Nechemia Thirteen: Fundamentalism

This chapter comes with all the drama – racial profiling, religious fundamentalism, anger issues, and a huge dollop of self-righteousness courtesy of our man Nehemia. It’s definitely in keeping with the tone of the rest of the book, which I suppose makes it a fitting note to end on, but doesn’t particularly speak to me. It actually makes me really happy that there’s still another book to go before the end of this project. I don’t really like Nehemia, and the verse I chose is just one reason why. “And I commanded the Levites that the watchers of the walls should purify themselves and come to hallow the Sabbath day. This too remember for me, my God, and have pity on me according to Your abundant loving-kindness (Nehemia 13:22).” Maybe I’m being too judgmental, but this just reminds me of modern self-appointed religious zealots who decide that they know what’s best, impose regulations on others, and then expect to be praised/rewarded. So much of what I’m taking away from my readings of Tanakh is an embrace of the complexity and imperfection of our tradition, and I wish others would as well.

With that, Nehemia is done, and tomorrow I start the last book(s) of Project 929! I’ve never read Chronicles before, so I’m excited for something new to end with, and am also getting a little sad that this project that has been a mainstay for me for literally years is coming to an end. 864 chapters down, 65 to go!


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