Nehemiah Graphics

Nehemiah Time

 Jerusalem destroyed; exiles go to Babylon First exiles return to Jerusalem Temple completedXerxes becomes king of Persia  Artaxerxes I becomes king of Persia Ezra comes to JerusalemNehemiah comes to Jerusalem; wall completed Nehemiah returns to Babylon  Nehemiah goes back to JerusalemMalachi begins his ministry 
 586 B.C. 538 515486  465 458 445 433 432 430 (?)

Vital statistics

 Purpose: Nehemiah is the last of the Old Testament historical book. It records the history of the third return to Jerusalem after captivity, telling how the walls were rebuilt and the people were renewed in their faith. 
 Author:  Much of the book is written in the first person, suggesting Nehemiah as the author. Nehemiah probably wrote the book with Ezra serving as editor.
 Original audience: The exiles who returned from captivity. 
 Date written:  Approximately 445-432 B.C.
 Setting:  Zerubbabel led the first return to Jerusalem in 538 B.C. In 458, Ezra led the second return. Finally, in 445, Nehemiah returned with the third group of exiles to rebuild the city walls.  
 Key verses: "So on October 2 the wall was finished-just fifty-two days after we had begun. When our enemies and the surrounding nations heard about it, they were frightened and humiliated. They realized this work had been done with the help of our God" (6:15, 16)
 Key people: Nehemiah, Ezra, Sanballat, Tobiah
 Key place: Jerusalem
 Special features: The book shows the fulfillment of the prophecies of Zechariah and Daniel concerning the rebuilding of Jerusalem's walls. 

The Time of Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther


Kings of


Cyrus     539-530

 Darius I Hystaspes    521-486

Ahasuerus (Xerxes)             486  - 464

Artaxerxes 1

464                       423

539 Darius the Mede 525   
 530 Cambyses 521  483 Vashti deposed458 Ezra returns 2  
  Smerdis  478 Esther Queen 445 Nehemiah returns to Jerusalem and rebuilds walls in 52 days 3
   539 Fall of Babylon   473 Feast of Purim

Three Returns

from Exile

536 Zerubbabel returns, begins  1    
 534 TEMPLE work stopped         
  520 TEMPLE work resumed        
  516 TEMPLE work resumed        

Book of EZRA 538 - 516


Book of NEHEMIAH        445 -  415


Book of ESTHER 483 - 473


Chapter 1 - 6

     457 Ezra Chapters 7-10  

Daniel and 70-yeras Jewish Captivity

605                       536


520      Zecharia    489


Malachi   435?- 415?


Haggai     520 505


Leadership Principles from Nehemiah

Scripture presents numerous role models for leadership. Few, however, are as fully developed as the example of Nehemiah. Under authority from King Artaxerxes I, he returned to Jerusalem to rebuild the city, beginning with its broken-down wall. Numerous principles of effective leadership stand out in the account, including the following:Leaders Have a Sense of Mission (Neh. 1:5)
     Leaders Leverage Their Power (2:5)
     Leaders Conduct Research (2:12)
     Leaders Build Community (2:17–18)
     Leaders Adapt to Adversity (4:8–9)
     Leaders Resist Underhanded Politics (6:5–9)
     Leaders Serve People (7:1)
     Leaders Celebrate Often (8:1)
For further discussion, see Neh. 1:5; 2:12; 4:8–9; 6:5–9; 8:1.
Word in life study Bible . 1997, c1996 (electronic ed.) (Neh 1.4). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

Nehemiah the Servant

A Servant...
Because God...
Prays for his people (1:4)
Preserves His covenant (1:5)
Plans for his people (2:6–8)
Places ideas in his mind (2:12)
Perseveres against enemies for his people (4:9, 23)
Perverts their plans (4:15, 20)
Pleads for unity among his people (5:10, 11)
Is pleased with unity (5:9, 13)
Perceives falsehood and remains faithful (6:2, 8, 12)
Proclaims His name among the nations (6:16)
New Geneva study Bible. 1997, c1995 (electronic ed.) (Neh 1.6). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

Persian Kings of the Restoration, 559–404 b.c.

Darius I
Xerxes I
Artaxerxes I
Xerxes II
Darius II
New Geneva study Bible. 1997, c1995 (electronic ed.) (Neh 2.4). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

