Workers For Jesus Online Bible Study Table of Contents

About this Bible Study........The King James Version of the Bible is written in a beautiful form of the English language. It can be hard for modern English readers to understand.  In this study, you will find notes and summaries in brown just above the the verses from the Bible. We recommend that you read the notes and summaries first, and then read the verses in their KJV form. 

Map from

The Persian Empire covered many areas. It included the modern-day countries of Israel, Jordan, Syria, Iraq, Iran Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Turkey.

The Persian kings named in the Bible were Cyrus, Ahasruerus, Artaxerxes, and Darius.

The Book of Nehemiah

God allowed the people from Babylon to take the tribe of Judah, the Jews, away. They took them back to Babylon. The Jews lived in Babylon for about 70 years. Then, Cyrus became king of Persia (now called Iran). Persia defeated Babylon, and Cyrus said that the Jews could return to Jerusalem.

Ezra was a scribe (secretary, historian). He wrote down the history of the Jews going back to Jerusalem. He also led some of the Jews back to Jerusalem.

Nehemiah also went back to Jerusalem. He was sad  because Jerusalem had not been repaired. He led the Jews to rebuild the wall around the city. Later, he became the governor of Judah.

People who study the Bible believe that Ezra wrote both books of the Bible: Ezra and Nehemiah.

Bible Timeline
Here is a good timeline to see the book of Nehemiah in the history of the Bible


Nehemiah 7 - 9
Nehemiah takes a census (counts the Jewish people).
Ezra reads the book of God's laws.
The Jews celebrate the Feast of the Tabernacles.
The Jews confess their sins and promise to obey God.

Nehemiah 7

The wall and gates are finished.

The wall was finished. The doors were set up on the wall. The temple workers, singers, and Levites were ready to do their jobs. Nehemiah put 2 men in charge of Jerusalem. They were his brother, Hanani, and Hananiah who was in charge of the palace. Hananiah was a faithful man who loved and respected God more than other people did.
[1] Now it came to pass, when the wall was built, and I had set up the doors, and the porters and the singers and the Levites were appointed,
[2] That I gave my brother Hanani, and Hananiah the ruler of the palace, charge over Jerusalem: for he was a faithful man, and feared God above many.

Nehemiah told Hanani and Hananiah what to do. They should not open the city gates until the sun was hot each day. At night, the guards should watch while they shut and locked the doors. They should assign people who live in Jerusalem to take turns guarding the wall. Everyone else should guard near their own homes.
[3] And I said unto them, Let not the gates of Jerusalem be opened until the sun be hot; and while they stand by, let them shut the doors, and bar them: and appoint watches of the inhabitants of Jerusalem, every one in his watch, and every one to be over against his house.

Jerusalem was a very big city, but not many people lived there. There were no houses built yet.
[4] Now the city was large and great: but the people were few therein, and the houses were not builded.


Nehemiah takes a census (counts the Jewish people).

God told Nehemiah to bring together the people and the leaders. Nehemiah should count them and list them by families. He found a list of the families that first came back to Judah from Babylon (now part of Persia).

[5] And my God put into mine heart to gather together the nobles, and the rulers, and the people, that they might be reckoned by genealogy. And I found a register of the genealogy of them which came up at the first, and found written therein,

Many years ago, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon took the Jews away from Judah. Now they have come back. They have come back to their families' cities. Here is the list of the people who came back to Judah.
[6] These are the children of the province, that went up out of the captivity, of those that had been carried away, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away, and came again to Jerusalem and to Judah, every one unto his city;

The Jews came back with these men:  Zerubbabel, Jeshua, Nehemiah, Azariah, Raamiah, Nahamani, Mordecai, Bilshan, Mispereth, Bigvai, Nehum, Baanan.
[7] Who came with Zerubbabel, Jeshua, Nehemiah, Azariah, Raamiah, Nahamani, Mordecai, Bilshan, Mispereth, Bigvai, Nehum, Baanah. The number, I say, of the men of the people of Israel was this;

This is a list of the family leaders and the number of people in their families who came back to Judah:

