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Thursday, September 18 2014

Nehemiah 5: The Carpetbaggers of Judah

"We have mortgaged our lands, vineyards, and houses, that we might buy corn, because of the dearth"

The term "carpetbagger" originated in the U.S. after the Civil War. According to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, a carpetbagger was an "Epithet used during the Reconstruction period (1865-1877) to describe a Northerner in the South seeking private gain. The word referred to an unwelcome outsider arriving with nothing more than his belongings packed in a satchel or carpetbag. Many carpetbaggers were involved in corrupt financial schemes."

History has known "carpetbaggers" from ancient times. The people of Judah experienced it during their national reconstruction in the time of Nehemiah (see Nehemiah's Prayer From Shushan, The Arrival Of Nehemiah's Cavalry, Why Was It Desolate For Seventy Years? and Bricks and Swords).

A Persian gold Daric coin

"5:1 And there was a great cry of the people and of their wives against their brethren the Jews. 5:2 For there were that said, We, our sons, and our daughters, are many: therefore we take up corn for them, that we may eat, and live.

5:3 Some also there were that said, We have mortgaged our lands, vineyards, and houses, that we might buy corn, because of the dearth.

5:4 There were also that said, We have borrowed money for the king's tribute, and that upon our lands and vineyards. 5:5 Yet now our flesh is as the flesh of our brethren, our children as their children: and, lo, we bring into bondage our sons and our daughters to be servants, and some of our daughters are brought unto bondage already: neither is it in our power to redeem them; for other men have our lands and vineyards.

5:6 And I was very angry when I heard their cry and these words. 5:7 Then I consulted with myself, and I rebuked the nobles, and the rulers, and said unto them, Ye exact usury, every one of his brother. And I set a great assembly against them. 5:8 And I said unto them, We after our ability have redeemed our brethren the Jews, which were sold unto the heathen; and will ye even sell your brethren? or shall they be sold unto us? Then held they their peace, and found nothing to answer." (Nehemiah 5:1-8 KJV)

The problem wasn't a matter of doing business in a free market where prices are set by supply and demand. It was wrong because it was robbing people of their money and property - they had no choice but to pay whatever was demanded in order for them to survive that time of national emergency (imagine selling water for $100 a gallon to survivors who are literally dying of thirst due to a devastating military attack on the nation).

"5:9 Also I said, It is not good that ye do: ought ye not to walk in the fear of our God because of the reproach of the heathen our enemies? 5:10 I likewise, and my brethren, and my servants, might exact of them money and corn: I pray you, let us leave off this usury. 5:11 Restore, I pray you, to them, even this day, their lands, their vineyards, their oliveyards, and their houses, also the hundredth part of the money, and of the corn, the wine, and the oil, that ye exact of them.

5:12 Then said they, We will restore them, and will require nothing of them; so will we do as thou sayest.

Then I called the priests, and took an oath of them, that they should do according to this promise. 5:13 Also I shook my lap, and said, So God shake out every man from his house, and from his labour, that performeth not this promise, even thus be he shaken out, and emptied.

And all the congregation said, Amen, and praised the LORD. And the people did according to this promise." (Nehemiah 5:9-13 KJV)

Nehemiah and Ezra filled the roles similar to Moses and Aaron. Ezra was a Levite priest (see Ezra: The Return Of The Levites To Jerusalem), while Nehemiah was a governor (see Nehemiah: The Return Of The Governor).

"5:14 Moreover from the time that I was appointed to be their governor in the land of Judah, from the twentieth year even unto the two and thirtieth year of Artaxerxes the king, that is, twelve years, I and my brethren have not eaten the bread of the governor. 5:15 But the former governors that had been before me were chargeable unto the people, and had taken of them bread and wine, beside forty shekels of silver; yea, even their servants bare rule over the people: but so did not I, because of the fear of God. 5:16 Yea, also I continued in the work of this wall, neither bought we any land: and all my servants were gathered thither unto the work.

5:17 Moreover there were at my table an hundred and fifty of the Jews and rulers, beside those that came unto us from among the heathen that are about us. 5:18 Now that which was prepared for me daily was one ox and six choice sheep; also fowls were prepared for me, and once in ten days store of all sorts of wine: yet for all this required not I the bread of the governor, because the bondage was heavy upon this people.

5:19 Think upon me, my God, for good, according to all that I have done for this people." (Nehemiah 5:12-19 KJV)

Fact Finder: What did the Messiah do to the "carpetbaggers" in the Temple who had turned it into a "den of thieves"?
Matthew 21:12-13 and see The Messiah's Triumphal Entry Into The Temple


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This Day In History, September 18

14: Tiberius was confirmed as Roman Emperor by the Roman Senate (see also The Politics Of Rome) after the death of Augustus, the first Roman Emperor (see A History Of Jerusalem: Pompey And The Caesars). Augustus was Caesar at the time of the birth of Jesus Christ (Luke 2:1-7; see also Does Rome Have Christ's Birth Certificate?). Tiberius was Caesar at the time of the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ (Luke 3:1-4; see also Whatever Happened To Those Romans?).

Augustus Tiberius

96: The accession of Nerva, the 12th Roman emperor (reigned 96-98 AD). He succeeded Domitian who was assassinated (see also Israel In History and Prophecy: Aelia Capitolina).

324: Constantine defeated Licinius at Chrysopolis, making Constantine the sole emperor of the Roman empire (see Constantine's Crusades In History And Prophecy and A History Of Jerusalem: Constantine and Muhammad).

1180: Philip Augustus became king of France.

1502: Christopher Columbus landed at Costa Rica on his fourth and last voyage to the "New World." Contrary to popular myth, the voyages of Columbus were all actually to and around the islands of the Caribbean (e.g. Cuba, Jamaica, Hispaniola) and central America, from Panama to the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. Columbus never landed on what is today the U.S.

Voyages of Christopher Columbus 1635: Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand II of Austria declared war on France (see The Holy Roman Empire Of The German Nation).

1759: The French formally surrendered Quebec to the British.

1810: Chile declared its independence from Spain.

1819: Jean-Bernard Foucault was born. In 1851 the French physicist demonstrated, using a pendulum named after him, that the earth does indeed rotate on its axis (readers of the Holy Bible were far ahead of "scientists" in that knowledge - see No 'Flat Earth' In The Bible).

1830: Near Baltimore, a 9-mile race was held between the newly-invented railway locomotive and a rider on a horse. The horse won.

1906: A typhoon, along with a tsunami, killed an estimated 10,000 people in Hong Kong.

1924: The Moffatt Translation of the Bible was published by Bible scholar James Moffatt.

1934: The U.S.S.R. was admitted to the League of Nations.

1939: A German U-boat (in German meaning Underwater Boat i.e. a submarine) sank the British aircraft carrier Courageous, killing 500 crewmen.

1974: Hurricane Fifi struck Honduras with 110 mph winds. An estimated 5,000 people were killed.

1977: The unmanned spacecraft Voyager I took the first photographs of the earth and moon together in space.

1981: The French parliament abolished capital punishment and the guillotine.

1982: "Christian" militia slaughtered 600 Palestinian refugees in Lebanon.

1991: Yugoslavia began a naval blockade of seven port cities of the Adriatic Sea.


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Copyright © Wayne Blank