by M. Jolaine Szymkowiak

All Who Could Hear With Understanding
M. Jolaine Szymkowiak
A Group Bible Study - The First of its Kind
Nehemiah 8:2-10

Just this past weekend, my friend and I were having breakfast together and conversing. I was listening but watching what was going on around me. All of a sudden she says, "Hello?" and I realize to my chagrin I thought I was listening, though not really hearing a word she said, paying more attention to the activity at the next table. Yet, upon looking back at the situation, did I even comprehend what was going on in that situation either? It was just something to watch. We hear, but do we always comprehend, or understand what is being said to us.

Sometimes, I wonder if we even really care. We are so used to the TV blaring something out, or the radio, now it is the computer or IPOD or whatever will bring instant and constant noise to our ear to drowned out whatever we need to be thinking about or doing.

Today in scripture, we are going to hear of a time when oral communication and stories was the way of life. Yes, there was a written language at that time, there were many books, but for the common man to be able to read, it was an oral history they had. Their minds were accustomed to hearing great histories of their culture and of telling those stories word for word from one person to the next, from one town to the next. It was a time, we who now depend upon the TV, computer, or radio for our news, will probably never experience nor have the skill to accomplish the telling of oral history to the degree it has been in history.

In this passage of Nehemiah we read of a people returning to Jerusalem after whey had been in exile. The Temple had been rebuilt, not to the splendor of the Temple built by Solomon, but it had been given back the gold and silver vessels, and rebuilt by decree of Cyrus, king of Babylon (Ezra 6:3ff), and further decreed by Darius and then Artaxerxes. Ezra the priest, Nehemiah the governor and Zecharia ...

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