Having shared his account of the building of the wall in chapters 1-7, Nehemiah now depicts for us the dedication day, with its twin processions and loud rejoicing for their restoration (v.27-43).
After an extensive rebuilding program that touched the lives of the entire community and brought security and pride to the people of Jersulem again. It was a time to celebrate the goodness of God and give thanks. There is no doubt that this would have been a spectacular event to behold, bringing together Levites, singers and musicians from the surrounding regions. But it was also a sacred event requiring the purification (v.30) of the Levites, the people and gates and wall itself.
Two impressive choirs led the processions which departed in different directions to circumnavigate the city, coming together at the house of the Lord (v.40) where great sacrifices and loud rejoicing was offereds because “God had given them great joy.”
In verses 44- 47, this show of joy and zeal is tapped into, to ensure that worship remains part of the fabric of society with key appointments made to collect and look after the tithes and offerings and lead worship.
While the story of Nehemiah teaches us that rubble can be transformed to restore pride and give security again, the Parable of the Tenants in Matthew 21:33-45 further educates us that more than physical walls can be built with that which has been rejected.
“‘The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
this was the Lord’s doing,
and it is marvellous in our eyes’?
Jesus prophecises of a time when those very walls that Nehemiah built up, were about to come tumbling down again, because the religious zeal for God had been lost (v.43-45).