Family leader Number of people in the family
Parosh 2,172
Shephatiah 372
Arah 652
Pahath-moab 2,818
Elam 1,254
Zattu 860
Zaccai 760
Binnui 648
Bebai 628
Azgad 2,322
Adonikam 667
Adin 655
Ater (part of Hezekiah's family) 98
Hashum 328
Bezai 324
Hariph 112
Gibeon 95
This section lists places. They are the places where each family's ancestors lived.
Bethlehem and Netophah 188
Anathoth 128
Beth-azmaveth 42
Kirjath-jearim, Chephirah, and Beeroth 743
Ramah and Geba 621
Michmas 122
Bethel and Ai 123
Nebo 52
Elam 1,254
Harim 320
Jericho 345
Lod, Hadid, and Ono 721
Senaah 3,930
Priests from the family of Jedaiah and Jeshua 973
Immer 1,052
Pashur 1,247
Harim 1,017
Levites from the families of Jeshua, Kadmiel, Hodevah 74
Singers from the family of Asaph 148
Temple guards from the families of Shallum, Ater, Talmon, Akkub, Hatita, Shobai 138

(see chart at left)
[8] The children of Parosh, two thousand an hundred seventy and two.
[9] The children of Shephatiah, three hundred seventy and two.
[10] The children of Arah, six hundred fifty and two.
[11] The children of Pahath-moab, of the children of Jeshua and Joab, two thousand and eight hundred and eighteen.
[12] The children of Elam, a thousand two hundred fifty and four.
[13] The children of Zattu, eight hundred forty and five.
[14] The children of Zaccai, seven hundred and threescore.
[15] The children of Binnui, six hundred forty and eight.
[16] The children of Bebai, six hundred twenty and eight.
[17] The children of Azgad, two thousand three hundred twenty and two.
[18] The children of Adonikam, six hundred threescore and seven.
[19] The children of Bigvai, two thousand threescore and seven.
[20] The children of Adin, six hundred fifty and five.
[21] The children of Ater of Hezekiah, ninety and eight.
[22] The children of Hashum, three hundred twenty and eight.
[23] The children of Bezai, three hundred twenty and four.
[24] The children of Hariph, an hundred and twelve.
[25] The children of Gibeon, ninety and five.
[26] The men of Bethlehem and Netophah, an hundred fourscore and eight.
[27] The men of Anathoth, an hundred twenty and eight.
[28] The men of Beth-azmaveth, forty and two.
[29] The men of Kirjath-jearim, Chephirah, and Beeroth, seven hundred forty and three.
[30] The men of Ramah and Geba, six hundred twenty and one.
[31] The men of Michmas, an hundred and twenty and two.
[32] The men of Bethel and Ai, an hundred twenty and three.
[33] The men of the other Nebo, fifty and two.
[34] The children of the other Elam, a thousand two hundred fifty and four.
[35] The children of Harim, three hundred and twenty.
[36] The children of Jericho, three hundred forty and five.
[37] The children of Lod, Hadid, and Ono, seven hundred twenty and one.
[38] The children of Senaah, three thousand nine hundred and thirty.
[39] The priests: the children of Jedaiah, of the house of Jeshua, nine hundred seventy and three.
[40] The children of Immer, a thousand fifty and two.
[41] The children of Pashur, a thousand two hundred forty and seven.
[42] The children of Harim, a thousand and seventeen.
[43] The Levites: the children of Jeshua, of Kadmiel, and of the children of Hodevah, seventy and four.
[44] The singers: the children of Asaph, an hundred forty and eight.
[45] The porters: the children of Shallum, the children of Ater, the children of Talmon, the children of Akkub, the children of Hatita, the children of Shobai, an hundred thirty and eight.


