The book of Nehemiah may be divided into four parts: (1) The return of Nehemiah to Jerusalem, where he has been sent by the Persian emperor to govern Judah. (2) The rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem. (3) The solemn reading of the Law of God by Ezra and the people's confession of sin. (4) Further activities of Nehemiah as governor of Judah.
A notable feature of the book is the record of Nehemiah's deep dependence on God and his frequent prayers to him.
Outline of Contents
Nehemiah returns to Jerusalem (1.1—2.20)
The walls of Jerusalem are rebuilt (3.1—7.73)
The Law is read, and the covenant is renewed (8.1—10.39)
Further activities of Nehemiah (11.1—13.31)
Ezra and Nehemiah were originally one book. They tell about the period after the exile when the Persian kings Cyrus and Artaxerxes allowed the Jewish people to return to their homeland and rebuild their cities and the Temple in Jerusalem. Nehemiah, a former official in the Persian court, was appointed governor of Judah and saw that the wall around Jerusalem was rebuilt so that the people would be safe from foreign influences and military threats. See also Haggai and Zechariah for more about this period in Jewish history.
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