Because of the faith and perspective of Nehemiah himself, the book of Nehemiah might well furnish sermon, reference, and planning material for a modern building program. Nehemiah furnished leadership which demonstrated the deep religious nature of his building task and that it was not just a “superficial and external” challenge “to get a job done.” Along with the fine religious stimulus, the book also supplies valuable historical information on the period after the return from the Exile. Information contained herein is not to be found elsewhere.

It has been customary to emphasize the differences in the perspectives of Ezra and Nehemiah, and to stress a large variation in purpose. Their personalities were different. Ezra was stern and somewhat harsh, while Nehemiah was more loving and understanding. Nevertheless it is wrong to classify Ezra as the “religious” reformer and Nehemiah as the “political” reformer. Nehemiah was interested in political reform but only as a means of making possible a covenant commitment of a religious nature. If the terms must be used, then Nehemiah was both a religious and a political reformer.

Title And Date

Lack of Massoretic notation after Ezra 10:44 and the use of the title “Second Esdras” in the Septuagint for Ezra-Nehemiah combined would suggest that the two were originally one work. Because of the striking similarity of 2 Chronicles 36:22 and Ezra 1:1–4, Chronicles too may have been part of the larger volume. However, a fifteenth century division definitely established “Nehemiah” as a book in its own right. If once it was part of the trilogy of Ezra, Nehemiah, Chronicles, then the date can be easily ascertained. The genealogy of David extended six generations beyond Zerubbabel (1 Chron. 3:15–24). ...

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