The Nethinims (temple workers) were from many different families. This is a list of the Nethinims' families' leaders: Ziha, Hashupha, Tabbaoth, Keros, Sia, Padon, Lebana, Hagaba, Shalmai, Hanan, Giddel, Gahar, Reaiah, Rezin, Nekoda, Gazzam, Uzza, Phaseah, Besai, Meunim, Nephishesim, Bakbuk, Hakupha, Harhur, Bazlith, Mehida, Harsha, Barkos, Sisera, Tamah, Neziah, and Hatipha.
[46] The Nethinims: the children of Ziha, the children of Hashupha, the children of Tabbaoth,
[47] The children of Keros, the children of Sia, the children of Padon,
[48] The children of Lebana, the children of Hagaba, the children of Shalmai,
[49] The children of Hanan, the children of Giddel, the children of Gahar,
[50] The children of Reaiah, the children of Rezin, the children of Nekoda,
[51] The children of Gazzam, the children of Uzza, the children of Phaseah,
[52] The children of Besai, the children of Meunim, the children of Nephishesim,
[53] The children of Bakbuk, the children of Hakupha, the children of Harhur,
[54] The children of Bazlith, the children of Mehida, the children of Harsha,
[55] The children of Barkos, the children of Sisera, the children of Tamah,
[56] The children of Neziah, the children of Hatipha.

Some of the Jews who came back to Judah were descendants of Solomon's workers. They were from these families: Sotai, Sophereth, Perida, Jaala, Darkon, Giddel, Shephatiah, Hattil, Pochereth (from the area named Zebaim), and Amon.
[57] The children of Solomon's servants: the children of Sotai, the children of Sophereth, the children of Perida,
[58] The children of Jaala, the children of Darkon, the children of Giddel,
[59] The children of Shephatiah, the children of Hattil, the children of Pochereth of Zebaim, the children of Amon.

There were 392 Nethinims and descendants of Solomon's workers

[60] All the Nethinims, and the children of Solomon's servants, were three hundred ninety and two.

There were 642 people who said they were Jewish, but they could not prove it. They were from the families of Delaiah, Tobiah, and Nekoda. Before they came back to Judah, they lived in the Babylonian areas named Telmelah, Telharesha, Cherub, Addon, and Immer.
[61] And these were they which went up also from Telmelah, Telharesha, Cherub, Addon, and Immer: but they could not shew their father's house, nor their seed, whether they were of Israel.
[62] The children of Delaiah, the children of Tobiah, the children of Nekoda, six hundred forty and two.


Urim and Thummim

The priests used the Urim and Thummim to learn God's will (what God wanted them to do or what God wanted to happen).  No one really knows what the Urim and Thummim looked like. They are mysterious.

The first time the Urim and Thummin are in the Bible is in the book of Exodus, chapter 28 and verse 30. God told Moses to put the Urim and Thummim in the priest's breastplate (clothing).

In the book of Numbers, chapter 24 verse 21, the Bible says that Moses talked to God himself. But Joshua will know God's will from Eleazar the priest. God will show His will with the Urim and Thummim. Then Eleazar will tell Joshua.

In Deuteronomy 33:8, Moses says the Levites will use the Urim and Thummim to know God's will.

In other parts of the Bible, people "cast lots" to see God's will.  Some people who study the Bible think that casting lots may be the same as using Urim and Thummim.

Some of the people said they were Jewish and from the priests' family, but they could not prove it. They wanted to be priests.  But the Jewish governor (called the Tirshatha) said they could not eat any of the sacrificed food yet. They had to wait until a priest could use the Urim and Thummin to prove they were priests. This group of people came from a few different families. They were descendants of Habaiah, Koz, and Barzaillai.

Back when David arrived in the place named Mahanaim, some people helped him. One of the men was Barzillai. He was  from the place named Rogelim in the area of Gilead. Barzillai and the other men gave David and his people things to eat and drink.

[63] And of the priests: the children of Habaiah, the children of Koz, the children of Barzillai, which took one of the daughters of Barzillai the Gileadite to wife, and was called after their name.
[64] These sought their register among those that were reckoned by genealogy, but it was not found: therefore were they, as polluted, put from the priesthood.
[65] And the Tirshatha said unto them, that they should not eat of the most holy things, till there stood up a priest with Urim and Thummim.

In all, there were 42,360 Jews now in Judah. There were also 7,337 servants and 245 male and female singers.
[66] The whole congregation together was forty and two thousand three hundred and threescore,
[67] Beside their manservants and their maidservants, of whom there were seven thousand three hundred thirty and seven: and they had two hundred forty and five singing men and singing women.

