The great drought (Jer 14:2-14:6)

“Judah mourns.

Her gates languish.

Her people lie in gloom

On the ground.

The cry of Jerusalem goes up.

Her nobles send their servants

For water.

They come to the cisterns.

They find no water.

They return

With their vessels empty.

They are ashamed.

They are dismayed.

They cover their heads.

Because the ground is cracked.

Because there has been no rain

On the land.

The farmers are dismayed.

They cover their heads.

Even the doe in the field

Forsakes her newborn fawn.

Because there is no grass.

The wild asses stand

On the bare heights.

They pant for air

Like jackals.

Their eyes fail.

Because there is no herbage.”

This drought had Judah in mourning. Gloom was all around. The nobles sent their servants for water, but the well cisterns had no water. Thus they returned empty handed, being ashamed and dismayed. They too went into mourning by covering their heads. The dry ground was cracking because there had been no rain in the land. The farmers were dismayed and went into mourning by covering their heads. Even the deer were giving up their young fawns since they could not find any grass. The wild asses on the bare heights had breathing difficulties. Their eyes were failing because they could not find any wild green plants to eat. Everyone was having difficulty in this drought.

Governor Nehemiah (Neh 5:14-5:15)

“Moreover from the time that I was appointed to be their governor in the land of Judah, from the twentieth year to the thirty-second year of King Artaxerxes, twelve years, neither I nor my brothers ate the food allowance of the governor. The former governors who were before me put a heavy burden on the people. They took food and wine from them, besides forty shekels of silver. Even their servants oppressed the people. But I did not do so, because of the fear of God.”

Nehemiah defended himself for his 12 years of service, from the 20th to the 32nd year of King Artaxerxes. He never took full advantage of his position as governor to take the governor’s food. He did not demand 40 silver shekels like his predecessors who had ruled this area from Samaria. Even his servants were better than their servants. He did all this because he feared God.