Nehemiah was cupbearer to King Artaxerxes. Nehemiah’s stepmother was most probably Esther the Jewess. Nehemiah is faithful to the king but he still has a heart for his people in Jerusalem. He asks the King if he may have permission to go to Jerusalem to help rebuild the wall of the city. When Nehemiah arrived in 445 B.C., Ezra had been there thirteen years. Nehemiah was an engineer who carried civil authority from the King. By assigning each family to repair a portion of the wall they accomplished the task in fifty-two days.
The rebuilding didn’t happen without opposition. The Samaritans tried to derail the work and troubles from within also threatened to stop progress. But Nehemiah prays, stands strong, and succeeds. He gives his brother Hanani the charge of the city that consisted of 42,360 people, besides 7,337 servants and 245 singing men and women.
The exile in Babylon had worked. God’s people from then until today have never en masse worshipped foreign gods. Nehemiah works with Ezra to uphold reform of the heart and a revival comes to the people who vow to follow God. But we all know, without the Messiah who will ‘put the law into the heart’ as Ezekiel said, total reform will always allude anyone who tries to follow the God of the Bible.