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Bible Commentaries

Charles Box's Commentaries on Selected Books of the Bible


- Nehemiah

by Charles Box

Weeping Over Jerusalem


Nehemiah felt despair over the condition of Jerusalem. The book of Nehemiah is a part of the story of the Jews return to Jerusalem after captivity in Babylon. This return involved rebuilding the city of Jerusalem, rebuilding the Temple and restoring the true worship of the Almighty God. Ezra, the priest, led a return to Israel to restored worship in the rebuilt temple in Jerusalem. Nehemiah, who was a contemporary of Ezra, led another return. He was a cupbearer to king Artaxerxes. He returned to rebuild the walls around Jerusalem. Nehemiah did more than just rebuild the wall he helped restore the people from despair to a new walk with God. The rebuilding of the city and the Temple was very important because it was in Jerusalem and at the Temple that God promised to meet with the people of Israel.

Jerusalem was in ruin but with the help of God, good leadership and a willingness to work the wall, the city and the Temple were rebuilt. The book of Nehemiah is the story of a new beginning. It helps us see that lives can be rescued from ruin. In the book of Nehemiah we see the value to depending upon the power and blessing of God instead of human wisdom. Without God’s part this process of rebuilding could never have taken place. The book of Nehemiah teaches us that with God's help we can change ourselves and the world around us. At this time the walls of Jerusalem were broken down and the gates had been burned with fire. It was time to rebuild. In order to accomplish this great task of rebuilding Nehemiah prayed. As he prayed (1) He focused on the character of God, (2) He repented of personal sins, (3) He remembered God's precious promises, and (4) He asked for help to begin this great work.