450 BC to 430 BC, Psalm 25: Redemption.

This site was first built in French (see www.147thgeneration.net). The English translation was mainly done using “google translation”. We have tried to correct the result of this translation to avoid interpretation errors. However, it is likely that there are unsatisfactory translations, do not hesitate to communicate them to us for correction.
(for that click on this paragraph)

    Summary

This generation is from the years 450 BC to 430 BC

According to our count, this generation is the 25th generation associated with Psalm 25. It is in this Psalm 25 that we therefore find an illustration of the facts of this generation.

This generation is that of the second part of the reign of Artaxerxes, king of Persia, and of the continuation of the action of Nehemiah. Straddling this generation and the previous one, Nehemiah was able to work on rebuilding Jerusalem, especially its walls and gates. After worrying about stone restoration, Nehemiah to this generation is working to restore worship and rebuild Jewish identity in the land of Israel.

On the one hand, the people of Israel are returning to their land and their Temple but on the other hand the people have been decimated by the battle against Nebuchadnezzar and the aftermath of exile. We are far from the greatness of the people of Israel when Moses entrusted it to Joshua on the threshold of the promised land. Far from the grandeur of the kingdom of David or Solomon. Despite this, God has remained faithful to his people and has kept his promise not to destroy it completely and never to abandon it completely.

The people of Israel rely on divine mercy to rebuild themselves.

Talk

Rebuild

This generation is that of the second part of the reign of Artaxerxes, king of Persia, which lasted about forty years or approximately two generations, this one and the previous one.

This generation is also that of the continuation of the action of Nehemiah. Straddling this generation and the previous one, Nehemiah was able to work on rebuilding Jerusalem, especially its walls and gates. After worrying about stone restoration, Nehemiah to this generation is working to restore worship and rebuild Jewish identity in the land of Israel.

In order to celebrate the renewal of the people of Israel, which has begun since the reconstruction of Jerusalem, Ezra is organizing the Feast of Tabernacles before the people of Israel once again:

  • Now[1] all the people gathered as one man to the square that was before the Water Gate, and they said to Ezra the scholar to bring the scroll of the Law of Moses, which the Lord had commanded Israel.
  • And Ezra the priest brought the Law before the congregation, both men and women, and all who could hear with understanding, on the first day of the seventh month.
  • And he read in it before the square that was before the Water Gate from the [first] light until midday in the presence of the men and the women and those who understood, and the ears of all the people were [attentive] to the Scroll of the Law. (…)
  • Then Nehemiah-he is Hattirshatha-and Ezra the priest, the scholar, and the Levites who caused the people to understand, said to all the people, “This day is holy to the Lord your God; neither mourn nor weep,” for all the people were weeping when they heard the words of the Law.
  • And he said to them, “Go, eat fat foods and drink sweet drinks and send portions to whoever has nothing prepared, for the day is holy to our Lord, and do not be sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
  • And the Levites quieted all the people, saying, “Hush, for the day is holy, and do not be sad.”
  • Then all the people went to eat and to drink and to send portions and to rejoice greatly, for they understood the words that they informed them of.
  • And on the second day, the heads of the fathers’ houses of all the people, the priests, and the Levites, gathered to Ezra the scholar, and to understand the words of the Torah.
  • And they found written in the Torah that the Lord had commanded by the hand of Moses that the Children of Israel dwell in booths on the festival in the seventh month.
  • And that they should announce and proclaim in all their cities and in Jerusalem, saying, “Go out to the mountain and bring olive leaves and leaves of oil trees, myrtle leaves, date palm leaves, and leaves of plaited trees, to make booths, as it is written.”
  • And the people went forth and brought [them] and made booths for themselves, each one on his roof and in their courts and in the courts of the House of God, and in the square of the Water Gate, and in the square of the Gate of Ephraim.
  • And all the congregation of the returnees from the captivity made booths and dwelt in the booths, for they had not done so from the days of Jeshua the son of Nun until that day, and there was exceedingly great joy.

This return to the Divine Law and Covenant, despite the fragility of the people of Israel newly settled on their land and in a position of inferiority in relation to their enemies, is illustrated in the beginning of the psalm:

(extract of the psalm 27 associated to this generation, verses 1 to 5 )

  • Of David. To You, O Lord, I will lift up my soul.
  • My God, I trusted in You; let me not be ashamed. Nor shall my enemies rejoice over me.
    • Those who opposed the reconstruction of the walls of Jerusalem (see previous psalm) and who remain a threat to the reconstruction of the people of Israel.
  • Neither shall any of those who hope for You be ashamed;
    • Priests order rejoicing, not mourning.
  • let those who betray [to the extent of] destitution be ashamed.
  • O Lord, let me know Your ways;
    • The priests have just read again to the people the Torah.
  • teach me Your paths.
    • The people of Israel are now determined to follow the law of God. And following this episode, the people of Israel will fully celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles.
  • Direct me with Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; I hope for You all day long.

