The books of Ezra and Nehemiah are closely linked and connected with each other. Both books have genealogies of people who returned from the captivity of Babylon to Jerusalem and rebuild the city that was destroyed. Both Ezra and Nehemiah are post-captivity books with the focus of Jews who returned back to Jerusalem at the decree of Cyrus, the king of Persia.
However, Ezra deals with the rebuilding of the temple, the place where the Jews were supposed to worship God. This speaks of the religious aspect of the Jews who returned back to Jerusalem. The book of Nehemiah deals with the rebuilding of the city walls, speaking of protection.
The focus here is in the book of Nehemiah. There are some interesting peculiarities in this book. Nehemiah was a man of prayer, and prayed at least 10 to 12 times in the book. There are also 10 gates mentioned in chapter 3 with a further 2 mentioned elsewhere in the book, and these gates all speak of some wonderful, interesting truths and can be applied to us today. Some of the gates are even mentioned in the New Testament in the days when the Lord Jesus was here on earth, e.g. the Sheep Gate (Neh 3:1 and John 5:2 JND Translation). Also, there are at least 10-12 separate attacks against Nehemiah both from within the people, and from the enemies.
The book of Nehemiah can be divided into three sections, which is worthwhile for personal study and benefit.
- Chapters 1-7 the return to Jerusalem and rebuilding of the wall. The gates are mentioned and also opposition is described and dealt with.
- Chapters 8-10 the spiritual revival of the people. Ezra reads the words of the law and the people repent.
- Chapters 11-13 the people are established and the reforming of life in the city is seen in this section. Nehemiah still dealt with problems/issues from among the returned people.
As stated, this is only an attempted outline and I am not writing detailed comments on the book of Nehemiah. I have used the aid of the notes from Arend Remmers and Arno Gaebelein from a website www.biblecentre.org which is full of rich resources for uplifting and encouraging each soul.