Nehemiah: Rebuilding the Walls

The book of Nehemiah is designed to teach us that only with God's help can we actually change ourselves and recover from the damage and ruin of the past. In an individual's life the rebuilding of the walls is a picture of re-establishing the strength of that life.

Bible Studies in the Book of Nehemiah

Overview the Book of Nehemiah

from Adventuring Through the Bible

For a long, long time the only thing I knew about Nehemiah was that he was supposed to be the shortest man in the Bible -- through a wretched pun on his name, "knee-high-miah." I am glad to have discovered a great deal more about this man in the intervening years and I trust you have too. He is one of the great characters of the Old Testament, but perhaps not as well known as some others.

Ezra and Nehemiah are one book in the Hebrew Bible, for they are part of the same story. In fact, the books of Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther all come out of the same general period of Israel's history. They appear in our Bible in reverse order of the chronological order in which they took place. In other words, Esther actually happened when God first began to move in the midst of Israel's captivity to return this nation to the land. That was soon after the halfway mark of the seventy years that Jeremiah had predicted the captivity would last. God raised Esther, a young Jewish maiden, to the throne of Persia as queen. It was her husband, King Ahasuerus of Persia, who is the Artaxerxes of the opening chapters of Nehemiah. This heathen king gave the command for Nehemiah to return to Jerusalem to build up the walls of the city. Perhaps that accounts for a very interesting parenthesis that appears in this book in chapter 2, verse 6, when Nehemiah went to the king: "And the king said to me (the queen sitting beside him)." That queen, I believe, was Queen Esther, the Jewish maiden who had been raised to this prominent position by the grace of God.

Neither Artaxerxes nor Ahasuerus are the names of this king. That is what is so confusing. These are really titles. Artaxerxes means "the great king" and Ahasuerus means "the venerable father." These were not the king's given names. It may or may not be helpful to know that this Artaxerxes and Ahasuerus are also Darius the Mede of the book of Daniel. And then, to add to the confusion, Artaxerxes in the book of Nehemiah is not the same Artaxerxes as in the book of Ezra. Now do I have you thoroughly confused?