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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

I Can’t Come Down

Having a little fun with a Bible story
from chapters 2 through 6 of Nehemiah,
a book in the Old Testament. In verse 6:3
Nehemiah answers a letter: “I am doing
a great work and I cannot come down.”
That couplet is deliberately off-meter
in this poem, by the way.

Old Jerusalem was ruins
When the king of Babylon
Sent his servant Nehemiah
Back to get a rebuild done.
But the locals didn’t like it;
They were threatened by the act.
First they tried (and failed) to scare his crew
By planning an attack.

After Nehemiah’s critics
Couldn’t scare them off the job,
They tried luring Nehemiah out
To kill him on the spot.
“Yeah! We’ll pound him into pudding!”
Sneered the evil Sanballat.
“He’s a slave, he’s easy pickings.
That’ll be the end of that!”

Nehemiah wasn’t stupid
And he didn’t mess around.
He said, “I got a lot to do
And I can’t come down!”

They sent many other letters.
Every answer was the same:
“I got better things to do today.
You oughta be ashamed!”
Sanballat bought off some prophets;
He bought off officials too.
He paid lots of folks to lie…
But Nehemiah wasn’t fooled.

Nehemiah never wavered
And he never messed around.
He said, “I got a lot to do
And I can’t come down!”

As the walls got ever higher
All the workers’ spirits rose
While their enemies’ sank lower;
Fear of God had gripped their souls!
And when all the walls were finished,
Sanballat could only frown
‘Cause it didn’t matter what he did…
They wouldn’t come down.

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