Verse 1 It means he had never been as sad as he was that day when he gave the wine to the king. The
king wants so many servants. One man to bring the wine from the cellar, another to wash the glasses, one
to send it to the king's parlor, next to the dining hall, the next man to put it on the table and the last man to
put it in his hand. The man in this verse is the man who gives the king his wine—his cupbearer.
Verses 1-7 Wine; convey me. "Wine." Marriage wine and church wine is grape juice, as is the
beverage served to guests (along with pomegranate juice and coconut milk). Kings always drink a
fermented wine and get drunk. The king's butler is one who keeps the wine cellar supplied. This is his job.
Nehemiah was the king before, and the wine was not fermented. It was God's order.
(Verse 7) Convey me. Not necessarily transportation. It is protection from thieves and robbers. In
the East, protection is needed while traveling. So letters accompanied him to get across the river. If you
don't help him who has been sent from the king, you are considered to have hurt the king. The king's
servants are looked upon as the king himself. (This is similar to an American in uniform while in China.
If the man in uniform is insulted, not only is he insulted, but because of the uniform the country is also
Verse 2 Servant's relationship to master. King speaking to servant. In the East, a servant is treated very
wonderfully, especially when traveling; the master will make sure his servant has eaten before he himself
eats. Treats the servant equally when in travel (this isn't true when at home—master eats first). King was
concerned for his people.
Servants are companions for their masters—treated as brothers. They can talk and make
conversation with their servants. Take walks together. Master may take a walk in green grass and servant
will bear his master's sandals while the master walks in pleasure and comfort in the green grass. When
walk ends, servant puts the sandals before his master again for him to put them on. (John said he wasn't
worthy to bear his master's sandals.)
Spiritual application: We were servants, but now sons of God. Christ is concerned with our being,
our welfare. Just as the masters were concerned for their servants, so Christ is with us. Jesus said, "He
that toucheth you toucheth me." (He was speaking of the relationship, the closeness of the master and his
servant.) In the East, when you touch a servant, you touch the master yourself. The master will lay down
his life for his servants. Jesus died for us. We're such a precious people in his sight. We think we're
lonely, by ourselves, lost, helpless, troubled. We're hid in Christ in God. (Our senses tell us these
negatives. We're never lonely.)
Verse 7 "Convey" means let the governors under you take me from place to place. In the olden days,
you needed to get an introduction from the king to travel from country to country.
Letters be given me. Servant always carries his master's letter of recommendation for protection as
he travels. People don't look at pastor as a servant, but a present from God. People always giving to the
man of God—same for a teacher. Treat the man of God out of love, not out of salary, regulation. Love
produces life. These letters of recommendation help the pastor out in his journey. The people will give to
him to support him.
Verses 1-3 Fox, negative confessions. Our fox is called a jackal in the East. Jackals have very thin legs
and are very thin animals. A fox is very weak. Do you think a fox could break down a stone wall? No,
of course not. All of the questions asked are negative ones. A negative person always magnifies,
exaggerates the negative side. In spite of the negatives and enemies, they completed the wall.
Verse 2 Threats. This is a negative, threatening, desecrating statement. People, the enemy, always
magnify troubles. They never encourage. The enemy always wants to frighten you. We must stand firm
on God's Word, not moved by the enemy.
Verse 3 This is one of the sayings in the East. They say this if they want to tell people that what they do
won't last long. They say a fox because a fox has very thin legs like deer legs and they are light. They
are very small, just a little bigger than our rabbit. All the Eastern animals are thinner except their horses,
which are much bigger than our Western horses. Their legs are very small, too. He was just trying to
frighten them here.
Fox, Tobiah. Tobiah is a big bluff. Foxes have never broken down a wall. The Eastern foxes are
smaller than ours. They are very thin, the height of a large rabbit. We exaggerate many things today, just
as then. Although a headache is a headache, we hear many people say they have a "bad" headache.
Foxes breaking the stone wall is a negative straight from the Devil. Hindus are not allowed to say
"can't" as they grow up. They also are spanked first, then reproved and corrected. Breaking down a stone
wall is a very negative statement used in the East to frighten the enemy. "Tobiah" is a man that can bluff
you into fear.
