1 - But when Sanballat heard that we were building the wall, he was angry, and was very indignant, and mocked the Jews.
2 - He spoke before his brothers and the army of Samaria, and said, "What are these feeble Jews doing? Will they fortify themselves? Will they sacrifice? Will they finish in a day? Will they revive the stones out of the heaps of rubbish, since they are burned?"
3 - Now Tobiah the Ammonite was by him, and he said, "What they are building, if a fox climbed up it, he would break down their stone wall."
4 - "Hear, our God; for we are despised; and turn back their reproach on their own head, give them up for a plunder in a land of captivity;
5 - don't cover their iniquity, and don't let their sin be blotted out from before you; for they have insulted the builders."
6 - So we built the wall; and all the wall was joined together to half its height: for the people had a mind to work.
7 - But when Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabians, the Ammonites, and the Ashdodites heard that the repairing of the walls of Jerusalem went forward, and that the breaches began to be filled, they were very angry;
8 - and they all conspired together to come and fight against Jerusalem, and to cause confusion among us.
9 - But we made our prayer to our God, and set a watch against them day and night, because of them.
10 - Judah said, "The strength of the bearers of burdens is fading, and there is much rubble; so that we are not able to build the wall."
11 - Our adversaries said, "They will not know or see, until we come in among them and kill them, and cause the work to cease."
12 - When the Jews who lived by them came, they said to us ten times from all places, "Wherever you turn, they will attack us."
13 - Therefore I set guards in the lowest parts of the space behind the wall, in the open places. I set the people by family groups with their swords, their spears, and their bows.
14 - I looked, and rose up, and said to the nobles, to the rulers, and to the rest of the people, "Don't be afraid of them! Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your houses."
15 - When our enemies heard that it was known to us, and God had brought their counsel to nothing, all of us returned to the wall, everyone to his work.
16 - From that time forth, half of my servants did the work, and half of them held the spears, the shields, the bows, and the coats of mail; and the rulers were behind all the house of Judah.
17 - Those who built the wall, and those who bore burdens loaded themselves; everyone with one of his hands did the work, and with the other held his weapon.
18 - Among the builders, everyone wore his sword at his side, and so built. He who sounded the trumpet was by me.
19 - I said to the nobles, and to the rulers and to the rest of the people, "The work is great and large, and we are separated on the wall, one far from one another.
20 - Wherever you hear the sound of the trumpet, rally there to us. Our God will fight for us."
21 - So we did the work. Half of the people held the spears from the rising of the morning until the stars appeared.
22 - Likewise at the same time said I to the people, "Let everyone with his servant lodge within Jerusalem, that in the night they may be a guard to us, and may labor in the day."
23 - So neither I, nor my brothers, nor my servants, nor the men of the guard who followed me, none of us took off our clothes. Everyone took his weapon to the water.
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The Book of Nehemiah
Nehemiah 1:7-9 - The words of Nehemiah the son of Hachaliah.
And it came to pass in the month Chisleu, in the twentieth year,
as I was in Shushan the palace, That Hanani, one of my brethren,
came, he and [certain] men of Judah; and I asked them concerning
the Jews that had escaped, which were left of the captivity, and
concerning Jerusalem. And they said unto me, The remnant that
are left of the captivity there in the province [are] in great
affliction and reproach: the wall of Jerusalem also [is] broken
down, and the gates thereof are burned with fire.
Nehemiah 13:1-3 - On that day they read in the book of Moses
in the audience of the people; and therein was found written,
that the Ammonite and the Moabite should not come into the
congregation of God for ever; Because they met not the children
of Israel with bread and with water, but hired Balaam against
them, that he should curse them: howbeit our God turned the
curse into a blessing. Now it came to pass, when they had heard
the law, that they separated from Israel all the mixed
The Old Testament - A Brief Overview
Bible Survey - Nehemiah
Hebrew Name -
Greek Name -
(Greek form of the Hebrew)
Author - Nehemiah (Ezra and Nehemiah were treated as one book in Jewish Tradition)
Date - From 455-420 BC Approximately
Theme of Nehemiah - The rebuilding of Jerusalem
Types and Shadows - In Nehemiah Jesus is the one who led the captives out
Tomb of Cyrus the
Great at Pasargadae
"O man, whoever you are and
wherever you come from, for I know that you will come--I
am Cyrus, son of Cambyses, who founded the Empire of the
Persians and was king of the East. Do not grudge me this
spot of earth which covers my body." - Cyrus
This tomb of the great
Persian ruler, Cyrus, was discovered in 1951 at the
ruins of Pasargadae (south-central Iran). Over 2500
years old, the tomb is in decent condition, made of
white limestone and stands a total of 36 feet high. The
tomb itself is 18 feet high resting on a 6 level base,
also 18 feet high. It was built like a Ziggurat with
Ionian and Lydian features. There is a small entrance
and double doors leading to a room with no windows which
once contained the "golden sarcophagus" of Cyrus, it is
now an empty shell. Five huge stones make up its roof,
which was slanted (gabled) to shed heavy rains. These
Nordic gables were the architectural style of lands far
to the north. The inscription was seen and recorded by
Plutarch in AD 90.
