Blessed is the man to whom God does not impute iniquity, in whose spirit there is no deceit. Psalm 32:2

Nehemiah 3-4

The Builders of the Walls

1 Then Eliashib the high priest rose up with his brothers the priests, and they built the sheep gate. They dedicated it and set up its doors, working to the tower of Hammeah, to the tower of Hananel. 2 Next to Eliashib, the men of Jericho built. Next to them Zaccur the son of Imri built.

3 The sons of Hassenaah built the fish gate. They laid its beams and set up its doors, its bolts, and its bars. 4 Next to them, Meremoth the son of Uriah, the son of Hakkoz made repairs. Next to them, Meshullam the son of Berechiah, the son of Meshezabel made repairs. Next to them, Zadok the son of Baana made repairs. 5 Next to them, the Tekoites made repairs; but their nobles would not put their shoulders into the work of their master.

6 Joiada the son of Paseah and Meshullam the son of Besodeiah repaired the old gate. They laid its beams, and set up its doors, and its bolts, and its bars. 7 Next to them, Melatiah the Gibeonite, and Jadon the Meronothite, the men of Gibeon and of Mizpah, repaired the residence of the governor beyond the River. 8 Next to him, Uzziel the son of Harhaiah, goldsmiths, made repairs. Next to him, Hananiah, one of the perfumers, made repairs, and they fortified Jerusalem to the wide wall.

9 Next to them, Rephaiah the son of Hur, the ruler of half the district of Jerusalem, made repairs. 10 Next to them, Jedaiah the son of Harumaph made repairs across from his house. Next to him, Hattush the son of Hashabneiah made repairs. 11 Malchijah the son of Harim, and Hasshub the son of Pahathmoab, repaired another portion, and the tower of the furnaces. 12 Next to him, Shallum the son of Hallohesh, the ruler of half the district of Jerusalem, he and his daughters, made repairs.

13 Hanun and the inhabitants of Zanoah repaired the valley gate. They built it, and set up its doors, its bolts, and its bars, and 1,500 feet of the wall to the dung gate.

14 Malchijah the son of Rechab, the ruler of the district of Beth Haccherem repaired the dung gate. He built it, and set up its doors, its bolts, and its bars.

15 Shallun the son of Colhozeh, the ruler of the district of Mizpah repaired the spring gate. He built it, and covered it, and set up its doors, its bolts, and its bars, and the wall of the pool of Shelah by the king’s garden, to the stairs that go down from David’s city.

16 After him, Nehemiah the son of Azbuk, the ruler of half the district of Beth Zur, made repairs to the place opposite the tombs of David, and to the pool that was made, and to the house of the mighty men. 17 After him, the Levites, Rehum the son of Bani made repairs. Next to him, Hashabiah, the ruler of half the district of Keilah, made repairs for his district. 18 After him, their brothers, Bavvai the son of Henadad, the ruler of half the district of Keilah made repairs. 19 Next to him, Ezer the son of Jeshua, the ruler of Mizpah, repaired another portion, across from the ascent to the armory at the bend of the wall.

20 After him, Baruch the son of Zabbai earnestly repaired another portion, from the bend of the wall to the door of the house of Eliashib the high priest. 21 After him, Meremoth the son of Uriah the son of Hakkoz repaired another portion, from the door of the house of Eliashib to the end of the house of Eliashib. 22 After him, the priests, the men of the Plain made repairs.

23 After them, Benjamin and Hasshub made repairs across from their house. After them, Azariah the son of Maaseiah the son of Ananiah made repairs beside his own house. 24 After him, Binnui the son of Henadad repaired another portion, from the house of Azariah to the bend of the wall, and to the corner. 25 Palal the son of Uzai made repairs opposite the bend of the wall, and the tower that stands out from the upper house of the king, which is by the court of the guard. After him Pedaiah the son of Parosh made repairs. 26 (Now the temple servants lived in Ophel, to the place opposite the water gate toward the east, and the tower that stands out.) 27 After him the Tekoites repaired another portion, opposite the great tower that stands out, and to the wall of Ophel.

28 Above the horse gate, the priests made repairs, everyone across from his own house. 29 After them, Zadok the son of Immer made repairs across from his own house. After him, Shemaiah the son of Shecaniah, the keeper of the east gate made repairs. 30 After him, Hananiah the son of Shelemiah, and Hanun the sixth son of Zalaph, repaired another portion. After him, Meshullam the son of Berechiah made repairs across from his room. 31 After him, Malchijah, one of the goldsmiths to the house of the temple servants, and of the merchants, made repairs opposite the gate of Hammiphkad, and to the ascent of the corner. 32 Between the ascent of the corner and the sheep gate, the goldsmiths and the merchants made repairs.

Nehemiah 4

The Work is Ridiculed

1 But when Sanballat heard that we were building the wall, he was angry. He was furious and mocked the Jews. 2 He spoke before his brothers and the army of Samaria, and said,

“What are these feeble Jews doing? Will they fortify themselves? Will they sacrifice? Will they finish in a day? Will they revive the stones out of the heaps of rubbish, since they are burned?”

3 Now Tobiah the Ammonite was by him, and he said,

“What they are building, if a fox climbed up it, he would break down their stone wall.”

Prayer for Justice

4 “Hear, our God; for we are despised. Turn back their reproach on their own head. Give them up as plunder in a land of captivity. 5 Do not cover their iniquity. Do not let their sin be blotted out from before you; for they have insulted the builders.”

