Date: 5th century BC
This book has many parallels to the book of Ezra. Nehemiah was a confidant in the court of the Persian king. The cause of his own people was dear to his heart. He learned of their difficulties in returning and asked permission to go to his country for help. His concern was for the city of Jerusalem, which would remain weak and vulnerable without repair of the walls. The energy and charisma of Nehemiah must have been great, because within 52 days the restoration of these walls was a fact.
Nehemiah also found broken lives among his people. Despondency reigned everywhere, the commandments of God were not kept, and religious indifference had become common among the priests. The situation was no better than before the exile. Nehemiah saw that something had to be done. His intervention led to reform, which restored the right spiritual and moral attitude to the people, the strangers in the land.
Nehemiah and Ezra, working at the same time, had different characters. Ezra was a strong, learned man who wanted to convince the people. Nehemiah was a man of action. He literally threw people on the street when necessary. They completed this job together.
This book warns against the permanent danger of religious decay. We must remain alert. If religious wear was possible for this people, then it is possible for everyone.
Nehemiah shows that God uses all kinds of different people. Nehemiah and Ezra were different personalities, yet God uses them. When we open ourselves to Him, God will use us for His plan.
1. Restoration of the walls of Jerusalem (1:1-7:53),
2. The people's repentance (8:1-10:39),
3. The reformation of the land (11:1-13:31).