They also counted the animals. There were 736 horses, 245 mules, 435 camels, and 6,720 donkeys.
[68] Their horses, seven hundred thirty and six: their mules, two hundred forty and five:
[69] Their camels, four hundred thirty and five: six thousand seven hundred and twenty asses.

The leaders and the people gave valuable things to help with the work. The Tirshatha (Jewish governor) gave 1,000 drams of gold (about 4 pounds), 50 large bowls, and 530 pieces of priests' clothes.
[70] And some of the chief of the fathers gave unto the work. The Tirshatha gave to the treasure a thousand drams of gold, fifty basons, five hundred and thirty priests' garments.

Some of the Jewish leaders gave 20,000 drams of gold (about 86 pounds)  and 2,200 pounds of silver.
[71] And some of the chief of the fathers gave to the treasure of the work twenty thousand drams of gold, and two thousand and two hundred pound of silver.

The other Jewish people gave 20,000 drams of gold (about 86 pounds), 2,000 pounds of silver, and 67 pieces of priests' clothes.
[72] And that which the rest of the people gave was twenty thousand drams of gold, and two thousand pound of silver, and threescore and seven priests' garments.

These were the months in the Jewish calendar:
  1. Nissan
  2. Iyar
  3. Sivan
  4. Tamuz
  5. Av
  6. Elul
  7. Tishrei
  8. Cheshvan
  9. Kislev
  10. Tevet
  11. Shevat
  12. Adar I
  13. (Adar II)

By the 7th month of the year, many of the Jewish people lived in Jerusalem again.  The priests, Levites, temple guards, singers, temple workers, and others lived in the city.
[73] So the priests, and the Levites, and the porters, and the singers, and some of the people, and the Nethinims, and all Israel, dwelt in their cities; and when the seventh month came, the children of Israel were in their cities.

Ezra reads God's laws to the Jewish people.

Nehemiah 8

The Jewish people all met together on the street in front of the water gate. They asked Ezra the scribe (secretary, historian) to bring the Book of Laws. These were the laws that God had given to Moses for Israel.
[1] And all the people gathered themselves together as one man into the street that was before the water gate; and they spake unto Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses, which the LORD had commanded to Israel.

Ezra brought the book and read it aloud so everyone could hear it. He read it to all of the men, women, and children  who could understand and who were standing by the water gate. He read it from the morning until the middle of the day. Everyone paid close attention.
[2] And Ezra the priest brought the law before the congregation both of men and women, and all that could hear with understanding, upon the first day of the seventh month.
[3] And he read therein before the street that was before the water gate from the morning until midday, before the men and the women, and those that could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive unto the book of the law.


Ezra reads God's laws to the Jews
Graphic from

The Jews had made a special wooden place for Ezra to stand. He stood there while he read the Book of Laws. Some men stood with him on each side. The men on the right side were Mattithiah, Shema, Anaiah, Urijah, Hilkiah, and Maaseiah.  The men on the left side were Pedaiah, Mishael, Malchiah, Hashum, Hashbadana, Zechariah, and Meshullam.
[4] And Ezra the scribe stood upon a pulpit of wood, which they had made for the purpose; and beside him stood Mattithiah, and Shema, and Anaiah, and Urijah, and Hilkiah, and Maaseiah, on his right hand; and on his left hand, Pedaiah, and Mishael, and Malchiah, and Hashum, and Hashbadana, Zechariah, and Meshullam.

Ezra stood high up so that everyone could see him. He opened the Book of Laws. Everyone saw him open the book, and they stood up.
[5] And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people; (for he was above all the people;) and when he opened it, all the people stood up:

Ezra blessed the Lord God and said the Lord God is great. All of the people answered. They said, "Amen, Amen." They lifted their hands and bowed their heads. They put their faces on the ground and worshiped God.
[6] And Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God. And all the people answered, Amen, Amen, with lifting up their hands: and they bowed their heads, and worshipped the LORD with their faces to the ground.

Some of the Levites helped explain the Laws while Ezra read them.  The Levites who helped were Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodijah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, and Pelaiah. Other Levites helped, too.  The Jews continued to stand in their places and listen.
[7] Also Jeshua, and Bani, and Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodijah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, and the Levites, caused the people to understand the law: and the people stood in their place.

