Nehemiah, contemporary of Ezra and cupbearer to the king in the Persian palace, leads the third and last return to Jerusalem after the Babylonian exile. His concern for the welfare of Jerusalem and its inhabitants prompts him to take bold action. Granted permission to return to his home land, Nehemiah challenges his countrymen to arise and rebuild the shattered wall of Jerusalem. In spite of opposition from without and abuse from within , the task is completed in only fifty-two days, a feat even the enemies of Isreal must attribute to God's enabling. By Contrast, the task of reviving and reforming the people of God within the rebuilt wall demands years of Nehemiah's godly life and leadership.
The Hebrew for Nehemiah is Nehemyah, "Comfort of Yahweh". The book is named after its cheif character whose name appears in the opening verse. The combined book of Ezra-Nehemiah is given the Greek title Esdras Deuteron, "Second Esdras" in the Septuagint, a third-century B.C. Greek language translation of the Hebrew Old Testament. The Latin title of Nehemiah is Liber Secundus Esdra," Seond Book of Ezra"(Ezra was the first). At this point, it is considered a separate book from Ezra, and is later called Liber Nehemiae, "Book of Nehemiah".
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