Nehemiah

Nehemiah is the last book of Old Testament history. An interval of about twelve years occurred between the reformation under Ezra, and the coming of Nehemiah. This book contains the autobiography of Nehemiah, who was one of the outstanding leaders of all time. The book is taken up mainly with the account of the rebuilding of the wall of erusalem, and of the reformation led by Ezra and Nehemiah. The book may be divided as follows! ". %. (. +. The #uilding of the $all The &eading of the 'aw The )ettlement of the *ities The ,inal &eformation under Nehemiah

(1) THE BUILDING OF THE WALL - $hen Nebuchadnezzar carried the ews away as captives, he destroyed their city, including, )olomon-s temple, and the city wall. The record of this is found in % *hron. (.!"(/%". The temple had been rebuilt under the leadership of 0erubbabel, and the people were instructed by Ezra. #ut, the people were in danger, because the walls had not been rebuilt. )o, in this book, we see 1od raising up Nehemiah to lead the people in this vital work. Nehemiah was the cupbearer to the 2ersian 3ing Arta4er4es. The ews were favored by the 2ersians, and many of them held positions of importance. Nehemiah-s brother, returning from erusalem , brought a report of the terrible conditions in the city 5"!(6. Nehemiah-s heart was touched, and he gave himself to prayer and fasting. The sadness in his heart showed upo his face, and the 3ing en7uired of the reason. 58f a cupbearer was depressed around the king, he could be killed.6 Nehemiah was released from his duty, and given a leave of absence that lasted for several years. 9e was prepared to lay aside the lu4ury and ease of the palace, and go to this dangerous city and formidable task. in :ust ;% days, the wall was rebuilt. 8t was built <because the people had a mind to work= 5+!.6. Each man built ne4t to his house, and was responsible for a section of the wall. 8n a spirit of cooperation, they bent to the task. There were some, of course, who would not do their share, and there were others who willingly did more than their share. Opposition arose from the very commencement, and in it, we see a pattern of how )atan attempts to sabotage the work of 1od. ,irst, there was the ridicule of )anballat 5+!"6. Nehemiah did not answer them back, but prayed to 1od, and continued to work 5+!+/.6. )econdly, there was outright force from the enemies, in an attempt to stop the work 5+!>/?6. Nehemiah responded by praying and setting a watch. 9e knew the balance between human responsiility and dependence on 1od. ,rom that hour on they built readied for battle 5+!%"6. Then trouble arose from within. The rich had e4tracted usury from their poorer brethren 5;!"/;6. Nehemiah reacted with anger 5;!.6, and insisted that they follow his e4ample and discontinue this practice. Opposition then took on a new pattern. )naballat tried to get Nehemiah to compromise and be friends. 9e wanted to meet Nehemiah and work out a solution. Nehemiah-s reply is a masterpiece. 9e said, <8 am doing a great work, so that 8 cannot come down! 5.!(6. Other attempts to halt the work are described in this chapter. Even some of the nobles were conspiring with the enemies of 8srael 5.!">/"@6. )atan still uses these same tactics to hinder the work of 1od today. At last the wall was finished by the setting up of the door, and the placing in order of porters, singers and 'evites. Arrangements were made for the safety of the city in the presene of surrounding enemies by careful provision as to the hour of opening and closing the city gates, and by an arrangement of watchers. This work was delegated to 9anani, a faithful and 1od/fearing man 5>!"/(6. (2) THE READING OF THE LAW - 8n this section of the book, Ezra appears upon the scene. A remarkable spiritual convention was held. The first day witnessed the assembling of the people, and was given to the reading of the law. Ezra stood in a great wooden pulpit and e4plained its meaning 5?!"/;6. On the second day, a small er gathering of rulers was held, who came in order to more perfectly understand the law. 8n the reading of the 'aw, the discovered the feast of tabernacles, and immediately made preparation for the observance of it.

.. the 'evites and the rulers.ollowing the feast came the great day of humiliation. There are three main parts to this prayer. 5d6 Ci4ed warnings 5"(!%(/%?6. 5c6 The people were violating the )abbath 5"(!". the covenant referred to matters in which the people had been in danger of failure.Only a few people had returned from captivity. 5and6. 8t was around +%. they besought 1od for 9is help and belssing upon them 5A!+/(?6.ollowing this. 2articularly. 9e led them in a return to 1od. and in the last part. The first fourth part of the day was given to the reading of the 'aw. of the neglect of the )abbath. Nehemiah threw out Tobiah and his belongings and restored the chamber to its proper use 5"(!+/. and gave themselves to confession and humbling before 1od 5A!%6. 8t began with a reading of the 'aw 5"(!"6. to observe and do all the commandments=. #. All the people agreed to its terms. they contrasted 1od-s grace and patience with the repeated failure of the peole. (4) THE FINAL REFORMATION UNDER NEHEMIAH .%B >!+6. of Temple support. This covenant was sealed representatively by the priests.6.>/A6. so they now set about to allot them to various parts of the land. the second fourth part of the day ws given to confession and prayer.*. $hen osiah found and read the 'aw. he returned and found the peple had violated their covenant with 1od. The rest of the people settled in other areas.. The people promised <to walk in 1od-s 'aw. . a reformation started. Thus the book closes. Twelve years later. (3) THE SETTLEMENT OF THE CITIES . they entered into new covenant relationships with 1od. . . Nehemiah had evidently gone back to the 3ing. and offering of first fruits and tithes 5"@!%?/ (A6. )econd.. those of intermarriage with the heathen. They had not learned from history 5"(!%. so the princes and ten percent of the people were selected to live there.After the building of the wall.. The people separated themselves.. The 'evites led in a great prayer to 1od. the praised 1od. erusalem seemed to be a particularly dangerous place to live.irst. Then follows what has been called the four hundred silent years./%"6. and defend it 5""!". 5b6 The 'evites were out working for a living because the people would not tithe 5"(!"@/"%6. There were four abuses that confronted him! 5a6 Eliashib the priest had given place within the very temple of 1od to Tobiah.