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OUTLINE OF THE BOOK OF NEHEMIAH

By Gene McCarty

   The book of Nehemiah is part of the book of Ezra in the Jewish Canon. Most of the book is thought to be written by Nehemiah. Nehemiah came to Jerusalem in 445 B.C. as the new governor for the land of Judah. He is the last of the great leaders of the 0ld Testament, and thus becomes very significant in Jewish history. 
   This book does not give complete information of the history of the time, but rather gives detailed accounts of some of the important events of the time. 

  1. In chapter 1 we are introduced to Nehemiah, the cupbearer to the king. The heart of this chapter is the substance of the prayer that Nehemiah offered to God when he heard that those who had returned to Judah were in trouble. His prayer is one of strength and insight, and is a proper introduction to this great leader of Judah. In the early part of chapter 2 we find his presentation to King Artaxerxes, and the arrangements that were made for him to go rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.
     

  2. The latter half of chapter 2 gives the account of the survey of the walls of the city, and the decision to begin the rebuilding process. Chapter 3 gives the division of the work among the families and shows a plan that is working so well that the enemies of Judah are upset at the progress.
     

  3. In chapter 4 the opposition to the building of the wall has become so great that the enemies have committed themselves to a plan to attack the men of Judah and kill them so that the walls will not be constructed. The men of Judah become aware of this plan and from this point on carry their weapons while they work. Part of the force stands guard while the others work.
     

  4. The people have not been in the land very long until they begin to exact usury from their countrymen and soon get into financial trouble, as recorded in chapter 5. Nehemiah solves this problem and uses the rest of the chapter to explain the way that he was provided for as the governor of the land of Judah. He was well provided for, but he had never exacted the governors tax.
     

  5. In the 6 chapter the walls are completed and the gates are manned as a major step is completed in the rebuilding of the city of Jerusalem. The city is now large and spacious, but there are few people, and the list of families are listed in chapter 7.
     

  6. From this point on we read of the covenant that the people of Judah make with God. In chapter 8 Ezra begins the reading of the law. Following the reading the people confess their sins and the sins of their fathers. The book of Ezra, speaking about this time, speaks at length about the unlawful marriages that the people of Judah had made with the foreign women of the land. Nehemiah does not mention much of this problem, yet he speaks of many sins and much confessing that is involved in this time of renewing the covenant. The statement of this covenant is recorded and the leaders of the people place their seals on the document as recorded in chapter 10.
     

  7. Chapter 11 and part of chapter 12 give additional listings of those living in Judah.
     

  8. In the latter part of chapter 12 a special dedication service is arranged for the wall that was now complete, and the people of Judah had a great celebration. In the last chapter of the book (13) we find that the people have already forgotten parts of the covenant that they had made with God. Nehemiah finds himself having to correct many problems in their daily life, from their desecrating the Sabbath, to the way they were not bringing their tithes to the temple. The last problem that is addressed in the book is that they had been marrying with foreigners to the point that half of the children could not speak the language of Judah. Nehemiah is remembered as the last of the great leaders of Judah.


   Copyright 2000, Charles Valentine