They read the Book of Laws clearly and helped all of the Jews to understand it.
[8] So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading.

The Jewish people started crying when they heard God's laws. Nehemiah (the governor), Ezra (the scribe), and the Levites told the Jewish people that today is a holy day to God. They should not cry and be sad.
[9] And Nehemiah, which is the Tirshatha, and Ezra the priest the scribe, and the Levites that taught the people, said unto all the people, This day is holy unto the LORD your God; mourn not, nor weep. For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the law.

Nehemiah told them to celebrate. They should eat and drink. They should share food with the people who don't have any food. It is a holy day. They should not feel sad. They should be happy, and God will make them strong.
[10] Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your strength.

The Levites helped to calm them. They told them that it was a holy day, and they should not be sad.
[11] So the Levites stilled all the people, saying, Hold your peace, for the day is holy; neither be ye grieved.

The Jews understood, and then they started to celebrate. They ate and drank. They shared with others.
[12] And all the people went their way to eat, and to drink, and to send portions, and to make great mirth, because they had understood the words that were declared unto them.


The Jews celebrate the Feast of the Tabernacles.

From the book of Leviticus, chapter 23

The Feast of the Tabernacles will be after they harvest the food they grew. The celebration will start on the 15th day of the the month. They should not work on the 1st day or the 8th day.
[39] Also in the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when ye have gathered in the fruit of the land, ye shall keep a feast unto the LORD seven days: on the first day shall be a sabbath, and on the eighth day shall be a sabbath.

The Israelites should build little houses with tree branches during the Feast of the Tabernacles.  They should use palm trees and willow trees. They should live in the little houses during the celebration.  This will remind them of the years they lived outside in the wilderness after they left Egypt. This will be a rule forever for the Israelites.
[40] And ye shall take you on the first day the boughs of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook; and ye shall rejoice before the LORD your God seven days.
[41] And ye shall keep it a feast unto the LORD seven days in the year. It shall be a statute for ever in your generations: ye shall celebrate it in the seventh month.
[42] Ye shall dwell in booths seven days; all that are Israelites born shall dwell in booths:
[43] That your generations may know that I made the children of Israel to dwell in booths, when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.


On the second day, the leaders, priests, and Levites met with Ezra. They were studying the Book of Laws. They saw that God told Moses to have a special celebration in the 7th month of the year
(Tishrei). They should stay in booths (please see box at left).

[13] And on the second day were gathered together the chief of the fathers of all the people, the priests, and the Levites, unto Ezra the scribe, even to understand the words of the law.
[14] And they found written in the law which the LORD had commanded by Moses, that the children of Israel should dwell in booths in the feast of the seventh month:

They should tell everyone to go and find branches--olive, pine, myrtle, palm. They should also find branches from thick trees to build the small houses. This was written in God's Laws.
[15] And that they should publish and proclaim in all their cities, and in Jerusalem, saying, Go forth unto the mount, and fetch olive branches, and pine branches, and myrtle branches, and palm branches, and branches of thick trees, to make booths, as it is written.

The Jews went out and found branches. They built little houses on the roofs of their homes, in their yards, in the courtyard area of God's Temple, in the street by the water gate, and in the street by the gate of Ephraim.
[16] So the people went forth, and brought them, and made themselves booths, every one upon the roof of his house, and in their courts, and in the courts of the house of God, and in the street of the water gate, and in the street of the gate of Ephraim.

Everyone who had come back to Judah made little houses and sat in them.  It was the first time to celebrate the Feast of the Tabernacles since the time of Joshua. Everyone was very happy.
[17] And all the congregation of them that were come again out of the captivity made booths, and sat under the booths: for since the days of Jeshua the son of Nun unto that day had not the children of Israel done so. And there was very great gladness.

During the 7 days of the Feast of Tabernacles, Ezra read the book of God's Laws. Everyone continued the feast for 7 days. On the 8th day, they had a worship service like the law said to do.
[18] Also day by day, from the first day unto the last day, he read in the book of the law of God. And they kept the feast seven days; and on the eighth day was a solemn assembly, according unto the manner.

The Jews confess their sins.

