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Online Text for Nehemiah

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Information on Nehemiah

Ralph W. Klein writes: "About the year 400 B.C., an editor combined the Ezra memoir with the Nehemiah memoir, thus juxtaposing the lives of the two great leaders of the restoration and bringing their careers to a joint climax in Nehemiah 8-10. He added, from the Temple archives and other sources, the prayer in Neh. 9:6-37, the pledge to keep the law in Nehemiah 10, the report of the repopulation of Jerusalem in Neh. 11:1-2 (plus vv. 3-20), and an expanded description of the dedication of the walls in Neh. 12:27-43. A later hand provided the lists in 11:21-12:26. Toward the end of the fourth century, an editor added Ezra 1-6 to the Ezra-Nehemiah narrative and produced the present books of Ezra and Nehemiah." (Harper's Bible Commentary, p. 379)

James King West writes: "Nehemiah's major achievement was the rebuilding of Jerusalem's broken walls. With such enthusiasm did he recruit the necessary workers, organize their labor, and spur their energies, that within 52 days the walls, in some form, were erect (Neh. 6:15). All the more to his credit was the effective manner in which he offset the opposition of neighboring peoples—some of them Yahweh worshippers—who attempted to prevent the completion of the work: Sanballat, governor of Samaria; Tobiah, an Ammonite; and Geshem, an Arabian (6:1f). With one hand on their weapons and half their number standing guard, the builders withstood every effort of their opponents to shatter their morale. Eventually there was held an impressive ceremony of dedication, with a procession around the new walls, a sacrifice of thank offerings, and the singing of psalms (Neh. 12:27-43)." (Introduction to the Old Testament, p. 359)

Andrew E. Hill writes: "The reordering of Hebrew society under Ezra and Nehemiah had both immediate and far-reaching implicatoins. Two primary concerns shaped the reform of the restoration community. The first was the prevention of another Hebrew exile, since the loss of the land of covenant promise was unthinkable. The second was the preservation of the ethnic identity of the Israelite people while they languished beneath the Persian yoke in a fringe province surrounded by hostile foreign nations." (A Survey of the Old Testament, p. 235)

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