Israel’s powerful enemies to the east wanted the Jews to learn the Law of Moses. They wanted to allow them to go home. Much of this is due to Jeremiah the prophet, who knew how to proclaim his message and how to interact with people in authority. Jeremiah was an asset when it came to the installation of the new King Artaxerxes I.
“He was surnamed in Greek Macrocheir (“Longhand”) and in Latin Longimanus. A younger son of Xerxes I and Amestris, he was raised to the throne by the commander of the guard, Artabanus, who had murdered Xerxes. A few months later, Artaxerxes slew Artabanus in a hand-to-hand fight. His reign, though generally peaceful, was disturbed by several insurrections, the first of which was the revolt of his brother the satrap of Bactria.
Artaxerxes gave Nehemiah, the royal cupbearer and confidant, permission to go to Jerusalem, which was then a subdivision of the Persian government. The king also provided an escort and wrote letters to governors of provinces through which Nehemiah would pass, giving the cupbearer the authority to receive supplies from the governors.
Artaxerxes is the king whom Nehemiah prayed for and prayed over as he considered requesting that he be able to go to Jerusalem to rebuild the city and the temple. Artaxerxes said, “Yes.”
“Nehemiah was a high official at Artaxerxes I’s court, said to be his cupbearer – who was distressed that Jerusalem’s walls were in ruin and the city was left with no defenses. Artaxerxes I appointed Nehemiah as Governor of Judea and sent him to personally oversee the rebuilding of the walls.” (source)
Artaxerxes I was the fifth King of Kings of the Achaemenid Empire, from 465 to 424 BC. He was the third son of Xerxes I.
See here what the LORD can do, regardless of who is in power within any nation. Ponder how this impacts us as we live through times of evil leaders who speak and promote horrible actions.
Next us: The rest is even more Biblical. First Ezra. Now Nehemiah.
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