November 30: Restoration of the land

The command to restore and build Jerusalem was given to Nehemiah by King Artaxerxes in the year 445 BC (BCE).

The Jewish people had been exiled from the land of Israel because of their continual rebellion. But God had promised through Jeremiah that their exile would last only 70 years.

The first group of Jews returned to Israel under Zerubbabel (circa 538 BC) to rebuild the Temple. A second wave under Ezra and a third wave under Nehemiah followed to rebuild the city.

Nehemiah 2:1-9

And it came to pass in the month of Nisan, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was before him, that I took the wine and gave it to the king. Now I had never been sad in his presence before. Therefore the king said to me, “Why is your face sad, since you are not sick? This is nothing but sorrow of heart.”

So I became dreadfully afraid, and said to the king, “May the king live forever! Why should my face not be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers’ tombs, lies waste, and its gates are burned with fire?”

Then the king said to me, “What do you request?”

So I prayed to the God of heaven.  And I said to the king, “If it pleases the king, and if your servant has found favor in your sight, I ask that you send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers’ tombs, that I may rebuild it.”

Then the king said to me (the queen also sitting beside him), “How long will your journey be? And when will you return?” So it pleased the king to send me; and I set him a time.

Furthermore I said to the king, “If it pleases the king, let letters be given to me for the governors of the region beyond the River, that they must permit me to pass through till I come to Judah, and a letter to Asaph the keeper of the king’s forest, that he must give me timber to make beams for the gates of the citadel which pertains to the temple, for the city wall, and for the house that I will occupy.” And the king granted them to me according to the good hand of my God upon me.

Then I went to the governors in the region beyond the River, and gave them the king’s letters. Now the king had sent captains of the army and horsemen with me.

It is not a coincidence that the command to restore and rebuild Jerusalem was given in the month of Nissan, the same month that the Jews were set free from Egypt – the month of Passover.


What is coffee without a little cake?
What is coffee without a little cake?

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