Verse 12 "Ten times" is a saying. It is a statement made to impress the people. When Jesus said seventy
times seven, it didn't mean 490, but that you must forgive without limitation, like salt-without number.
Ten times. This is similar to a mother saying, "John, I have told you ten times (although she is
exaggerating and only said it twice.) Ten times is used for emphasis that John has been told too many
times, and yet he has not changed.
Verse 17 One hand. One hand on the weapon, one at work. When they were working, they had one
hand in the work and the other on their weapon. This would allow them to defend, if necessary, against
the enemy. We defend ourselves as Christians by the sword of the spirit, not with weapons. We must
make use of God's light so we can help people to permanently be released from their prisons. This is why
we hide the Word in our mouth and scripture in our mind. Then demonstrate it. (Hebrews 4:12) The
enemy is afraid when we carry the Sword (i.e., when the Devil tempted Jesus).
In the East, there are many cobras in the way. Then they use a light to walk on the path. If Bishop
walked alone, he quoted scripture. This is applying liberty to get rid of fear. Everything on earth must
obey God. When we speak it will be the Word that is spoken.
Verse 18 "Sword" is "dagger." It is also used as a knife. In this verse they are troubled; therefore,
Nehemiah orders everybody to have a sword. Nehemiah sounded the trumpet and when the enemy
approached, all men gathered together. Night and day when the trumpet sounded, they were ready. They
never gave an excuse.
Sword. There are no swords in the Bible. Sword should be "dagger," a type of knife. It is used for
cutting the food that we eat. It is carried in the belt.
"And he that sounded the trumpet" was the man who blew in time of danger.
Verse 20 Trumpet sounds. If the trumpet sounded, they were to resort to a certain place. We should
resort to Christ. When we resort to the Word then stand still, we see the salvation of our God. We don't
ease up on the under-shepherding. Having come to the law, don't go to that place of shelter. Our God
will defend us. We must get to the place where He will do this.
Verse 23 They slept, ate, worked, etc. in their clothes. They were always ready when the king called.
Put off their own clothes. Not having our own way and then ask God to do for you (II Timothy
3:16,17). It shows that all of the Word has spiritual meaning and application. We must give up our way
and get to the trust in Christ. These people were so busy (must have made results), that they were only
naked for bath time. They were very busy with the building of the temple. We should be similarly busy
with the Word, working the ministry.
Verses 7-10 Usury. Borrowing money is also salted (Hindus borrow from Hindus because they don't
charge interest or mortgage houses, deeds.) If the man borrowing desires to pay back the loan, he says
"covenant of salt." If he wants to swindle it, he says "mortgages." The covenant of salt won't be
swindled because so much importance is placed on God. Mortgages are worldly deeds. They are broken
frequently. Easterners place no value on written agreements. Bishop Pillai is the only man who broke the
covenant of salt in his community for 80 years by converting to Christianity. He is considered a
So Joe borrows $1,000 from John. They sit down at a table with the money and the salted food. Joe
says, "I can pay you back in one year," and takes the money. Joe dedicates the money to the Lord and
takes the covenant of salt with the family. Why? Because they believe that if Joe dies now, the debt will
fall on the family. When Joe appears before God, he can say, "My people have paid the debt, as I
transferred the covenant of salt to them." They believe in the East, that if the debt is not paid on earth,
God will demand it from them. Easterners have respect for their own word and for God. (The chief of
the Arabs has a sword outside his tent. A white stone is representative of sin, and having been freed from
that sin.)
Verses 12 and 13 (Reading already started.) Shook my lap (garment). People used to mortgage their
property, loan money on usury. Nehemiah got annoyed when he heard the people did this among
themselves. What would the heathen think if they heard? He told them to give it all back to their
brethren. Shook my lap (garment), mantle, folded in four folds, worn around the neck and falls on the
knees. Becomes a garment when unfolded—worn on shoulder. To shake the garment is to shake you out
of the garment (it's unfolded and you're emptied out into nowhere).
