|In addition, from the time that I was appointed to be their governor in the land of Judah (that is, from the twentieth to the thirty-second year of King Artaxerxes for a total of twelve years), neither I nor my family ate from the governor’s food allowance. |
The earlier governors who had come before me laid heavy burdens on the people. They took food and wine from them as well as forty shekels of silver. Even their servants oppressed the people. But because I was God-fearing, I didn’t behave in this way.
Instead, I devoted myself to the work on this wall. We acquired no land, and all my servants were gathered there for the work.
One hundred fifty Jews and officials, along with those who came to us from the surrounding nations, gathered around my table.
One ox, six choice sheep, and birds were prepared each day. Every ten days there was a large amount of wine. Yet even with this I didn’t ask for the governor’s food allowance because of the heavy burden the people had to carry.
Remember in my favor, my God, all that I’ve done for this people!
Because he still received wages from the Persian king, Nehemiah lived entirely at his own expense, requiring no contributions from the people for his work. This was an unusual practice among governors of the day who usually received money or provisions from the people to augment their wages. In these verses, Nehemiah acknowledges how much he has done for the Jewish people, but it is interesting to note that he just states it factually-- he is not looking for a pat on the back. Nehemiah didn’t look to the people for favor or reward. It was only God’s praise that mattered to him.
In your life, do you seek acknowledgement for your good deeds from the people around you, or are you content knowing that your actions are favorable to God?