Who was Nehemiah?
- Nehemiah was a contemporary of Ezra.
- He was born in exile and became cupbearer to the Persian king Artaxerxes.
What happens in the book?
- Many Jews had returned to the land of Israel from exile.
- The events in the book of Ezra took place about 11 years earlier.
- The work of rebuilding Jerusalem has slowed down due to external opposition and internal apathy.
- Nehemiah is sad to hear of this state of affairs and prays for Jerusalem and for the people.
- The king asks why he is sad and then gives him permission to go to Jerusalem to rebuild it.
- Nehemiah travels to Jerusalem and once there inspects the city walls.
- Despite opposition he inspires the people to rebuild the walls.
- The job is finished in under 2 months.
- Guards and gatekeepers are established.
- Following this, Ezra and the priests read the Law to the people.
- The people confess their sins and rededicate themselves to God.
- Nehemiah continues his work of reformation.
How was the building work opposed?
- The building work was mocked – Chapter 2:19
- Anger was directed at the Jews – Chapter 4:1
- Enemies plotted to fight against the Jews – Chapter 4:8
- Enemies schemed to capture Nehemiah – Chapter 6:2
What can we learn from the character of Nehemiah?
- The book begins and ends with prayer, and Nehemiah is seen throughout to be a man of prayer. He does not carry out a task without praying about it.
- The prayer is always supplemented with hard work and determination.
- His work inspired others to work hard as well, and because of this the people together overcame opposition.
Next time – Bitesize Book of Esther!