"Shook my lap." Sanskrit Bible says, "I shook my fold." Eastern people wear a loin cloth. There is
a fold in the loin cloth in which they put betel nuts, money and valuables. If there is nothing in the fold,
they feel like God has forsaken them; therefore, they will borrow something to put in if they do not have
anything. "That man has emptied his fold" means that there is nothing left for him, God has withdrawn
his blessing." The people dread for the fold to be empty.
Verse 13 When the people go wrong, the priests call them together and tell them where they are wrong
and the consequence for their wrongdoing. When they agree to do what the priest tells them they must
do, they make an oath. In order to confirm the oath, the leader will say "I shake out my lap." "Lap"
means clothing. It is not permissible to shake the lap or clothing in the East. If you go to someone's
home and sit down, you must not shake your lap because it is a bad omen to shake your clothing. When
you shake the cloth, there is nothing left there, it is all gone. So, God will shake this house and empty it
of all things if you shake your lap in someone's house. From children they are trained not to do it. You
are telling God you have nothing to eat or wear and don't own any money or houses. As you shake your
lap, so will God shake you. Nehemiah shook his lap and told the people God would empty them in that
way if they didn't keep their vow. In Acts 18:6, Paul did the same thing Nehemiah did.
Shaking the lap. Nehemiah went back to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple. He took many men and
much material with him. When he was there, among his own workmen, they were borrowing and lending
on the mortgages of their properties to each other. The people were concerned about this. The condition
of life was bad among God's people there in a foreign land. Then Nehemiah notices it beginning in verse 7.
In the East, wherever people do wrong, the priest calls them together. He tells them they're wrong.
He exhorts each man to put back that which he has stolen. Every man agrees with him.
He shook his "lap" which should be garment or raiment. Raiment is any part of his clothing. If two
men come to an agreement in the East, evidence is deserved. The covenant may be avoided. Man Y may
give his word to Man Z. Z will accept this and deserves to shake his own raiment. No money is paid.
"Shook his lap." A garment worn around the neck which falls on the breast with a fold in it—
pronouncing an oath on the people. In the fold they carry rice or some other kind of property.
Shaking the lap was a sign to the people that if they did not do as God said, they would be emptied
out just as the rice from the fold of the garment. He was binding them to an oath. See also: Ezra 9:3.
The Eastern customs are used to convey this spiritual application of those customs. Eastern children
are brought up to never say a negative. They cannot shake their is symbolic of shaking God out of
your life (Nehemiah 5:13).
Verse 14 "...Have not eaten the bread of the governor" means, "we have not received any wages." The
governor has received the salaries, and he has not received anything.
Verse 17 Wine, trays. "Wine"—all sorts of wine. 1) Red wine; 2) White wine. They stored all kinds
of wine. Once you receive a donor's bread and live by it, you become his servant. The governor's letter,
if accompanying it anywhere, a man could collect money, eat a man's food, etc. Any king will supply no
wine. The bondage on the people here was still larger. "Fowls" are birds on water, not on trees. Eastern
birds are temporarily unsettled. They shall have their needs met, or available to be. The East had no
tables, they used trays. The head of the household. Table = tray. The Easterners always ate on the floor
on a tray. "The hand of him who betrayeth me is on the table"—it must be on the "tray."
Verse 18 The people paid for the food. The people who came to the temple brought their own food.
"...Once in ten days store of all sorts of wine was spent...." Translation: "Now that which was prepared
for our dinner daily was one ox and six choice sheep; also fowls were cooked for us and once in ten days
store of all sorts of wine was used up: Yet in spite of all these expenses, I did not require the salary of the
governor because the bondage was heavy upon this people." If you always depend upon someone else,
you will still be a slave to them. That is what it means.
Verses 10 and 11 Temple. Another threat here in this verse. The enemies came along to trick him—
"Oh, come along, let's talk it over." Going to the temple, no one will come along to harm him. The enemy
always tries to get us at his will to his place. We must never do this. We must abide in our place. Our
place is in Jesus Christ. We must abide there. Once we leave our place, we are on dangerous ground.
The enemy says, "If you remain here, you shall get old, etc." We tell him we're never going to die. The
older we get, the stronger we become because we have Christ in us. He will never leave me nor forsake
me. Don't ever allow the enemy to lie to you; don't fear his words. Just do the opposite of what he says.
