts are in uttermost parts of Heaven," (verse 9), He would gather them and bring them to the place where He has has chosen to make His Name dwell there. Of course if they repent, keep His commandments and turn from their sins, back to the true God then he will restore them.
It was the month of Nisan, (I looked it up and Nisan means: Nisan = Nisan = 1. "their flight" or 2. the 1st month of the Jewish calendar corresponding to March or April)
Nehemiah was giving wine to the king and the king asked why he was so sad, after all he was not ill or anything. Nehemiah hadn't displayed such an emotion in front of Artaxerxes before .
Nehemiah explains to the king how he is basically heart sick for his people because their homeland lies in ruins and also, many have perished. The king asks him what does he want to request of him? Nehemiah prayed to God to give him favour with the king, to release him, in order to be able to go and rebuild Jerusalem. The king (and his queen was present) asked how long he would be gone? When Nehemiah told him, he was thankful for God granting him favour with the king, because he was letting him go to rebuild. He also asked for special letters from the king that I assume, authorized him to pass through certain places in order to safely get to his destination. As well he was given a letter to the person in charge of the forest, so he could obtain timber for the rebuild of Jerusalem.
As Nehemiah journeyed with some officers of the army and horsemen, there were two men he encountered who were not happy with the favour and care being given to the Israelites. Sanballat the Horonite (a Horonite is Horonite = "native of Horonaim" an inhabitant of Horonaim in Moab
the designation of Sanballat, the opponent of Nehemiah)
and Tobiah the Ammonite (Ammonite = see Ammon "tribal"
descendants of Ammon and inhabitants of Ammon)
He got through and stayed in Jerusalem three days but had told no one what God had put in his heart to do. All he had was his horse with him. He inspected the walls and gate. When he went to the Fountain Gate and the King's pool, apparently his horse wouldn't fit. Not sure if this was a gate or not. The officials (I assume the Israelites in Jerusalem) didn't know where he had gone or what Nehemiah was up to. In fact these would be the ones he expected to do the work - the priests, nobles and officials and the rest.
He lets them know about the favour God has given him with the King and what his plans are for rebuilding. They agree to do it but those two opposing fellows, Sanballat and Tobiah and an other, called Gesham the Arab find out about and they give them a really hard time, despising them, asking if they are rebelling against the king?
Nehemiah tells them that the "God of Heaven will make us prosper, and we His servants will arise and build, but you have no portion or right or claim in Jerusalem."