Summary: In the pages of the OT is the journal of a man who stands as person with vision who rebuilt what was broken. His name is Nehemiah. The name means “the Lord’s comfort.” Vision gives significance to the otherwise meaningless details of our lives. It’s not a
THIS AM WE BEGIN OUR STUDY OF THE BOOK OF NEHEMIAH.EZRA & NEHEMIAH ARE 1 BOOK IN THE HEBREW BIBLE.THERE ARE 3 OT BOOKS- EZRA, NEHEMIAH, ESTHER- WHICH BELONG TOGETHER.
THE BACKGROUND OF THE ISRAELITES IN BABYLON- HOW/WHY THEY WERE SENT THERE-GOD SPOKE THRU THE PROPHET JEREMIAH- AND MANY OTHERS- BUT THE PEOPLE DID NOT LISTEN.
Jeremiah 25: 8Therefore the LORD Almighty says this: “Because you have not listened to my words, 9 I will summon all the peoples of the north and my servant Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon ...
NOTICE GOD CALLS HIM A SERVANT - EVEN THO' HE WAS A RUTHLESS KING- GOD WAS THE ONE WHO RAISED HIM UP TO DO THIS TO THE ISRAELITES...
,” declares the LORD, “and I will bring them against this land and its inhabitants and against all the surrounding nations. I will completely destroy them and make them an object of horror and scorn, and an everlasting ruin. 10 I will banish from them the sounds of joy and gladness, the voices of bride and bridegroom, the sound of millstones and the light of the lamp. 11 This whole country will become a desolate wasteland, and these nations will serve the king of Babylon seventy years.[NIV]
BUT GOD DID NOT LEAVE THEM WITHOUT HOPE-
Jeremiah 24: 4 Then the word of the LORD came to me: 5 “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: ‘Like these good figs, I regard as good the exiles from Judah, whom I sent away from this place to the land of the Babylonians. 6 My eyes will watch over them for their good, and I will bring them back to this land. I will build them up and not tear them down; I will plant them and not uproot them. 7 I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the LORD. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart.[NIV]
Around 587 BC the Babylonians invaded Judah and destroyed the city of Jerusalem, along with Solomon’s temple. WHEN THE BABYLONIANS PLUNDERED THE CITY,THEY PILLAGED THE TEMPLE, CARRIED OUT THE VESSELS OF GOD, THEY TOOK BOTH GOLD AND SILVER, THEY TOOK THE GOLDEN LAVER THAT SOLOMON HAD DEDICATED.THEY TOOK PILLARS OF BRASS, GOLDEN TABLES, AND CANDLE STICKS ( IF YOU REMEMBER DANIEL CH 5 WHERE BELSHAZZAR HAS A PARTY AND USES ITEMS FROM THE TEMPLE- THIS ARE THE ITEMS).
AFTER ALL THESE WERE CARRIED AWAY THE GENERAL OF THE BABYLONIAN EMPIRE SET FIRE TO THE TEMPLE.THIS IS THE TEMPLE THAT SOLOMON HAD BUILT 470 YEARS EARLIER.THE CITY WAS OVERTHROWN TO ITS VERY FOUNDATIONS- ALL THE PEOPLE WERE TAKEN CAPTIVE, THE HIGH PRIEST SERAIAH AND ZEPHANIAH WHO WAS NEXT IN LINE WERE TAKEN AS PRISONERS.
About 70 years after the first Babylonian invasion, Cyrus, King of Persia, gave the Jews permission to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple. Under the leadership of a man named Zerubbabel, these exiled Jews returned to Jerusalem and rebuilt the temple. Ezra and Nehemiah give the historical accounts of the return of the Jews from Babylonian
captivity. There were actually three groups that returned. The first group returned in 536 BC underleadership of Zerubbabel, the second group in 458 BC led by Ezra, and the third group in 445 BCled by Nehemiah. Nehemiah describes the return of the third group from captivity and the rebuilding of the wall of Jerusalem.
Ezra 1:1 In the first year of King Cyrus of Persia, the LORD fulfilled the prophecy he had given through Jeremiah .
Consider the history of the period according to the reigns of several great Persian kings :
Cyrus — He overthrew Babylon in 538 BC. The first group of Jews returned to Palestine under
Zerubbabel’s leadership in 536 BC.
Darius the “Great” — During his lifetime, the temple in Jerusalem was rebuilt.
Xerxes — This is the Ahasuerus of the book of Esther. He eventually chose Esther as his queen, and by her influence he saved the Jews from destruction.
Artaxerxes — This man was son of Xerxes and stepson of Esther. He ruled from about 465-423 BC. The books of Ezra and Nehemiah were written during his reign.Ezra’s record begins with the first group that returned under Cyrus. But Ezra himself became personally involved in the story during the 7th year of the reign of Araxerxes, when Ezra led a group of Jews back to Palestine (458 BC). In the 21st year of the reign, Nehemiah led another group of Jews to return, and rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem.
EZRA 1: 1 CONTINUED He stirred the heart of Cyrus to put this proclamation in writing and to send it throughout his kingdom:2 “This is what King Cyrus of Persia says:“The LORD, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth. He has appointed me to build him a Temple at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. 3 Any of you who are his people may go to Jerusalem in Judah to rebuild this Temple of the LORD, the God of Israel, who lives in Jerusalem. And may your God be with you! 4 Wherever this Jewish remnant is found, let their neighbors contribute toward their expenses by giving them silver and gold, supplies for the journey, and livestock, as well as a voluntary offering for the Temple of God in Jerusalem.” New Living Translation (NLT)