A difficult return

It is in this ambiguous situation that Nehemiah and Ezra must rebuild the people of Israel.

On the one hand, the people of Israel are returning to their land and their Temple but on the other hand the people have been decimated by the battle against Nebuchadnezzar and the aftermath of exile. We are far from the greatness of the people of Israel when Moses entrusted it to Joshua on the threshold of the promised land. Far from the grandeur of the kingdom of David or Solomon. Despite this, God has remained faithful to his people and has kept his promise not to destroy it completely and never to abandon it completely.

This is the meaning of the discourse of the Levites which follows the celebration of the feast of Sukkot that we have just mentioned. Remember that the people have suffered a lot but this is justified by the magnitude of the faults. The fact that, despite this, God remains faithful to his people is a positive result:

  • And[2] the Levites said, namely Jeshua, and Kadmiel, Bani, Hashabniah, Sherebiah, Hodiah, Shebaniah, [and] Pethahiah, “Rise, bless the Lord your God from everlasting to everlasting, and they shall bless Your glorious Name, for He is exalted above every blessing and praise.
  • You alone are the Lord; You made the heavens, the heavens of the heavens and all their host, the earth and all that is upon it, the seas and all that is in them, and You give life to them all, and the heavenly host bow down before You.
  • You are the Lord God, Who chose Abram, took him out of Ur of the Chaldees and made his name Abraham.
  • And You found his heart faithful before You, and You made the covenant with him to give the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, and the Girgashites, to give to his seed, and You kept Your words, for You are righteous.
  • And You saw the affliction of our fathers in Egypt, and You heard their cry by the Sea of Reeds.
  • And You performed signs and wonders against Pharaoh and against all his servants and against all the people of his land, for You knew that they dealt wickedly with them, and You made for Yourself a name as of this day.
  • And You split the sea before them, and they passed in the midst of the sea on dry land, and their pursuers You cast into the depths, like a stone in mighty waters.
  • And with a pillar of cloud You led them by day, and with a pillar of fire at night to illuminate for them the way in which they should go.
  • And You descended upon Mount Sinai and spoke with them from heaven, and You gave them right ordinances and laws of truth, good statutes and commandments.
  • And Your holy Sabbath You made known to them, and commandments and statutes and the Law You commanded them, by the hand of Your servant Moses.
  • And bread from heaven You gave them for their hunger, and You took water out of a rock for them for their thirst, and You said to them to come to inherit the land that You raised Your hand to give them.

This reminder, made by the Levites, of the divine election of the people of Israel and the bounties of God to their people illustrates the following verse of the psalm of this generation:

(extract of the psalm 27 associated to this generation, verse 6  )

  • Remember Your mercies, O Lord, and Your kindnesses, for they have been since time immemorial.

The Levites in their speech continue by recalling the faults of the people of Israel and the resulting sanctions.

  • But[3] they and our forefathers behaved wickedly, and they stiffened their necks and did not hearken to Your commandments.
  • And they refused to listen, and they did not remember Your wonders that You performed with them, and they stiffened their necks, and they appointed a leader to return to their bondage because of their rebelliousness, but You are a God of forgivenesses, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, with much loving-kindness, and You did not forsake them.
  • Although they had made themselves a molten calf, and said, ‘This is your god who brought you up from Egypt,’ and they committed great provocations.
  • But You,with Your abundant mercies, did not forsake them in the desert; the pillar of cloud did not turn away from them by day to lead them on the way, neither did the pillar of fire at night to illuminate for them the way in which they should go.
  • And You gave Your good spirit to make them understand, and You did not withhold Your manna from their mouth, and You gave them water for their thirst.
  • And forty years You sustained them in the desert; they did not want. Their garments did not wear out, and their feet did not swell.
  • And You gave them kingdoms and peoples, and You separated them into a corner, and they inherited the land of Sihon, and the land of the king of Heshbon, and the land of Og the king of Bashan.
  • And You multiplied their children like the stars of the heavens, and You brought them to the Land that You had promised their forefathers, to come [and] inherit [it].
  • And the children came and inherited the land, and You vanquished the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites, before them, and You delivered them into their hands, and their kings and the peoples of the land to do to them as they wished.
  • And they captured fortified cities and fat soil, and they inherited houses full of all good, hewn cisterns, vineyards, and olive trees, and fruit trees in abundance, and they ate and were sated, and they became fat, and they enjoyed pleasures with Your great goodness.
  • And they disobeyed and rebelled against You, and they cast Your Law behind their backs, and they slew Your prophets who warned them, to bring them back to You, and they committed great provocations.
  • And You delivered them into the hands of their adversaries who distressed them, and at the time of their distress they cried out to You, and You heard from heaven, and according to Your abundant mercies, you gave them saviors, who saved them from the hands of their adversaries.
  • But when they had rest, they would revert to do evil before You, and You left them in the hands of their enemies, and they ruled over them, and they returned and cried out to You, and from heaven You heard and rescued them according to Your mercy many times.

