Nehemiah 1: Who is Nehemiah?

Nehemiah is introduced and we learn about leadership.

Introduction

The book of Nehemiah is introduced as the words of Nehemiah; this is the closest thing we have to an announcement of authorship. From there, we jump right in to the role of Nehemiah and who he was.
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Who is Nehemiah?

Photocredit: Unsplash.com/Athena Lam
Nehemiah is introduced as the son of Hachaliah. Hachaliah isn't mentioned anywhere else in the Bible; he is likely mentioned to help us distinguish Nehemiah from the other Nehemiah's of the Bible (re: Nehemiah 3:16, 7:7 and Ezra 2:2). Apparently Nehemiah was a popular name during that era. Today, Nehemiah ranks in popularity at 365 in the US.[1] It's funny to think of Biblical names the same way we see names like Brittany, Ashely, Michael, and Josh today, but reading the Bible will quickly remind us that some names occurred more frequently than others. Since last names are never given, this makes it hard to follow the text sometimes. The Bible identifies Nehemiah for us by relating him to his father Hachaliah or his brother Hanani.
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Nehemiah's Task

While in Persia, Nehemiah receives news about Jerusalem and it's inhabitants. The wall and gates of the city were damaged, leaving the people vulnerable to attack. Without a fortified capital to lead Judah, Judah could never be an independent nation; a fortified capital required walls and gates. Upon hearing this news, Nehemiah is grieved and prays to God. He reasons with God that the people are repentant and eager to seek Him. As such, God's covenant stipulated that God would look out for them. Nehemiah is aware that Jerusalem had fallen and they were scattered do to their sins, but is ready to invoke the promise of God to return them once they have repented. Nehemiah prays for strength and courage to approach the king with the request to rebuild the wall. The reason Nehemiah felt it his duty to do such a thing is because he was the cupbearer for the king (Artaxerxes I).
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Position and Power

Nehemiah understood that it was his responsibility to move the reconstruction of Jerusalem forward because of his position. As the cupbearer, Nehemiah had access to the king, which meant he was the only person who could bring up the topic to the person on earth who had the power to get the ball rolling. Nehemiah prays for strength in carrying out this task because he knows it is up to him. Often, we are God's only representative in an area and it is our duty to stand for God. This can be a daunting task—I definitely remember times that perhaps I should have been speaking up for God but instead chose to remain silent. It takes maturity in our relationship with God to flourish in these situations. Like Nehemiah, we should be praying for courage and strength to carry out God's will when called upon.
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References

  1. Mike Campbell. "Nehemiah". Behind the Name; visited April 2017

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Author Image Author Image I love reading the Word of God. With prayer God's Word reveals so much: from comfort to temperance, from perspective to affirmation. Digging into the depths of the Word, cross-referencing history, language and time differences, is a passion of mine. In March of 2015 I decided to go back through the Bible doing an in depth study on each section I read. Eventually I decided to share my journal of notes as I partake in this journey. I hope you are blessed by God and inspired to pursue a deeper relationship with Him. I love reading and learning about God, nature, and science. I am interested in how it all connects. The Creator's fingerprints are all over his creation. We can learn so much about Him and how we came to be by exploring the world around us. Join me as I explore the world and draw closer to the One who created it all.
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