Search the Site


Nehemiah, The Book of

A book in the OT that relates how Nehemiah, cupbearer to the Persian king, overcomes opposition to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem after the Babylonian exile. The book presents a culmination of the story of Israel’s history told in 1 and 2 Chronicles and Ezra.

Outline of Contents


I. Nehemiah’s commission and first governorship (Neh 1:1-7:73)

A. Nehemiah receives commission from Persian king to rebuild walls of Jerusalem (Neh 1:1-2:8)

B. Initial steps: opposition from non-Jews, secret survey of walls, organization of Jews for rebuilding (Neh 2:9-3:32)

C. Opposition from non-Jews and defensive tactics of Nehemiah (Neh 4:1-23)

D. Nehemiah’s economic reforms among Jews (Neh 5:1-19)

E. Walls completed despite plots against Nehemiah by non-Jews (Neh 6:1-7:3)

F. Concern for repopulating Jerusalem: census of returned exiles (Neh 7:4-73)

II. Religious observances in response to the law (Neh 8:1-10:39)

A. Ezra reads the book of the law to the people (Neh 8:1-12)

B. Resulting celebration of Festival of Tabernacles (Booths)

C. A psalm of distress: public confession of sin (Neh 9:1-37)

D. A new covenant to keep the law and support the Temple (Neh 9:38-10:39)

III. Further organization of the Jewish community (Neh 11:1-13:31)

A. Repopulation: lists of people and officials living in Jerusalem (Neh 11:1-12:26)

B. Dedication of city walls and arrangements for Temple revenues (Neh 2:27-13:31)

C. Nehemiah’s second governorship: reforms in keeping with the law (Neh 13:4-31)

  • Powell, Mark Allan, ed. HarperCollins Bible Dictionary. Abridged Edition. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2009.