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And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. John 8:32

A Summary of the Book of Nehemiah

By H. A. (Buster) Dobbs
  1. Introduction
    1. A personal account written and compiled by Nehemiah
      1. It a continuation of the book of Ezra
      2. It describes the rebuilding of the wall of Jerusalem
    2. A simple account of a brief period of Jewish history
      1. Nehemiah came to Jerusalem in the thirteenth year of Ezra
      2. Artaxerxes Longimanus was ruler of the Persian empire
      3. The Jews were in a depressed condition
      4. Nehemiah was of the tribe of Judah
      5. He was the royal cup-bearer in the Persian court
      6. He served as governor of Jerusalem for about fourteen years
  2. Restoration of the wall (1:1 to 12:47)
    1. Nehemiah learned of the misery of Jerusalem (1:1-11)
      1. Sad plight of Jerusalem described by Hanani (1:1-4)
      2. Tears of Nehemiah (1:5)
      3. Fasting and prayer of confession (1:6-11)
      4. Ask for favor with Artaxerxes, for Nehemiah was his cupbearer (1:11)
    2. Nehemiah allowed to go to Jerusalem (2:1-20)
      1. Artaxerexes inquires the reason for Nehemiah’s sorrow (2:1-2)
      2. Nehemiah explains conditions in Jerusalem (2:3)
      3. Artaxerexes permits Nehemiah to go to Jerusalem (2:4-6)
      4. Artaxerexes supplies letters of authority to Nehemiah (2:7-8)
      5. Governor of Samaria unhappy with Nehemiah’s arrival (2:9-10)
      6. Nehemiah arrived at Jerusalem and was there three days (2:11)
      7. Arose in the night and secretly surveyed the wall of Jerusalem (2:12-16)
      8. Exhorted the Jews to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem (2:17-20)
        1. Samaritans laughed them to scorn (2:19)
        2. With a dependence on God, Nehemiah perseveres (2:20)
    3. The rebuilding of the wall (3:1-32)
      1. Each man built over against his own house
      2. The great families participated in the work
      3. Each family had a portion of the wall assigned to it and they built without regard to the work of the other families
    4. Opposition to the work and defense of the Jews (4:1-23)
      1. Sanballat mocked the Jews but they were undeterred and had a mind to work (4:1-6)
      2. Sanballat declared war on the Jews to stop the building (4:7-12)
      3. The Jews arm themselves and continue the work (4:13-18)
      4. The Jews rallied to each other’s support and defense (4:19-23)
    5. The people grow weary and complain (5:1-19)
      1. They had mortgaged their homes and sold their children into slavery to pay tribute to the Persian king (5:1-5)
      2. Nehemiah rebuked the elders for exacting usury and demanded a kinder and gentler treatment of their fellow Jews (5:6-13)
      3. Nehemiah’s gracious government (5:14-19)
    6. Sanballat’s last desperate attempt to stop the work (6:1
      1. Craft and rumor (6:1)
      2. Attempt at compromise (6:2-4
      3. Attempt to terrify Nehemiah and the Jews (6:5-9)
      4. Collusion with the enemy (5:10-14)
      5. The wall was finished in 52 days (6:15-16)
      6. Enemies without and false friends within (6:17-19)
      7. Rulers appointed and conditions given (7:1-4)
    7. List of those who returned (7:5-73)
  3. Restoration of the people (8:1 to 13:31)
    1. Renewal of the covenant (8:1 to 10:39)
      1. Reading, hearing, and understanding the law (8:1-8)
        1. Read from morning to midday (v. 8:3)
        2. The people were attentive (v. 8:3)
        3. The people stood when the book was opened (v.8:5)
        4. Read distinctly and gave the sense (v. 8)
      2. Reaction of the people to hearing the law (vv. 8:9-12)
      3. The feast of tabernacles observed with joy (8:13-17)
      4. The book of the law continuously read (8:18)
    2. Affirming the covenant (9:1 to 10:39)
      1. Fasting, confessing, repenting, and worshipping (9:1-3)
      2. History recounted (9:4-37)
      3. Written agreement to keep the law of God (9:38)
    3. Obedience to the covenant (11:1 to 13:31)
      1. Signers of the written covenant (10:1-27)
      2. A solemn pledge of allegiance to the law (10:28-39)
        1. Would not intermarry with heathen (10:30)
        2. Would keep the sabbath and all holy days (10:31)
        3. Would pay temple tax (10:32-33)
        4. Would supply the temple with its needs (10:34-35)
        5. Would bring first-fruits to Jehovah (10:36-39)
      3. Resettlement of the people (11:1-36)
        1. Dwellers at Jerusalem (11:1-29)
        2. Dwellers in other locations (11:30-36)
      4. List of priests and Levites (12:1-26)
    4. Dedication of the wall (12:27-47)
      1. Two great companies ascend the walls (12:27-42)
      2. Offered sacrifices and rejoiced (12:43)
      3. Keepers of the treasury and singers appointed (12:44-47)
    5. Restoration of the people (13:1-31)
      1. Nehemiah went to Persian court and returned to Jerusalem (13:1-6)
        1. Law of read again to the people (13:1-3)
        2. Eliashib made concession to Tobiah (13:4-5)
      2. Nehemiah expels Tobiah from the temple (13:6-9)
      3. Priests and Levites restored to Jerusalem and the temple (13:10-14)
      4. Weekly sabbath reestablished (13:15-22)
      5. Marriage violations corrected (13:23-31)

H. A. "Buster" Dobbs, email:
P. O. Box 690192
Houston, Texas 77269-0192
(281) 469-3540

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