Nehemiah 9

On the 24th day of the month, the Jews met together. They were fasting (not eating) and wore rough and scratchy clothes. They put dirt on themselves.
[1] Now in the twenty and fourth day of this month the children of Israel were assembled with fasting, and with sackclothes, and earth upon them.

This special time was for the Jews only. They did not allow people who were not Jewish.  They stood up and confessed their sins. They confessed the sins of their fathers, grandfathers, and ancestors.
[2] And the seed of Israel separated themselves from all strangers, and stood and confessed their sins, and the iniquities of their fathers.

During 1/4 of the day, they stood and read the Book of Laws from God.  During another 1/4 of the day, they confessed their sins and worshiped God.
[3] And they stood up in their place, and read in the book of the law of the LORD their God one fourth part of the day; and another fourth part they confessed, and worshipped the LORD their God.

Some of the Levites stood up on the stairs. They cried very loudly to God. These Levites were Jeshua, Bani, Kadmiel, Shebaniah, Bunni, Sherebiah, Bani, and Chenani.
[4] Then stood up upon the stairs, of the Levites, Jeshua, and Bani, Kadmiel, Shebaniah, Bunni, Sherebiah, Bani, and Chenani, and cried with a loud voice unto the LORD their God.

Some of the Levites told the people to stand up and pray. They told them to bless God forever. They said that God's name is glorious. God's name is more glorious than anyone can say. The Levites who prayed were Jeshua, Kadmiel, Bani, Hashabniah, Sherebiah, Hodijah, Shebaniah, and Pethahiah. 
[5] Then the Levites, Jeshua, and Kadmiel, Bani, Hashabniah, Sherebiah, Hodijah, Shebaniah, and Pethahiah, said, Stand up and bless the LORD your God for ever and ever: and blessed be thy glorious name, which is exalted above all blessing and praise.


This prayer reminds the Jews about their history. It tells about these events:

The story of Abraham. God chose Abraham and his descendants to be special to him.

The Israelites leave Egypt.

The Israelites' journey to Canaan.

God helps the Israelites take Canaan

The Israelites sin, and the Assyrians and Babylonians take the Israelites away.

It ends with a promise. The Jews promise to obey God's laws from now on.

This is the prayer.

God, you are the only Lord. You made the skies, and you made heaven. You made all of the things in heaven. You made the earth. You made everything that is on the earth. You made the oceans and seas. You made everything that is in the oceans and seas. You save them all. The angels in heaven worship you.

[6] Thou, even thou, art LORD alone; thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth, and all things that are therein, the seas, and all that is therein, and thou preservest them all; and the host of heaven worshippeth thee.

You are the Lord God. You chose Abram, and you brought Abram out of the area named Ur. The people named the Chaldees lived in the area of Ur. Then  God, you gave Abram a new name. You changed his name to Abraham.
[7] Thou art the LORD the God, who didst choose Abram, and broughtest him forth out of Ur of the Chaldees, and gavest him the name of Abraham;

You found that Abraham had a faithful heart for you. Then you made a promise to him. You gave Abraham the land of Canaan. The people who lived in Canaan were the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzitess, the Jebusites, and the Girgashites. You gave the land to Abraham for him to give to his descendants.  You have kept your promise because you are good.
[8] And foundest his heart faithful before thee, and madest a covenant with him to give the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Jebusites, and the Girgashites, to give it, I say, to his seed, and hast performed thy words; for thou art righteous:

You saw the suffering of the Israelites in Egypt. You heard them cry when they were by the Red Sea.

[9] And didst see the affliction of our fathers in Egypt, and heardest their cry by the Red sea;

You did miracles, and Pharaoh and his workers saw those miracles. All of the people in Egypt knew that God did the miracles. They knew your name and still know your name today. You divided the sea for the Israelites. The Israelites walked across the middle of the sea on dry land. But the Egyptians could not walk across on dry land, and they drowned. They went down in the water like a rock that is thrown on water.
[10] And shewedst signs and wonders upon Pharoah, and on all his servants, and on all the people of his land: for thou knewest that they dealt proudly against them. So didst thou get thee a name, as it is this day.
[11] And thou didst divide the sea before them, so that they went through the midst of the sea on the dry land; and their persecutors thou threwest into the deeps, as a stone into the mighty waters.

