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Series Theme: Why Read the Bible: Nehemiah





Why Read Nehemiah: Nehemiah is the second part of the return of the people of Judah and Benjamin from the Exile, following on historically from Ezra.


•  Chapters 1 & 2 reveal how Nehemiah's heart was moved when he heard of the state of Jerusalem as a city still broken down, and of his obviously good standing before the king and blessing by the Lord in being allowed to take more of his people back to the Promised Land to rebuild the city walls of Jerusalem.
•  Chapters 3 to 6 show us the way they went about rebuilding the walls and the opposition that they received from others in the land to the rebuilding project. He also has to contend with injustices among his own people.


•  chapters 7 & 11 show us the people involved while
•  chapter 8 becomes pivotal in the reading of the Law, provoking various reforms to life of the re-established nation, beginning with an acknowledgment in
•  chapter 9 of their failures before the Lord, followed in
•  chapter 10 by a fresh covenanting to put right the temple worship.
•  Chapter 12 is given over to dedication the walls to the Lord, and
•  chapter 13 sees Nehemiah having to bring various corrections to the life of the people: excluding foreigners from the people of Israel, restoring right use of the temple buildings, ensuring the Levites who served in the Temple are properly cared for, Sabbath trade being stopped and mixed marriages being stopped. In all these ways Nehemiah is taking serious steps to restore Israel to be the holy nation they had been called to be.

It is, therefore, a remarkable record of the re-establishing of the city of Jerusalem and the life of the Temple that had been rebuilt under Zerubbabel's direction. Ezra had arrived and brought the first wave of reforms but life in the land had subsequently appeared to drift somewhat and so Nehemiah brings those correctives. [Ezra was involved in Nehemiah as leading the reading of the Law [ch.8] and leads the procession in the dedicating of the walls [ch.12] but the main input in the book is that of Nehemiah.]

Time Frame: As with Ezra, it is important to try and grasp the times:

587 The sack of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar.

538 Cyrus sends the first group back to the Land to rebuild the Temple.

516 The Temple completed. (roughly a 20 year delay)

458 Ezra returns to Jerusalem. (roughly 60 years later)

445 Nehemiah returns to Jerusalem




PART ONE: Rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem

1: Nehemiah Prays

2: Artaxerxes Sends Nehemiah to Jerusalem

3: The Builders of the Walls

4: Opposition to the Rebuilding

5: Nehemiah Helps the Poor

6: Further Opposition & the Rebuilding Finished


PART TWO: Reordering the life of the City & Temple Worship

7: Establishing order & who had returned

8: The Law is read

9: Confessions of Sins

10: Covenanting to Establish Temple Worship

11: The People settle in the City & the Land

12: The Priests & Levites & Dedicating the Walls

13. Nehemiah's Final Reforms