Now, in a time of war or crisis period, people would go and hide in the temple. The Oriental
methods of warfare says that the enemy cannot come in to capture you. The enemy will surround you,
but he cannot come in to get you. If 10 people get into the temple, live on whatever food you have.
While in the temple, you cannot be shot because you are considered to be under the protection of God,
while in the house of God. The dirt and the water supply gets cut off, and no one can clean anything.
This is called "abomination of the desolation." (Daniel 8:13; 9:2; 18:26.) This is a true picture at the time
of war.
Verse 11 If you go inside the temple to do any business, the enemies won't come in because of their
respect for you. In time of danger and disaster, they all gather in the temple. But Nehemiah said he was
not going to the temple.
Verse 4 The temple in the East had pulpits of wood all the time, just used for speaking. In their schools,
they had a little pulpit sort of thing that holds the book up. The boys before studying a lesson put this
Bible here and say a prayer. Then they read a chapter and take the pulpit and put it aside in a holy place.
When reading a holy book it is always held upright. The Hindu's Bibles are not kept in ordinary places.
They close and open them with dignity and say a prayer for opening and closing. They put it in a very
high place and they carry it on their head. They put it away and then come back and study their lesson.
For every lesson they pray, sing a song, etc. The Hindu boys always pass an examination because before
they start to study they always pray and have meditation.
Verse 5 When the Word of God is read, everyone stands up. After the reading is done, they chant,
"Glory be to God."
Verse 6 Amen, lifting up their hands. "Amen" existed long before Christianity. It is the word of
confirmation, "let it be so," Lifting up hands (handkerchief ceremonies are Western ideas) means a
surrender, persistence. The idea is, "Lord, here I am with both hands raised to receive surrender,
persistence, intensity and absolute helplessness." In the East, at night when the Oriental prays, he lifts up
his hands to pray while in bed.
Psalm 77:2 "sore"—hand. The practice is to keep the hands raised until the Lord heard the prayer.
"Refused to be comforted" should say "was not comforted." He longed to be comforted. There is
nothing to doubt when you pray with your hands raised. One of these private prayers links you up with
God right away. Start day off this way!!
Verse 9 Weeping. Why did they weep when they heard the words of the Lord? Because they love God
to that extent, to "tears of joy." Relatives wipe the tears of each other at a funeral. They do not use
handkerchiefs. The tears are wiped with fingers. It has much more compassion than material.
Verse 10 "Send portions.'' This means to send something to eat to those who have nothing to eat.
Eastern idea of hospitality is that if you give to someone who has a need, you are really giving to God.
They will seek someone to eat with them before they eat themselves. There are thousands of people who
just live off this kind of hospitality. To the Hindu, death is just passing from one stage into another.
Verses 14-16 Eastern culture, boothes. "Festival of boothes" was preceded by the Orientals. During
certain seasons of the year, the Orientals make boothes on their flat roofs. During this building week,
they give food and water to the people who pass by on the streets. Anybody can walk in the streets and
receive a meal. (Caucasian people's festival. People who left the East through the Caucus Mountains to a
country now called Europe are called Caucasian. Once, though, they were Aryan people—originally.
This means they were pure-blooded, noble-blooded. Indians are still Aryans. We are Caucasian—mixed
Hitler was trying to maintain the Aryan blood, pure-bloodedness. He wanted to get rid of the Jewish
blood and the colored people and maintain the Aryan pure-bloodedness. This is why he stuck up the
swastika." "Swastika" is an Aryan word meaning good fortune. When Eastern people get married, they
put a swastika on the floor and cover it up with a rug. The bridegroom sits on the carpet. Then the holy
sacrament of fire is performed. They sit on the swastika. Hitler was proud of our Aryan culture and
wanted to eliminate Jewish blood. Hitler thought that Germans only were Aryan.
"Boothes" religious book of the Indo-Europeans. Parts of it are translated in English. This was done
hundreds of years prior to Judaism or Christianity. The book tells how the Caucasian, Aryan, should live,
how they should keep their houses clean, how they should act, etc. This book was the rule of life for the
Aryan people long before they left the East. The Easterners are the source of our heritage.)