You also led the Israelites. In the daytime, you were a pillar of cloud. In the night, you were a pillar of fire. You made light to show them which way to go.
[12] Moreover thou leddest them in the day by a cloudy pillar; and in the night by a pillar of fire, to give them light in the way wherein they should go.

You came down to Mt. Sinai. You talked from heaven, and gave your laws to the Israelites. They are good and true laws.
[13] Thou camest down also upon mount Sinai, and spakest with them from heaven, and gavest them right judgments, and true laws, good statutes and commandments:

You told the Israelites to keep the sabbath day holy. You gave your laws to the Israelites through Moses.
[14] And madest known unto them thy holy sabbath, and commandedst them precepts, statutes, and laws, by the hand of Moses thy servant:

You gave the Israelites bread from heaven (manna). You brought water out of the rock for them to drink. You promised to give them Canaan. You told them to go into Canaan.
[15] And gavest them bread from heaven for their hunger, and broughtest forth water for them out of the rock for their thirst, and promisedst them that they should go in to possess the land which thou hadst sworn to give them.

But the Israelites were too proud and stubborn. They did not obey God.
[16] But they and our fathers dealt proudly, and hardened their necks, and hearkened not to thy commandments,

The Israelites refused to obey God. They did not remember the miracles that God did for them. They were stubborn. They picked a leader to take them back to Egypt. But you, God, did not get mad fast. You are forgiving and kind. You did not give up on the Israelites.
[17] And refused to obey, neither were mindful of thy wonders that thou didst among them; but hardened their necks, and in their rebellion appointed a captain to return to their bondage: but thou art a God ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and forsookest them not.

The Israelites made a golden calf. They started to worship the calf and say that the calf helped them leave Egypt. That made you very mad. But you had mercy and did not leave them alone in the wilderness. You continued to lead them with the pillar of cloud in the daytime and the pillar of fire at night.
[18] Yea, when they had made them a molten calf, and said, This is thy God that brought thee up out of Egypt, and had wrought great provocations;
[19] Yet thou in thy manifold mercies forsookest them not in the wilderness: the pillar of the cloud departed not from them by day, to lead them in the way; neither the pillar of fire by night, to shew them light, and the way wherein they should go.

You were always good and taught them. You did not stop sending the manna. You continued to give them water.
[20] Thou gavest also thy good spirit to instruct them, and withheldest not thy manna from their mouth, and gavest them water for their thirst.

You kept them alive in the desert for 40 years. They had everything they needed. Their clothes did not get old. Their feet did not swell.
[21] Yea, forty years didst thou sustain them in the wilderness, so that they lacked nothing; their clothes waxed not old, and their feet swelled not.

You help them defeat other countries and kingdoms. They took control of other lands. The Israelites took the land named Sihon, the land of the king of Heshbon, and the land named Bashan with its king named Og.
[22] Moreover thou gavest them kingdoms and nations, and didst divide them into corners: so they possessed the land of Sihon, and the land of the king of Heshbon, and the land of Og king of Bashan.

The Israelites had many children like many stars in heaven. You brought them into the land of Canaan. You promised this land to their fathers. You promised that they could go into Canaan and take it.
[23] Their children also multipliedst thou as the stars of heaven, and broughtest them into the land, concerning which thou hadst promised to their fathers, that they should go in to possess it.

The Israelites went into Canaan and took it. You helped them defeat the Canaanites (the people who were living in Canaan). You gave them Canaan and the kings and people of Canaan. The Israelites could do whatever they wanted with the people and kings.
[24] So the children went in and possessed the land, and thou subduedst before them the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites, and gavest them into their hands, with their kings, and the people of the land, that they might do with them as they would.

They took the strong cities and the fertile land. They took the houses that were full of things. There were wells, farms with grapes, olive trees, and fruit trees. They could eat until they were full. They became fat and were happy and thanked you.
[25] And they took strong cities, and a fat land, and possessed houses full of all goods, wells digged, vineyards, and oliveyards, and fruit trees in abundance: so they did eat, and were filled, and became fat, and delighted themselves in thy great goodness.