How Nehemiah used prayer

 Reference Occasion Summary of His prayer  What Prayer Accomplished  Our Prayers
 1:4-11 After receiving the bad news about the state of Jerusalem's walls Recognized God's holiness. Asked for a hearing. Confessed sin. Asked for specific help in approaching the king  Included God in Nehemiah's plans. Prepared Nehemiah's heart and gave God room to work  How often do you pour out your heart to God? How often do you give him a specific request to answer?
 2:4 During his conversation with the king "Here's where you can help, God!" Put the expected results in God's hands Giving God credit for what happens before it happens keeps us from taking more credit than we should. 
 4:4, 5 After being taunted and ridiculed by Tobiah and Sanballat "They're mocking you, God. You decide what to do with them." Expressed anger to God, but Nehemiah did not take matters into his own hands  We are prone to do exactly the opposite- take matters in to our hands  and not tell God how we feel.  
 4:9 After threats of attack by enemies.  "We are in your hands, God. We'll keep our weapons handy in case you want us to used them" Showed trust in God even while taking necessary precautions  Trusting God does not mean we do nothing. Action does not mean we do not trust. 
 6:9 Responding to threats "O Lord God, please strengthen me!" Showed Nehemiah's reliance on God for emotional and mental stability How often do you ask God for help when under pressure?
 13:29 Reflecting on the actions of his enemies Asked God to deal with the enemies and their plans Took away the compulsion to get revenge, an entrusted justice to God When did you last settle a desire for revenge by turning the matter over to God?
 5:19: 13:14, 22, 31 Reflecting on his own efforts to serve God "Remember me, God." Kept clear in Nehemiah's mind his own motives for action How many of your actions today will be done with the purpose of pleasing God?

Two great journeys of Israel

 What about the Journey?The Exodus  The Return form Exile
 Where were they? Egypt (430 years) Babylon (70 years)
 How many? About 1 million  60,000
 How long did the journey take them? 40 years and 2 attempts 100 years and 3 journeys 
 Who led them?  Moses/Aaron/Joshua Zerubbabel/Ezra/Nehemiah 
 What was their purpose? To reclaim the Promised Land To rebuild the Temple and city of Jerusalem
 What obstacles did they face? Red Sea/Wilderness/Enemies Ruins/Limited/Resources/Enemies
 What failures did they experience?  Complaining/Disobedience/ Retreat-all of which turned a journey of a few weeks into a 4-years ordeal  Fear/Discouragement/Apathy-all of which turned a project of a few months into one that required a century to complete 
 What successes did they have? Eventually entered the Promised Land Eventually rebuilt Jerusalem's Temple and wall
 What lessons did they learn? God will build his nation. God is both faithful and just. God will accomplish great acts to make his promises come true.  God will preserve his nation. God will continue t have a chosen people, a home for them, and a plan to offer himself to them.   

The Blueprint

  1. Nehemiah returns to Jerusalem
  2. Nehemiah leads the people  
  Nehemiah's life is an example of leadership and organization. Giving up a comfortable and wealthy position in Persia, he returned to the fractured homeland of his ancestors and rallied the people to rebuilt Jerusalem's wall. in the face of opposition, he used wise defense measures to care for the people and to keep the project moving. To accomplish more for the sake of God's Kingdom, we must pray, persevere, and sacrifice, as did Nehemiah. 
  B. REFORMING THE PEOPLE (7:73-13:31)
  • Ezra renews the covenant
  • Nehemiah establishes policies 
  After the wall was rebuilt, Ezra read the law to the people, bringing about national repentance. Nehemiah and Ezra were very different people, yet God used them both to lead the nation. Remember, there is a place for you in God's work even if you're different from most people. God uses each person in a unique way to accomplish his purposes.  

Nehemiah Overview 

Time Line of Nehemiah

 Reference Date Event
 1:1, 4 Nov./Dec. 446 B.C. (Kislev) Nehemiah hears of problems and prays. 
 2:1-6 Mar./Apr.445 B.C. (Nisan) Nehemiah is dispatched to Jerusalem
 3:1; 6:15 July/Aug. 445 B.C. (Av) Nehemiah starts the wall
 6:15 Aug./Sept. 445 B.C. (Elul) Nehemiah completes the wall
 7:73b  Sept./Oct. 445 B.C. (Tishri) Day of Trumpets celebrated (implied)
 8:13-15 Sept./Oct. 445 B.C. (Tishri) Festival of Tabernacles, or Booth celebrated. 
 9:1 Sep./OCt. 445 B.C. (Tishri) Time of confession.
 12:27 Sep./Oct. 445 B.C. (Tishri)  Wall dedicated
 13:6 445-433 B.C. Nehemiah's first term as governor
 13:6 433-424 B.CC. (?) Nehemiah returns to Persia
 No ref 433-? B.C. Malachi prophesies in Jerusalem during Nehemiah's absence. 
 13:1, 4, 7 424-? B.C. Nehemiah returns and serves a second term as governor (He 13).  

Seven Attempts to Stop Nehemiah's Work

 1.  2:19  Sanballat, Tobiah, and geshem mocked Nehemiah.
 2.  4:1-3  Sanballat and Tobiah mocked Nehemiah.
 3.  4:7-23 The enemy threatened a military attack. 
 4.  6:1-4 Sanballat and Geshem attempted to lure Nehemiah outside of Jerusalem to Ono.
 5.  6:5-9 Nehemiah with false charges.
 6.  6:10 Shemaiah, Noadiah, and others were paid to prophesy falsely and discredit Nehemiah.
 7.  6:17-19 Tobiah had spies in Jerusalem and wrote Nehemiah letter in order to frighten him.