Verse 4 The steps to the altar are called stairs. The man that is going to preach stands with his back to
the altar looking at the people. He stands on the stairs and preaches.
Eastern temple. "Stairs" should be "steps." In the East, preaching is done from the pulpit. When
announcements are given, then the priest stands on the steps of the church altar. Eastern churches and
temples are built with a "Holy of Holies." The minister climbs the steps to lecture, stands in pulpit and
preaches. Women in the Eastern churches sit on one side, the men on the other side, even if married. The
Hindu temples have the men sitting first. Then the women, then the young men, then girls. And they
stand in the Hindu church. They feel they must stand in the house of God. The choir stands in one corner
of the Holy of Holies. The priests sit to another side where there is a screen. Their congregation cannot
see what is going on in there for a while. When they have it arranged, the sacraments, robing, etc., then
they draw the veil. It is always closed when the priest is busy preparing something for the people (this is
renting the veil significance). The choir is boys chosen from the "audience" when they arrive, a "pick-up"
choir. The choir sits. The food which is sacrificed to the Lord was given to the priests. The priests and
choir eat together of the sacrificial meal. This is where Jesus Christ began at 12 years old (when he was
able to speak to elders) to talk to the priests. Jesus Christ probably sang in the choir. At the feast, the
group travels to it in companies—men, women, young men, young girls. The leader of the group is very
quiet. "...I would rather lock my mouth up and suffer and fast so that my children who are under my
guidance, if they have committed adultery or other sins which you know God, but I do not..." Because
every idle word and sin must be punished. This means the leader's people are punished and he as the head
of the family must suffer. The priest is the head of all of the families in the East. He is responsible to
God for all the members in the family.
On the pilgrimage, they sleep on the floor, they cannot visit people, they eat and cook what they can
(this is where "pilgrim" and "strangers" comes from), and go on marching. The distance between men
and women might be a mile. Yet, for meals and sleep they are all together. After the pilgrimage Joseph
and Mary discovered Jesus and they said they had been looking for him. Luke 2:27-40.
Verses 14 and 15 He was telling the people he stopped all these things, that he did good works for them.
Verses 14,15,24-26 King Solomon. "Offices" are ceremonies, rituals, observances.
Verse 24: One of the curses of intermarriage here. Verse 25: "Cursed" means challenged. "Plucked
off their hair" means shaved off their hair. "Made them swear by God" means they listened to and obeyed
this man of God because holy men are highly respected in the East. Verse 26: King Solomon—
"Outlandish women" caused him to sin. But, they were not his first step to downfall. See I Kings 10:22-
29. See also a complete set of notes on "apes and peacocks" for more information on Solomon and his
fall. Solomon was first drawn off by the riches of materialism. Then his many wives were the
completion of his downfall because they turned his heart away unto their gods (I Kings 11:1-4).
I Kings 10:22. Tharshish is in India. Because it was a mark of prestige in his time, Solomon sent to
Tharshish for apes and peacocks. Rather than relying on God for protection, he relied on apes to guard
the palace. Peacocks were symbolic of continued wealth. The spread feathers symbolized the presence of
God; the wealth would not diminish as long as feathers were spread. In every Hindu home there is a
peacock feather and on the door is a swastika which symbolizes good fortune. (The Germans later
adopted this sign for their own purposes.) Riches follow wisdom. Solomon took his downfall when he
took his eyes off God and placed his confidence in riches. His downfall began with apes and peacocks.
Unbelief always begins in a small way.
Verse 24 These people married other nationalities and the people could not speak the pure Jewish
language. They were speaking a mixture.
Verse 25 "Cursed" should be "reprimanded them."
Verses 25 and 26 Nehemiah had a problem with his people in a foreign country when they went to build
the walls of Jerusalem. The Jewish people were trying to marry outside of their own relatives which was
contrary to their culture. The Eastern people marry among their own blood relatives. They marry among
their blood relatives so that the girl and the boy will have the same culture. And their culture means their
religion. "Flipped off their hair" means that he shook their beard. Holding a person by the beard and
shaking him is a form of chastising in the East. Plucked in the Bible either means shaved or this shaking,
it doesn't mean plucked.
Verse 26 "Outlandish women" are women from a different land.