A post for Artaxerxes (@chirpybirdy007)

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This is Nehemiah’s story of how he came to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.

“In the month of Nisan, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was before him, I took up the wine and gave it to the king. Now I had not been sad in his presence. And the king said to me, “Why is your face sad, seeing you are not sick? This is nothing but sadness of the heart.”

“Then I was very much afraid. I said to the king, “Let the king live forever! Why should not my face be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers’ graves, lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire?”

“Then the king said to me, “What are you requesting?” So I prayed to the God of heaven.

“And I said to the king, “If it pleases the king, and if your servant has found favor in your sight, that you send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers’ graves, that I may rebuild it.”

“And the king said to me (the queen sitting beside him), “How long will you be gone, and when will you return?” So it pleased the king to send me when I had given him a time.

“And I said to the king, “If it pleases the king, let letters be given me to the governors of the province Beyond the River, that they may let me pass through until I come to Judah, and a letter to Asaph, the keeper of the king’s forest, that he may give me timber to make beams for the gates of the fortress of the temple, and for the wall of the city, and for the house that I shall occupy.” And the king granted me what I asked, for the good hand of my God was upon me.”

I have noted that the people who have helped me most in my journey of faith have not always been Christians. On the internet in particular I have been encouraged by Atheists, Buddhists and Muslims.

Nehemiah’s story would not have happened without this conversation with King Artaxerxes of Persia. My story would not have happened without conversations with all kinds of people, particularly on Twitter.

The Jewish encyclopaedia says of King Artaxerxes that he was “not a creative genius.” Nevertheless, this post is for him and for all Gentiles who played a part in the Old Testament story of the Jewish people.

Plutarch said of Artaxerxes.

“The first Artaxerxes (465 – 425 BCE), among all the kings of Persia (Achaemanian Empire) the most remarkable for a gentle and noble spirit, was surnamed the Long-handed, his right hand being longer than his left, and was the son of Xerxes.”

About RectorChick

A parish priest in the Hedgerow Church of England.