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Old Testament Survey

Nehemiah




Key Verses

4:6
6:15, 16
8:8


Key Chapters

Chapters 1, 2
Chapters 3-7
Chapter 9


Key Concepts

Wall(s)
Build, Building, Rebuilding


Thoughts for Reading

How important is prayer?
What should we learn from the past?


Neh. 4:6
So built we the wall; and all the wall was joined together unto the half thereof: for the people had a mind to work.

As we saw in the last chapter on Ezra, the unit of Ezra-Nehemiah was originally a single book. It continues the history of the Jewish nation after the exile. The people had returned home and after many years of neglect, the Temple was built under Ezra the priest.

Nehemiah holds a high position under Artazerxes the Persian king. He gives up this position of authority to go to Jerusalem and rebuild the city walls. Where Ezra was concerned with the spiritual restoration of the people, Nehemiah is concerned with the physical restoration of the city. Nehemiah is the layman serving in a political capacity as governor to repair the city walls. He is able to accomplish his task in fifty-two days (6:15), once construction actually is able to begin.

Nehemiah’s name means “God consoles or comforts.”

An interesting bit of Bible trivia is that some of the great prayers of Scripture all fall in chapter 9 – look at Ezra, Nehemiah, and Daniel.

The book of Nehemiah is not just about physical restoration, however. In 1:5 we find that Nehemiah’s response to the condition of Jerusalem is prayer and fasting. In fact, prayer is a key element of this entire book. Nehemiah was one with a lot of “quick” prayers every time he faces a decision.

Nehemiah identifies with the people. He is not separate and apart from them.

Neh. 2:17
Then said I unto them, Ye see the distress that we are in, how Jerusalem liveth waste, and the gates thereof are burned with fire: come, and let us build up the wall of Jerusalem, that we be no more a reproach.

The story shows that he is also a superb administrator, analyzing, investigating, and planning before advising and executing. He was one who was slow to speak and fast to listen (James 1:19). And, he faced much opposition, not only from without, but from within. Just review chapters 4 - 6. No one wanted the walls rebuilt!

A Simple Outline

It should be noted that the difficulties of the nation, their failure to endure and keep God’s commandments, still plagues the people. It has been but a short time since Ezra chastised the people for intermarriage. Nehemiah finds the same problem (Chp 13). He, once again, takes steps to correct the issue of maintaining a separation between the people of God and the people of the world. Fifty-to- a- hundred years later, the prophet Malachi will face similar issues. Each new generation must learn for themselves the lessons of God afresh. No one wants to learn from the past, yet, this is the restoration message of Ezra and Nehemiah.

Jesus in Nehemiah

Nehemiah is a picture of Christ in the governor’s willingness to step from his high position to act as a servant of the people to bring them restoration. The decree of Artazerxes marks the beginning point of Daniel’s seventy weeks (Dan 9:25-27). This is the countdown to Messiah’s triumphant return.

How often do you pray?

 

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December 15, 2019

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