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by Frederick Brotherton Meyer
Outline of Nehemiah
Reconstruction and Reform
I. The Building of the Wall, Nehemiah 1:7-73
1. The Expedition of Nehemiah to Jerusalem , Nehemiah 1:1-11 ; Nehemiah 2:1-20
2. The Assigning of the Workers and Their Tasks, Nehemiah 3:1-32
3. The Opposition of Tobiah, Sanballat, and Geshem , Nehemiah 4:1-23 ; Nehemiah 6:1-19
4. Nehemiah’s Reform of Unjust Usury among the Jews , Nehemiah 5:1-19
5. The Completion of the Wall and Census of the City , Nehemiah 7:1-73
II. Renewing the Religious Life; Reform, Nehemiah 8-13
1. The Public Reading of the Law; Feast of Tabernacles , Nehemiah 8:1-18
2. The Renewing of the Covenant , Nehemiah 9:1-38 ; Nehemiah 10:1-39
a. The National Fast , Nehemiah 9:1-3
b. The Prayer of the Levites , Nehemiah 9:4-37
c. The Sealing of the Covenant , Nehemiah 9:38 ; Nehemiah 10:1-39
3. Distribution of Population; Census of the Priests , Nehemiah 11:1-36 ; Nehemiah 12:1-26
4. The Dedication of the Wall , Nehemiah 12:27-47
5. The Cleansing of the Temple; Sabbath and Marriage Reforms , Nehemiah 13:1-31
Introduction to Nehemiah
Ezra continued his labors in Jerusalem for some twelve years after the events recorded in his narrative, and actively cooperated with Nehemiah, to whose history we now turn. Indeed, though this book was largely written by him whose name it bears, certain portions of it were probably written by the ready scribe, Ezra, who spent the closing years of his life in collecting the sacred books into one volume, and completing the canon of Scripture. Nehemiah was born in exile. In early life he was exposed to great temptation, although the appointment which he held in the Persian court was an honorable one. But he remained faithful, devout, simple-hearted, patriotic, and godly; he was evidently valued by the heathen monarch as a good and faithful servant-“an Israelite indeed, in whom was no guile.”
He arrived at Jerusalem thirteen years after Ezra, with the rank of governor of the province, and with full authority to rebuild the walls, which, notwithstanding the erection of the Temple, still lay waste. His administration lasted some thirty-six years. The secret of his efficiency lay in his constant bringing of all the problems before God, and of this habit we shall have abundant evidence as we proceed. The book abounds in expressions of his sincerity. Nehemiah was a simple-hearted man, characterized chiefly by humility and purity of motive, and revealing the mighty power that can be exerted by one who has no purpose in life and no power that is not centered in God.
e-Sword Note: The following material was presented at the end of Nehemiah in the printed edition
Review Questions on Nehemiah
( a ) What were the two great undertakings which Nehemiah accomplished?
( b ) What were some of the means by which the religious life of the Jews was renewed?
( c ) What other writer probably wrote part of the book of Nehemiah?
( d ) What does the book show concerning Nehemiah’s life and character?
( e ) How long did the administration of Nehemiah last?
( f ) What was the secret of Nehemiah’s efficiency?
Each question applies to the paragraph of corresponding number in the Comments.
1. What was the cause of Nehemiah’s grief?
2. What request did Nehemiah make of the king?
3. Which verse in Nehemiah 4:1-23 shows the proper relation between faith and works?
4. Under what peculiar conditions did the building of the wall proceed?
5. How did Nehemiah procure justice for the poorer Jews?
6. How long did it take to build the wall? What did its completion prove to those who had tried to hinder the work?
7. Why was the registration of the returned Jewish exiles necessary?
8. For what purpose did Ezra assemble the people? What feast did they celebrate? When had it been instituted?
9. How does the history of Israel reveal the forbearance of God?
10. To what national sins did the people plead guilty?
11. What covenant was made and upon what four duties was especial emphasis placed?
12. What desecration of God’s House was forbidden by Nehemiah?
13. How did Nehemiah enforce the keeping of the Sabbath?
the Third Week after Epiphany