Summary of The Book of Nehemiah
In Jewish tradition the books of Ezra and Nehemiah are
regarded as one book, and it appears that they were originally
two books because of the identical material in Ezra 2 and
Nehemiah 7. Nehemiah made his journey to Jerusalem in about 445
BC, and he was not a priest or a scribe like Ezra was but he was
a governor with authority given to him by the Persian king
Artaxerxes to rebuild the walls and the city of Jerusalem for
the Jewish people. He was originally cupbearer for the king of
Persia (Nehemiah 2:1). Nehemiah completed the task in 52 days
despite all the opposition from the foreigners who it settled in
the land of Judah during the captivity.
The book of Nehemiah shows how God fulfilled his words written by the
prophets concerning the return of the people of Israel from 70 years of
captivity, and returned again to the land of their inheritance. In order to
accomplish his divine will he change the hearts of the great kings of the
ancient world, Cyrus Darius and Artaxerxes of Persia. He also worked through
leaders like Joshua Zerubbabel Haggai Zechariah Ezra and Nehemiah in order to
rebuild the wall of the city of Jerusalem and reestablish the law of Moses. The
books of Ezra and Nehemiah reveal to us the history of the Jews between 536 BC
and 430 BC. The book of Nehemiah covers the period from 445 BC for the next 12
Quick Reference Map
Map of Jerusalem Restored by
Nehemiah (Click to Enlarge)
The contents of the two books may be analyzed as follows :
Outline of the Book of Nehemiah
1 ) Nehemiah's journey to Jerusalem, made possible by Artaxerxes, for the
purpose of re-building the wall (Nehemiah 1-2).
2 ) A list of the builders and the repairing of the gate (Nehemiah 3).
3 ) The rebuilding of the wall in spite of op-position led by Sanballat, Tobiah
and Geshem (Nehemiah 4:1-7:4).
4 ) The register of those who returned with Zerubbabel (Nehemiah 7).
5 ) The public reading and exposition of the book of the Law (Nehemiah 8).
6 ) The national repentance and the covenant of obedience (Nehemiah 9:1-10 :39).
7 ) Lists of inhabitants (Nehemiah 11:1-12:26).
8 ) Dedication of the wall and organization of the temple services (Nehemiah 12:27-47).
9 ) Nehemiah's reforms of abuses connected with tithes, the sabbath and mixed
marriages (Nehemiah 13).
In order to gain a complete picture of the history of this period, these two
books should be examined also with the writings of the prophets Haggai, Zechariah
Quick Reference Maps -
Jerusalem Rebuilt by Nehemiah - The book of Nehemiah records
in the third chapter a description of the course of the walls,
beginning on the northeast side of Jerusalem and moving
counterclockwise. His intention was not to be too exhaustive in
Zerubbabel and Ezra's Journey to Restore Jerusalem -
Zerubbabel, of the house of David heeded the decree of Cyrus to
allow the Jews to return and restore Jerusalem and later more
Jews including Ezra and Nehemiah returned to Jerusalem.
The Persian Empire in the 6th Century BC - The great rulers
of the Persian Empire during the 6th century BC were Cyrus the
Great, Cambyses, and Darius I the Great.
The Persian Empire in the 5th Century BC - During the 5th
centuries BC the Persian Empire expanded under various rulers:
Darius I, Xerxes I (Ahasuerus), and Artaxerxes I.
The Return From Babylon
More About the Book of
Nehemiah in the Picture
Timeline of the Ancient
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