But the Israelites did not obey you. They went against you and did not obey your laws. They killed your prophets. The prophets were telling them to stop behaving badly and start worshiping you again. The Israelites made you very angry.
[26] Nevertheless they were disobedient, and rebelled against thee, and cast thy law behind their backs, and slew thy prophets which testified against them to turn them to thee, and they wrought great provocations.

You allowed other people to come and capture the Israelites.  The other people caused trouble for them. The Israelites cried to you for help. You heard them from heaven. You had mercy, and you helped them. You saved them from their enemies.
[27] Therefore thou deliveredst them into the hand of their enemies, who vexed them: and in the time of their trouble, when they cried unto thee, thou heardest them from heaven; and according to thy manifold mercies thou gavest them saviours, who saved them out of the hand of their enemies.

But after the Israelites rested and had peace, they started to behave badly again. So you allowed their enemies to have control over them. They cried to you again. You heard them from heaven. Many times, you saved them because you are merciful.
[28] But after they had rest, they did evil again before thee: therefore leftest thou them in the hand of their enemies, so that they had the dominion over them: yet when they returned, and cried unto thee, thou heardest them from heaven; and many times didst thou deliver them according to thy mercies;

You sent prophets to tell them to obey your laws. But the Israelites were too proud and did not listen to your laws. They sinned and would not obey.
[29] And testifiedst against them, that thou mightest bring them again unto thy law: yet they dealt proudly, and hearkened not unto thy commandments, but sinned against thy judgments, (which if a man do, he shall live in them;) and withdrew the shoulder, and hardened their neck, and would not hear.

For many years, you had patience. You sent your spirit in the prophets to tell the Israelites to obey your laws. But they would not listen. Then you allowed other countries to capture the Israelites.
[30] Yet many years didst thou forbear them, and testifiedst against them by thy spirit in thy prophets: yet would they not give ear: therefore gavest thou them into the hand of the people of the lands.

You have great mercy, and you did not destroy all of the Israelites. You did not forget them because you have grace and mercy.
[31] Nevertheless for thy great mercies' sake thou didst not utterly consume them, nor forsake them; for thou art a gracious and merciful God.

You are our God. You are mighty and awesome. You have mercy, and you keep your promises. Please see our troubles. Our kings, princes, priests, prophets, fathers, and all of the Israelites have trouble. We have had troubles since the time of the kings of Assyria until now. 
[32] Now therefore, our God, the great, the mighty, and the terrible God, who keepest covenant and mercy, let not all the trouble seem little before thee, that hath come upon us, on our kings, on our princes, and on our priests, and on our prophets, and on our fathers, and on all thy people, since the time of the kings of Assyria unto this day.

The Israelites behaved wickedly. You are right to punish us.
[33] Howbeit thou art just in all that is brought upon us; for thou hast done right, but we have done wickedly:

Our kings, princes, priests, and fathers have not obeyed your laws. You gave them the laws, but they have not listened and obeyed.  
[34] Neither have our kings, our princes, our priests, nor our fathers, kept thy law, nor hearkened unto thy commandments and thy testimonies, wherewith thou didst testify against them.

They did not serve you in their land. You gave them a good and fertile land. But they continued to do bad things.

[35] For they have not served thee in their kingdom, and in thy great goodness that thou gavest them, and in the large and fat land which thou gavest before them, neither turned they from their wicked works.

Now, we are working in the land you gave our fathers. You gave the land to our fathers so they could eat and grow things.
[36] Behold, we are servants this day, and for the land that thou gavest unto our fathers to eat the fruit thereof and the good thereof, behold, we are servants in it:

You allowed other people to control us because we sinned. The kings of the other people used the land and grew many things. They are still in control of us and our cattle.  We need help.
[37] And it yieldeth much increase unto the kings whom thou hast set over us because of our sins: also they have dominion over our bodies, and over our cattle, at their pleasure, and we are in great distress.

Because of everything that happened in the past, we make a promise now. We write it down. Our leaders, Levites, and priests put their seal on it to show that it is official.
[38] And because of all this we make a sure covenant, and write it; and our princes, Levites, and priests, seal unto it.


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