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the heavens and in the earth is thine. Both riches and honour come of thee, and thou rulest over all; in thine hand is power and might; and in thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all.
Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name. But who am I, and what is this people, that we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort? for all things come of thee, yea, of thine own have we given thee. O Lord our God, all this store that we have prepared to build thee an house for thine holy name cometh of thine hand, and is all thine own. I know also, my God, that thou triest the heart, and hast pleasure in uprightness. And now have I seen with joy thy people, that are present here, offer willingly unto thee.
THE BOOK OF NEHEMIAH
NEHEMIAH II, IV, VI
Now it came to pass, after that I was come to Jerusalem, that I arose in the night, I and some few men with me; and I went out by night and viewed the walls of the city, which were broken down, and the gates whereof were consumed with fire. Then I went on to the fountain gate and the king's pool: but there was no place for the beast that was under me to pass. Then went I up in the night by the brook, and viewed the wall; and I turned back, and entered by the valley gate, and so returned. And none knew whither I went, or what I did; neither told I any man what my God had put into my heart to do.
Then called I the people, and said unto them, Ye see the evil case that we are in, how the city lieth waste, and the gates thereof are burned with fire: come, and let us build up the wall, that we be no more a reproach. And I told them of the hand of my God which was good upon me. And they said, Let us rise up and build. But some, when they heard that we purposed to build the wall, laughed us to scorn, and despised us, and said, What are these feeble people doing? will they fortify themselves? will they sacrifice? will they make an end in a day? will they revive the stones out of the heaps of rubbish? Nevertheless we went all of us to the wall, every one unto his work; for the people had a mind to work.
Then I set in the lowest parts of the space behind the wall, in the open places, I set there the people after their families. And I said unto them, The work is great and large, and we are separated upon the wall, one far from another: in what place soever ye hear the sound of the trumpet, resort ye thither unto us. Likewise at the same time said I unto the people, Let every one with his servant lodge within the city, that in the night they may be a watch, and may labour in the day. And neither I, nor my brethren, nor my servants, nor the men that followed me, none of us put off our clothes. So we wrought in the work, from the rising of the morning till the stars appeared.
So the wall was finished in the twenty and fifth day of the month Elul, in fifty and two days. And it came to pass, that, when they that were round about us saw that the wall was builded, and that there was no breach left therein, they perceived that this work was wrought of God.
Now it came to pass, while we were building the wall of Jerusalem, that there arose a great cry of the people against their brethren, because of their burdensome exactions. For there were that said, We, our sons and our daughters, are many; yet have we nought to eat: let us get grain, that we may eat and live. Some also there were that said, We are mortgaging our fields, and our vineyards, and our houses, because of the dearth. There were also that said, We have borrowed money for the king's tribute upon our fields and our vineyards. Yet now our flesh is as the flesh of our brethren, our children as their children: and, lo, we are bringing into bondage our sons and our daughters to be servants, and some of our daughters are brought into bondage already: neither is it in our power to help it; for other men have our fields and our vineyards.
And I was much grieved when I heard their cry and these words. Then I consulted with myself; and afterward I called a great assembly. And I said unto them, We after our ability have redeemed our brethren, that were sold unto the nations; and would ye even sell your brethren, and should they be sold unto us? Then held they their peace, and found never a word. Also I said, The thing that ye do is not good, seeing that he that oppresseth his brother reproacheth his Maker: ought ye not to walk in the fear of our God ?' Now restore to this people, even this day, their fields, their vineyards, their olive-yards, and their houses, also the money, and the grain, the new wine, and the oil, that ye exact from them. Then said they, We will restore them, and will require nothing of them; so will we do, even as thou sayest. Then I called the priests, and took an oath of them, that they would do according to this promise. NEHEMIAHVIII
Then all the people gathered themselves together as one man into the broad place that was before the water gate; and they spake unto Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law. And he brought the book before the assembly of men and women, and all that could hear with understanding. And Ezra the scribe stood upon a pulpit of wood, which they had made for the purpose. And he opened the book in the sight of all the people, and read therein from early morning until midday; and the ears of all the people were attentive unto the book of the law. And he read in the book, in the law of God, distinctly; and he gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading.
And Ezra, 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.) 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 the Lord: neither be ye grieved; for the joy of the Lord is your strength. And all the people went their way with gladness of heart, because they had understood the words that were declared unto them.