Bitesize Bible Study – The Book of Nehemiah

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! 

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