- The book of Nehemia is named for its main character.
- After the exhile, Nehemiah was responsible for the refortification of
Jerusalem and the establishment of civil authority. He also began
- Originally, the books of Ezra and Nehemiah were one book, so our study
of Nehemiah should very much feel like a continuation of the study of
- Some scholar's believe that Ezra-Nehemiah was the second part of a larger
work known as the "Chronicler's History." This work consisted of what we
know as 1 and 2 Chronicles, Ezra, and Nehemiah. This point has been
disputed by other scholars and continues to be a matter of great debate.
- Nehemiah was probably compiled by Ezra, who would have used a number of
written sources, including Nehemiah's first person account.
- Another possibility is that Nehemiah was authored by Nehemiah, with Ezra
serving as editor.
- When studying Nehemiah and comparing it to Ezra, remember that Ezra was
a priest and that Nemiah was a layman. In Ezra, the emphasis is on
rebuilding the Temple. In Nehemiah, the emphasis is on rebuilding the
- Like Ezra, Nehemaiah dates to the latter half of the fifth century B.C.,
no earlier than 430 B.C.
- The majority of the book is Nehemiah's first-person memoirs. Ezra's
ministry is also included. Sources used to compile the book inclued
genealogical records, a covenant document, and a residency list.
- Nehemiah held a high office of some influence in the court of the Persian
king Artaxerses. He heard of the plight of his people in Jerusalem and
asked that he be alllowed to go to Jerusalem to help rebuild the wall.
- We'll see that when Nehemiah went to Jersualem, he was accompanied by an
escort of soldiers. This is in contrast to Ezra, who returned without
such an escort. A possible reason why is that Nehemiah's mission was
political, while Ezra's was religious.
- When Nehemiah returned to Jerusalem, he conducted a secret inspection
of the walls. The inspection was carried out in secret in order to hide
the news of his plans from neighboring enemies.
- During the rebuilding, the Jews faced two serious problems. The first
problem was one of psychological warfare from neighboring enemies
designed to discourage the building project.
- The second problem was the poverty of the Jews.
- Nehemiah served as governor of Judah for twelve years and returned to
the royal court of Persia. After a few years, he returned to Jerusalem
and was dismayed to find that the principles he had laid down during
his time as governor had been neglected.
- "God enriched His people with protection by the walls Nehemiah rebuilt
and by the law Ezra reestablished." (Holman Bible Handbook)
- Nehemiah is the last of the Old Testament historical books. It record
the history of the third return to Jerusalem after captivity, telling
how the walls were rebuilt and the people were renewed in their faith.
- Nehemiah continues the story of the restored community, with a focus on
the political restoration. (Contrast with Ezra's focus on religious
- By Nehemiah's rebuilding of the city walls, Jerusalem's political
integrity was restored and threats from neighboring adversaries were
- Even though the focus is on a political restoration, the religious status
of the Jews is not ignored. As we've discussed before, the political and
religious aspects of Jerusalem are tightly bound to each other.
- Nehemiah also focuses on worship, drawing attention to the Levites and
the priests, who were the first to begin work on rebuilding the wall.
- Nehemiah also focuses on the soverignty of God, especially in his appointment
and protection of Nehemiah. This was accomplished through the kings of
Persia. Even Nehemiah's enemies noted that Nehemiah's protection was
- Prayer is also a focus in Nehemiah. "Prayer is the fulcrum that engages God
to act in Israel's behalf." (Holman Bible Handbook) We will see examples of
invocations for divine blessing, curses on wicked opposition, prayers of
confession, and prayers for intervention.
- Nehemiah also focuses on the fact that Scripture is the driving force that
brings the exiles back to the Lord, particularly the Law of Moses.
- Nehemiah also focuses on community. The cooperative work of the returned
exiles made it possible for them to come together and form a tight community.
- Nehemiah shows the fulfillment of the prophecies of Zechariah and Daniel
concerning the rebuilding of Jersualem's walls.