Lesson 17  The Book of Nehemiah



A.    The Period of time between the books of Ezra and Nehemiah is     

      about twelve years.


      Nehemiah was in a position of great responsibility. 

      Skilled in the diplomacy and trickery of the Oriental

      courts, a cupbearer of the king in the Persian palace,

      leads the third and last return to Jerusalem after the

      Babylonian exile.


B.    Clearly, much of this book came from Nehemiah's personal memoirs.




      Some scholars think that Ezra wrote Chapter 7:6-26 & 12:44-

      13-3 and that he compiled the rest making use of Nehemiah's

      diary.  Others think that Nehemiah composed those portions

      and compiled the rest.


C.    Malachi lives and ministers during Nehemiah's time, and a

      comparison of the books shows that many of the evils   

      encountered by Nehemiah are specifically denounced by      

      Malachi.  The cold hearted indifference toward God described

      in both books remains a problem in Israel during the four

      hundred years before Christ, during which there is no

      revelation from God.


D.    The Key Word:  Jerusalem Walls


      While Ezra deals with the religious restoration of Judah,

      Nehemiah is primarily concerned with Judah's political and

      geographical restoration.




     Its two divisions are:







The Reconstruction of the Wall


Chapter 1 & 2


     Nehemiah was of the tribe of Judah (2:3).

     He was raised in exile and became prominent in the Persian court.

     He was the royal cupbearer(1:11), a position of high honor and great influence.


      His brother told him of the condition of Jerusalem and     

      Judea. The walls were in ruins and the gates were as they

      were left by the Babylonians when Judea was taken captive.

      Walls and gates were the only way to protect a city.


      Nehemiah gave himself to fasting and prayer (1:4-11) and

      he was convicted to undertake the task.  For 4 months

     (Compare 1:1 with 2:1) he knew this grief and burden and

      his appearance changed to the point that the king asked

      what was wrong (2:2).  He responded (2:5) and the king

      granted the request and he is commissioned to do what God

      led him to undertake.


Chapters 2-6


      Nehemiah reaches Jerusalem and makes a secret survey of the

      ruins and then he encourages the people to build.





      His plan was to section off the wall (Chapter 3) into

      different groups, all working at the same time.  It was so

      successful, that in spite of opposition, the wall was

      rebuilt in just over seven weeks (6:15) after which the

      gates were finished (7:1).  All work is completed within

      six months of the mandate from the King of Persia.  Here we

      see the blending of practical organization and spirit led

      leadership.  In 4:9 we see this. "We made our prayers unto

      God and set a watch against them day and night." We too,

      should blend the practical with the Spiritual.


      NOTE: The setbacks were many and Nehemiah had to over come

      them.  There were three forms of opposition from without:


                  SCORN   -  4:1-6

                  FORCE   -   4:7-23

                  CRAFT   -   6:1-19 (pretense v. 1-4; bluff 5-9

                                      and treachery 10-14)


      Also note the hindrances from within:


                  DEBRIS  -   4:10

                  FEAR    -   4:11-14

                  GREED   -   5:1-13









      The people themselves asked for the scriptures to be expounded to them.





      Ezra explained afresh the law, translating from Hebrew into

      Aramaic so that they could understand.


      They responded with weeping, confession, obedience and

      rejoicing.  The covenant is then renewed with God as the

      people commit themselves to separate from the Gentiles in

      marriage and to obey God's commandments.


CHAPTERS 11 & 12


      Lots are drawn to determine who will remain in Jerusalem

      and who will return to the cities of their inheritance.  One

      tenth are required to stay in Jerusalem and the rest of the

      land is re-settled by the people and priests.  The Walls of

      Jerusalem are dedicated to the Lord in a joyful ceremony

      accompanied by instrumental and vocal music.




      Unfortunately, Ezra's revival is short lived and Nehemiah

      returns from Persia to reform the people who had

      backslidden. 13:6___________________________________________




      Nehemiah cleanses the Temple, enforces the Sabbath and

      requires the people to put away all foreign wives.











1.    What was Nehemiah's objective in going to Jerusalem?




2.    What stands out in your mind about Nehemiah?




3.    Name the two parts in the Book.




4.    What motivated the people to obedience?




5.    What prophet did God use during this time?








Read the Book of Esther