Reading 0,56 - 13 Chapters - 406 verses - 10,483 words
Since the third millennium B.C., the cities of the Middle East had been surrounded by walls made of stones while guarded gates acted as sentinels. From the tops of these walls, watchmen could survey the landscape for great distances, seeing everyone who approached the city as either visitors or invaders.
The city fathers would gather at the city gates to carry out their business transactions and pass their judgments on civic affairs. The condition of the walls of the city was a matter of either pride or reproach.
Jerusalem's walls had been destroyed during the Babylonian invasion. The walls and their many gates stood in ruins, a rebuke to the newly returned exiles and a cause of mourning to Nehemiah, although he was over 600 miles away serving as cupbearer to Artaxerxes. Nehemiah had not forgotten his beloved city or her people.
While Ezra gives the account of the rebuilding of the temple under Zerubbabel, Nehemiah (Ezra's contemporary) gives the account of the rebuilding of Jerusalem's walls. His account begins in 445 B.C. in Susa, the Persian capital.
Nehemiah Interpretive Challenges
First, since much of Nehemiah is explained in relationship to Jerusalem’s gates (cf. Ne 2, 3, 8, 12), one needs to see the map “Jerusalem in Nehemiah’s Day” for an orientation. Second. The reader must recognize that the timeline of chapter 1-12 encompassed about one year (445 B.C.), followed by a long gap of time (over 20 years) after Ne 12 and before Ne 13. Finally, it must be recognized that Nehemiah actually served two governorships in Jerusalem, the first from 445 to 433 B.C. (cf. Ne 5:14; 13:6) and the second beginning possibly in 424 B.C. and extending to no longer than 410 B.C.
God's character in Nehemiah
God is glorious - 9:5
God is good - 1:10; 2:8, 18; 9:35
God is kind - 9:17
God is long-suffering - 9:30
God is merciful - 9:17, 27
God is powerful - 1:10
God is provident - 9:6
God is righteous - 9:8
God is unified - 9:6
God is wise - 9:10
Christ in Nehemiah
The book of Nehemiah display the rebuilding of the city of Jerusalem and the revival of the people. However, Israel still awaited the coming of a king. Christ the Messiah completes this restoration of Israel as the long awaited King of the Jews (Matt 27:11).