Nehemiah is a an official in the court of King Artaxerxes of Persia. In 445 BC, he travels to Jerusalem, overcomes opposition, and rebuilds the walls of the city.
The book is named for its author.
Most people agree that Nehemiah authored this book. Much of it is a first-person account of the circumstances surrounding his return to Jerusalem.
Nehemiah was probably born in Persia sometime during or soon after Zerubbabel’s ministry in Jerusalem. But we know almost nothing about his childhood, youth, or family background.
Nehemiah had risen to a position of prominence. He served King Artaxerxes as his personal cupbearer.
Nehemiah probably wrote this book soon after all its events were completed. If so, that means the book was written around 430 BC or shortly thereafter.
The LORD God had promised Israel that if they obeyed him, he would bless them as a nation. But if they did not obey him, he would cause them to be taken into captivity.
In the ensuing centuries, the kings did not obey the LORD God. Their lives were characterized by immoral behavior and idolatry. They led the way into ever-increasing evil.
Consequently, the Northern Kingdom fell to the Assyrian Empire in 722 BC. And the Southern Kingdom fell to the Babylonian Empire in 586 BC.
The people of the Southern Kingdom remained intact during their exile in Babylon. After the Babylonian Empire was defeated by the Medes and Persians in 539 BC, many Jewish people were permitted to return to their homeland.
In 444 BC, Nehemiah returned. The LORD God used Nehemiah to guide Judah in rebuilding the city’s walls and in reordering the people’s social and economic lives.
What he accomplished in a brief period of time was an incredible feat.
Restoration of the walls
Restoration of the temple
Nehemiah 6:3. I sent messengers to them, saying, “I am doing a great work, so that I can’t come down. Why should the work cease, while I leave it, and come down to you?”
Nehemiah 8:10b. Don’t be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.
Nehemiah 12:43. They offered great sacrifices that day, and rejoiced; for God had made them rejoice with great joy; and the women and the children also rejoiced; so that the joy of Jerusalem was heard even far away.
Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.