Nehemiah 2:11-13

Passage: 

"So I came to Jerusalem and was there for three days. Then I got up during the night, I and a few men with me; I told no one what my God had put into my heart to do for Jerusalem. The only animal I took was the animal I rode. I went out by night by the Valley Gate past the Dragon’s Spring and to the Dung Gate, and I inspected the walls of Jerusalem that had been broken down and its gates that had been destroyed by fire" (Nehemiah 2:11-13).

Comment: 

This is the first time in nearly a decade of these Bible questions that I've ever been asked about anything in the Book of Nehemiah. I'm glad you wrote!

Ezra and Nehemiah are basically one book; it describes the years immediately after the return from exile in Babylon, when there were two separate but related goals: Ezra was largely about re-establishing and codifying the Jewish religion. Nehemiah was largely about the second goal of restoring the Temple in Jerusalem, for religious purposes, and the walls of the city, for safety and protection.

This passage describes a secret nighttime examination of the city's walls. Nehemiah makes a complete circuit, beginning and ending at the Valley Gate. Why the secrecy? Probably because the non-Jews who had been living in the area during the years of exile would be resistant to Nehemiah's vision of restoration.

You are really the only one who can know what this passage means to you. Was there an area of your life that needed to be strengthened? Perhaps a vision or goal that you felt you had to keep secret from others? Jerusalem was the very heart of the Jews' relationship to God, so this passage metaphysically suggests (to me) that you were allowing that relationship to succumb to other priorities. The guidance clearly is to examine your inner walls with a vision of restoring a clearer relationship to your spiritual purpose.

Blessings!

Rev. Ed