Book of Nehemiah Overview with Life Applications

Updated on February 16, 2020
revmjm profile image

Rev. Margaret Minnicks is an ordained Bible teacher. She writes many articles that are Bible lessons.

At one time the book of Nehemiah and Ezra were combined. Now that they are separated, some people read Nehemiah without reading Ezra. Even though they are individual books of the Bible, they still should be read and taught together. Those who read one book without reading the other miss some important information. Both short books contain valuable information. Reading one helps the reader to understand the other.

Ezra comes before Nehemiah in the Bible. That book tells about how the exiles were allowed to return home from captivity in Persia. Ezra's book focuses on the rebuilding of the Temple. Nehemiah focuses on rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem.

Most people are familiar with Nehemiah being in charge of rebuilding the ruined walls of Jerusalem, and some churches use Nehemiah as a theme for their building fund. The main focus of the book of Nehemiah is the project of rebuilding the walls. However, there is so much more in the book than that.

Who Was Nehemiah?

In order to understand the book, one should know something about its author and the main character. So, who was Nehemiah?

Not much is known about Nehemiah's background except that he had never been to Jerusalem. When the exiles were allowed to leave Persia and go home, Nehemiah decided to stay, but he was curious about what was happening where his relatives were. His brother Hanani had returned to Judah and kept Nehemiah up to date about what was going on there. Nehemiah was so bothered by what he heard about the walls been in ruins that he decided to do something about it.

When readers first meet Nehemiah, he is an adult working as a personal cupbearer for King Artaxerxes in Persia. That prestigious position meant that Nehemiah could be trusted to taste the wine before giving it to the king to drink. If the wine was poisoned, Nehemiah would die and the king would be spared,

The Book of Nehemiah

After that brief introduction about Nehemiah working as a cupbearer, most of the rest of the book centers on events in Jerusalem. Readers get to know what happened there from Nehemiah's perspective because most of the book is written in the first person (Nehemiah 1:11–2:1).

Walls of Jerusalem
Walls of Jerusalem | Source

The walls had been in ruins for four years. Even though Nehemiah faced internal and external oppositions, the walls were rebuilt in 52 days. Israel's enemies tried to stop the project five times. Nehemiah sent word to Sanballat, Tobiah, and Geshem saying, "I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down: why should the work cease, while I leave it, and come down to you? (Nehemiah 6:1-5)

After the walls were rebuilt, Nehemiah stayed in Jerusalem 12 years to make sure the community was following the laws of Moses and was no longer upset about Persian taxes. Nehemiah negotiated peace among the people.

When he was satisfied that the people were encouraged, renewed and excited about their future, he returned to his old job in Susa. He visited Jerusalem from time to time after then, but he never became a permanent resident.

Nehemiah is an excellent example of being a leader. He used his administrative skills to get the job done by giving workers different jobs to do. He used half of the worker to build while the other half were designated to watch for outside opposition who threatened to attack (Nehemiah 4–7).

Nehemiah showed how one person can make a significant difference in a nation or even on a smaller scale. You can make a difference if God instructs you to take on a project in your community, church or workplace especially when no one else is doing anything about something that needs to be done.

Nehemiah had no idea how he was going to get the project done, but he prayed, he planned, and then he built. Once Nehemiah decided to go to Jerusalem where he had never been before, he received resources to help him along the way. The king allowed him to take leave to go and he funded his trip as well.

Nehemiah’s leadership is one of the best examples in the entire Bible. Most people would not have been interested in rebuilding walls where they had never been. Nehemiah led by example by taking time off from his respected position in a palace to do hard labor.

God uses all types of people to get His work done. Ministry is more than standing behind a pulpit telling people what to do and what not to do. Ministry is doing what God has called you to do whether it is rebuilding walls or tearing them down.

Nehemiah prayed fervent prayers to God in chapters 1 and 9. We should do the same. He didn't claim glory for himself. Instead, he was humble and always gave God the glory for the success of the walls being rebuilt.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Cheryl E Preston profile image

      Cheryl E Preston 

      4 months ago from Roanoke

      Excellent teaching. I did not know Nehemiah and Ezra had been combined. I will read again keeping this in mind.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)