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Bible Encyclopedias

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature

Nehemiah Book of

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The Book of Nehemiah, which bears the title Nehemiah's Words, was anciently connected with Ezra, as if it formed part of the same work. It arose, doubtless, from the fact that Nehemiah is a sort of continuation of Ezra [EZRA].

The canonical character of Nehemiah's work is established by very ancient testimony.

The contents of the book have been specified above in the biography of the author. The work can scarcely be called a history of Nehemiah and his times. It is rather a collection of notices of some important transactions that happened during the first year of his government, with a few scraps from his later history. The contents appear to be arranged in chronological order, with the exception perhaps of , where the account of the dedication of the wall seems out of its proper place: we might expect it rather after , where the completion of the wall is mentioned.

As to the date of the book, it is not likely that it came from Nehemiah's hand till near the close of his life. Certainly it could not have been all written before the expulsion of the priest, recorded in , which took place about the year B.C. 413.

While the book as a whole is considered to have come from Nehemiah, it consists in part of compilation. He doubtless wrote the greater part himself, but some portions he evidently took from other works. It is allowed by all that he is, in the strictest sense, the author of the narrative from Nehemiah 1 to . The account in is avowedly compiled, for he says in , 'I found a register,' etc. This register we actually find also in hence it might be thought that our author borrowed this part from Ezra; but it is more likely that they both copied from public documents, such as 'the book of the chronicles,' mentioned in .

Nehemiah 8-10 were probably not written by Nehemiah, since the narrative respecting him is in the third person (; ), and not in the first, as usual (). Havernick, indeed, makes it appear, from the contents and style, that Ezra was the writer of this portion. The remaining chapters (Nehemiah 11-13) also exhibit some marks of compilation (; ); but there are, on the contrary, clear proofs of Nehemiah's own authorship in , and in ; and hence Havernick thinks he wrote the whole except , which he took from 'the book of the chronicles,' mentioned m .





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Kitto, John, ed. Entry for 'Nehemiah Book of'. "Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature".

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