The Work Continues

6 So we built the wall; and all the wall was joined together to half its height: for the people had a mind to work.

7 But when Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabians, the Ammonites, and the Ashdodites heard that the repairing of the walls of Jerusalem went forward, and that the breaches began to be filled, they were very angry; 8 and they all conspired together to come and fight against Jerusalem, and to cause confusion among us.

9 But we made our prayer to our God, and set a watch against them day and night because of them.

10 In Judah they were saying,

“The strength of the laborers is fading, and there is much rubble; so that we are not able to build the wall.”

11 Our adversaries were saying,

“They will not know or see, until we come in among them and kill them, and cause the work to cease.”

12 When the Jews who lived by them came, they told us ten times,

“Wherever you turn, they will attack us.”

13 Therefore I set guards in the lowest parts of the space behind the wall, in the open places. I set the people by family groups with their swords, their spears, and their bows. 14 I looked, and rose up, and said to the nobles, to the rulers, and to the rest of the people, “Don’t be afraid of them! Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your houses.”

15 When our enemies heard that it was known to us, and God had brought their counsel to nothing, all of us returned to the wall, everyone to his work. 16 From that time forth, half of my servants did the work, and half of them held the spears, the shields, the bows, and the coats of mail; and the rulers were behind all the house of Judah. 17 Those who built the wall, and those who bore burdens loaded themselves; everyone with one of his hands did the work, and with the other held his weapon. 18 Among the builders, everyone wore his sword at his side, and so built. He who sounded the trumpet was by me. 19 I said to the nobles, and to the rulers and to the rest of the people, “The work is great and large, and we are separated on the wall, far from one another. 20 Wherever you hear the sound of the trumpet, rally there to us. Our God will fight for us.”

21 So we did the work. Half of the people held the spears from the rising of the morning until the stars appeared. 22 Likewise at the same time I said to the people, “Let everyone with his servant lodge within Jerusalem, that in the night they may be a guard to us, and may labor in the day.” 23 So neither I, nor my brothers, nor my servants, nor the men of the guard who followed me, none of us took off our clothes. Everyone took his weapon to the water.

1 Corinthians 7:25-40

Instructions to Unmarried and Widowed

25 Now concerning virgins, I have no commandment from the Lord, but I give my judgment as one who has obtained mercy from the Lord to be trustworthy. 26 Therefore I think that because of the distress that is on us, that it’s good for a man to remain as he is. 27 Are you bound to a wife? Don’t seek to be freed. Are you free from a wife? Don’t seek a wife. 28 But if you marry, you have not sinned. If a virgin marries, she has not sinned. Yet such will have oppression in the flesh, and I want to spare you. 29 But I say this, brothers: the time is short, that from now on, both those who have wives may be as though they had none; 30 and those who weep, as though they didn’t weep; and those who rejoice, as though they didn’t rejoice; and those who buy, as though they didn’t possess; 31 and those who use the world, as not using it to the fullest. For the mode of this world passes away.

32 But I desire to have you to be free from cares. He who is unmarried is concerned for the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord; 33 but he who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife. 34 There is also a difference between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman cares about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit. But she who is married cares about the things of the world—how she may please her husband. 35 This I say for your own profit; not that I may ensnare you, but for that which is appropriate, and that you may attend to the Lord without distraction.

36 But if any man thinks that he is behaving inappropriately toward his virgin, if she is past the flower of her age, and if need so requires, let him do what he desires. He doesn’t sin. Let them marry. 37 But he who stands steadfast in his heart, having no urgency, but has power over his own will, and has determined in his own heart to keep his own virgin, does well. 38 So then both he who gives his own virgin in marriage does well, and he who doesn’t give her in marriage does better.

39 A wife is bound by law for as long as her husband lives; but if the husband is dead, she is free to be married to whomever she desires, only in the Lord. 40 But she is happier if she stays as she is, in my judgment, and I think that I also have the Spirit of the Lord.

Psalm 32

By David. A contemplative psalm.
1 Blessed is he whose disobedience is forgiven,
whose sin is covered.
2 Blessed is the man to whom God doesn’t impute iniquity,
in whose spirit there is no deceit.
3 When I kept silence, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.
4 For day and night your hand was heavy on me.
My strength was sapped in the heat of summer.
Selah.
5 I acknowledged my sin to you.
I didn’t hide my iniquity.
I said, I will confess my transgressions to God,
and you forgave the iniquity of my sin.
Selah.
6 For this, let everyone who is godly pray to you in a time when you may be found.
Surely when the great waters overflow, they shall not reach to him.
7 You are my hiding place.
You will preserve me from trouble.
You will surround me with songs of deliverance.
Selah.
8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you shall go.
I will counsel you with my eye on you.
9 Don’t be like the horse, or like the mule, which have no understanding,
who are controlled by bit and bridle, or else they will not come near to you.
10 Many sorrows come to the wicked,
but loving kindness shall surround him who trusts in God.
11 Be glad in God, and rejoice, you righteous!
Shout for joy, all you who are upright in heart!

Proverbs 21:5-7

5 The plans of the diligent surely lead to profit;
and everyone who is hasty surely rushes to poverty.
6 Getting treasures by a lying tongue
is a fleeting vapor for those who seek death.
7 The violence of the wicked will drive them away,
because they refuse to do what is right.

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