Nehemiah led the third and final return of the Jews to Jerusalem after their captivity. He was raised up to rebuild Judah’s protective barriers – the wall and their obedience to the law of God. The Book of Nehemiah displays God’s protection and preservation of His people by protecting them while they rebuilt their walls and sending men to call His people to obey His laws.
Nehemiah recognized the importance of prayer, and cried out to God on many occasions. Sanballat, Tobiah, and Geshem’s hostility towards Nehemiah began with mockery and false accusations (Neh. 2:19) but quickly escalated to violent plots (Neh. 4:7–8). After Nehemiah had discovered the plot to ambush the Jewish workers, he made half of his servants stand guard with the weapons while the other half worked on the wall (Neh. 4:16). It took the Jews 52 days to repair Jerusalem’s walls (Neh. 6:15). Ezra and Nehemiah were contemporaries (Neh. 8:9). Theme: Rebuilding the Wall
In Nehemiah, God is glorifying Himself through the Jews rebuilding their walls, so that He might demonstrate His superior goodness in the salvation sinners, the damnation of the wicked, and for the preservation of His people for His eternal glory, and their eternal joy.
Most of the book’s content is Nehemiah’s own eyewitness testimony, making it likely that he authored the other sections. However, since Ezra and Nehemiah were treated as single book until about the 3rd century A.D., some think it more likely that Ezra authored both Ezra and Nehemiah (and incorporated Nehemiah’s memoirs), or that a third author combined Ezra and Nehemiah into a single book.
The book’s latest time marker is Nehemiah’s return to Artaxerxes in the 32nd year of his reign (424 B.C.), making this the earliest possible time of writing. Nehemiah probably wrote his book before the end of Artaxerxes’ reign (424 B.C.), since a change in Persian leadership is not mentioned or alluded to in the text.
“But when Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah the Ammonite official, and Geshem the Arab heard of it, they laughed at us and despised us, and said, ‘What is this thing that you are doing? Will you rebel against the king?’ So I answered them, and said to them, ‘The God of heaven Himself will prosper us; therefore we His servants will arise and build, but you have no heritage or right or memorial in Jerusalem.’ ”
“Therefore I positioned men behind the lower parts of the wall, at the openings; and I set the people according to their families, with their swords, their spears, and their bows. And I looked, and arose and said to the nobles, to the leaders, and to the rest of the people, ‘Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, great and awesome, and fight for your brethren, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your houses.’ ”
“For they all were trying to make us afraid, saying, ‘Their hands will be weakened in the work, and it will not be done.’ Now therefore, O God, strengthen my hands.”
Nehemiah is a type of Christ. While Nehemiah was sent by God to build the walls of Jerusalem, Christ was sent by His Father to build His church. Like Nehemiah, Christ cleansed the Temple. Like Nehemiah, Christ wept over Jerusalem.
What was Nehemiah’s response when he heard about the destruction of Jerusalem?
He wept, fasted, and prayed for many days (Neh. 1:4).
What position did Nehemiah hold?
He was the king’s cupbearer (Neh. 1:11).
What did Nehemiah ask of the king?
That he would send him to rebuild Jerusalem (Neh. 2:5).
What was the response of Sanballat, Tobiah, and Geshem when they heard that the Jews were going to rebuild the wall?
They laughed at and despised the Jews (Neh. 2:19).
Who built the Sheep Gate?
Eliashib the high priest and his brethren (Neh. 3:1).
What was Sanballat’s response when he heard that the people of Israel were rebuilding the wall?
He was furious and very indignant, and he mocked the Jews (Neh. 4:1).
What did Tobiah say about the strength of the new wall?
He claimed that even a fox would be able to break it down (Neh. 4:3).
Why did Nehemiah tell the people not to be afraid of their enemies?
Because the Lord was great and awesome (Neh. 4:14).
What did Nehemiah write in response to Sanballat’s letter?
“No such things as you say are being done, but you invent them in your own heart” (Neh. 6:8).
What did Nehemiah ask God to do when his enemies were trying to make the people afraid?
He asked God to strengthen his hands (Neh. 6:9).
How long did it take the Jews to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem?
52 days (Neh. 6:15).
Who was Hananiah?
He was the leader of the citadel, a faithful man, who feared God more than many (Neh. 7:2).
What did God put into Nehemiah’s heart after he had rebuilt the wall?
To register the people by genealogy (Neh. 7:5).
What did Ezra read before the people?
The Book of the Law of Moses (Neh. 8:1–8).
How did the people respond when they heard the words of the Law?
They all wept (Neh. 8:9).
What did the people of Israel do with the Ammonites and the Moabites after they read the Law of the Lord?
They separated from them (Neh. 13:1–3).