This reminder of the past is to be compared with the following verses of the psalm:

(extract of the psalm 27 associated to this generation, verses 7  to 13 )

  • The sins of my youth and my transgressions, do not remember;
  • These faults are widely remembered by the Levites. 
  • what is worthy of Your kindness, You remember for me, for the sake of Your goodness, O Lord.
  • The Lord is good and upright; therefore, He leads sinners on the road.
  • He leads the humble with just rules and He teaches the humble His way.
  • All the Lord’s ways are kindness and truth for those who keep His covenant and His testimonies.
  • For Your name’s sake, O Lord, You shall forgive my iniquity, for it is great.
  • Who is this man who fears the Lord?
  • Whenever the people of Israel recovers, God forgives them their faults.
  • He will guide him on the road that he chooses.
  • His soul shall abide in prosperity, and his seed shall inherit the earth.
  • Allusion to the entry into the promised land despite the faults of the desert.
  • The secret of the Lord is with those who fear Him, and His covenant is to let them know [it].
  • The succession of faults and their redemption progressively brings the people of Israel closer to their God.

Mercy

Thus, relying on God’s past mercy to his people, the Levites then recall the situation that the people of Israel are experiencing after their return from exile. Again, the people of Israel rely on divine mercy for rebuilding themselves:

  • But[4] with Your abundant mercies You did not wreak destruction upon them, and You did not forsake them, for You are a gracious and merciful God.
  • And now, our God, the great, mighty, and awesome God, Who keeps the covenant and the loving- kindness, do not belittle all the travail that has befallen us, our kings, our princes, our priests, our prophets, our forefathers, and all Your people from the days of the kings of Assyria until this day.
  • And You are just with all that has come upon us, for You have dealt truly and we have dealt wickedly.
  • And our kings, our princes, our priests, and our forefathers did not keep Your Law and did not hearken to Your commandments and to Your warnings, which You warned them.
  • And they, in their kingdom and with Your abundant goodness, which You gave them, and in the wide and fat land that You placed before them, they did not serve You, and they did not repent of their evil deeds.
  • Behold, today we are slaves, and the land that You gave our forefathers to eat its fruit and its goodness-behold we are slaves upon it.
  • And it lavishes its produce upon the kings whom You have appointed over us because of our sins, and they rule over our bodies and over our cattle as they wish, and we are in great distress.

The evocation made by the Levites of the miserable situation in which the people of Israel find themselves, on their return from exile under the domination of other peoples, thus still paying the faults of the past as he made his return to God, illustrates the end of the psalm. Who is a prayer to God so that he may take pity on his people again:

(extract of the psalm 27 associated to this generation, verses 14  to 22 )

  • The secret of the Lord is with those who fear Him, and His covenant is to let them know [it].
  • My eyes are always to God for He will take my feet out of the net.
  • Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am alone and poor.
  • The troubles of my heart have increased; deliver me from my straits.
  • See my affliction and my toil, and forgive all my sins.
  • See my enemies for they have increased, and they hate me with unjust hatred.
  • Guard my soul and save me; let me not be shamed for I have taken refuge in You.
  • Sincerity and uprightness shall guard me, for I have hoped for You.
  • O God, redeem Israel from all its troubles.


[1] Nechemiah – Nehemiah – Chapter 8, verses 1 to 3 and 9 to 17

[2] Nechemiah – Nehemiah – Chapter 9, verses 5 to 15

[3] Nechemiah – Nehemiah – Chapter 9, verses 16 to 28

[4] Nechemiah – Nehemiah – Chapter 9, verses 31 to 37