Story Eighteen

 •  7 min. read  •  grade level: 5
WHEN the wall of Jē̇-rṳ́ sā̇-lĕm was finished, Nē-he-mī́ ah called together all the Jews̝ from the villages and cities in the land to meet in Jē̇-rṳ́ sa-lĕm. They met, a great company with their wives and children, in an open place before the Temple. Ĕź rȧ, the good priest and scribe, who had wrought so great a work in bringing together and writing the books of the Old Testament, was in the city at that time: They asked Ĕź rȧ to being the book, and to read the law of the Lord to the people.
He came, carrying with him the great rolls upon which the law was written, and stood up on a pulpit which they had built, where all the people could see him; and with Ezra were men whom he had taught in the law, so that they could teach it to others.
When Ĕź rȧ, stood up in the pulpit, above the heads of the people, and unrolled the scroll, all the people, who had been sitting upon the ground, rose up, while Ĕź rȧ gave thanks to the Lord, who had given to them his law. Then the people said "Amen!" with a loud voice, and they bowed until their heads touched the ground, and worshipped.
Then Ĕź rȧ began to read in the book, aloud, so that as many as possible could hear. But as the people did not all understand the old Hḗ brew tongue in which the book was written, men were chosen to stand by Ĕź rȧ; and as he read each sentence, these men explained it to the people, while all the people stood listening. So, as Ĕź rȧ, read, these men told its meaning, so that the people could understand the word of the Lord.
Many of the people had never heard God's law read before, and they wept as they listened to it But Nē-he-mī́ ah, who was there as the ruler, said to them, "This day is holy to the Lord; do not mourn nor weep, but rather be glad, and eat and drink, and send gifts of food to those who are in need, for you are strong in the Lord, and should be joyful.”
And the Lḗ vītes quieted the people, saying, "Hold your peace, for the day is holy. Do not weep, but be glad in the Lord.”
And all the people went home to feast and to be glad, because they could hear and understand the words of God's law.
After this another meeting was held, and the people confessed their sins before God, and the sins of their fathers in forsaking God's law,' and in not doing his will. And all the people made a solemn promise that they would keep God's law, and would do his will; that they would be God's people, and no more give their sons to marry women who did not worship the Lord; that they would keep holy God's day, the Sabbath; and they would give to the Lord's house for all the offerings. And they wrote the promise on a roll, and all the princes and rulers and priests signed it, and placed their seals upon it.
Nē-he-mī́ ah had now finished the work for which he had made the long journey to Jē̇-rṳ́ sā̇ lĕm. He went back to Shṳ́ shan, and stood once more in his place, pouring the wine at the king's table. But after some years he came again to Jē̇-rṳ́ sā̇-lĕm. He found that not all the people had fulfilled their promises to serve the Lord, and especially, that the Sabbath-day was not kept as it should be. People were treading wine-presses, and bringing into the city loads of grain, and selling wine, and grapes and figs, on the Sabbath-day. And men from the city of Tyre, beside the Great Sea, who were not worshippers of the Lord, brought in fish, and sold them on the Sabbath. When Nē-he-mī́ ah saw all these evils, he was greatly displeased, and said to the rulers of the city, "Why do you allow these evil things to be done, and the Sabbath-day to be broken? Were not these the very things that made God angry with our fathers, so that he let this city be destroyed? Will you bring God's anger upon us again by doing such things on God's holy day?”
Then Nē-he-mī́ ah gave orders that before the sun set on the evening before the Sabbath the gates of the city should be shut, and not opened until the morning after the Sabbath was over. The men came with their things to be sold, and waited outside. for the gates to be opened. Nē-he-mī́ ah looked over the wall, and saw them, and said to them, "What are you doing here? If you come here again on the Sabbath, I will put you in prison!”
Then they went away, and came no more upon the holy day. By such strong acts as these Nē-he-mī́ ah led the people to a more faithful service of the Lord. And after this Jē̇-rṳ́ sā̇-lĕm grew large and strong, and was full of people. And Jews̝ from other lands began to come to live in the land, until it was once more filled with cities and towns; and the hills over all the land were covered with vineyards and oliveyards, and the plains were waving with fields of grain.
A little after the time of Ĕź rȧ and Nē-he-mī́ ah, Măĺ chī arose as the last of the prophets of the Old Testament.
"Thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me. And the Lord shall suddenly come to his Temple; behold, he cometh, saith the Lord. Behold, I will send you Ē̇-lī́ jah, the prophet, before the great day of the Lord shall come. And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers.”
And with these words the Old Testament ends.
Lesson 44. The end of the Old Testament.
(Tell Stories 16, 17 and 18 in Part Fifth.)
1. What good man came to Jerusalem soon after the time of Queen Esther? Ezra the scribe.
2. What was a scribe among the Jews? One who wrote copies of God's laws.
3. What great work did Ezra do? He brought together the books of the Old Testament.
4. What did Ezra, do at Jerusalem? He taught the people to obey God's law.
5. What other good man came while Ezra was at Jerusalem? Nehemiah.
6. What did Nehemiah do? He helped the people to build a wall around the city.
7. Why did they need a wall around the city? To make it strong against enemies.
8. What was done at a great meeting of the people when the wall was finished? The law was read to the people.
9. Who was the last prophet of the Old Testament? Malachi.
Lesson 45. Review of Jewish People.
1. How many kings reigned over Judah? Nineteen kings and one queen.
2. Who was the first king of Judah? Rehoboam.
3. Who was the greatest king? Jehoshaphat.
4. Who was the youngest when he became king? Nash.
5. Who was the best of the kings? Hezekiah.
6. What prophet saw the Lord in the temple?
7. What young king chose the Lord and followed him? Josiah.
8. Who was the last king of Judah? Zedekiah.
9. To what land were the people of Judah carried as captives? To Babylonia
10. What prophet saw the vision of the valley of dry bones? Ezekiel
11. What prophet lived in the palace of the king of Babylon?
12. Who was the great king of Babylon? Nebuchadnezzar.
13. What king of Babylon saw the hand writing on the wall? Belshazzar.
14. Who was kept alive when thrown into a den of lions? Daniel.
15. How long were the Jews captives in Babylon? Seventy years.
16. Who allowed the Jews to go back to their own land? Urns.
17. What queen saved the lives of her people? Esther.
18. Who read the law of God to the people in Jerusalem?
19. Who helped the Jews to build a wall around the city? Nehemiah.
20. Who was the last prophet of the Old Testament? Malachi.