Ezra – Nehemiah
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Ezra is more than a collection of facts about the Jewish exiles returning to Jerusalem. It also shows how God is true to His Word and fulfils His promises. In the book of Ezra we witness the rebuilding of the new temple, the unification of the returning tribes as they shared common struggles and were challenged to work together. Later, after the original remnant had stopped work on the city walls and spiritual apathy ruled, Ezra (a priest) arrived with another two thousand people and sparked a spiritual revival. By the end of the book, Israel had renewed its covenant with God and had begun acting in obedience to Him.
Nehemiah is the last historical book of the Old Testament. Nehemiah was a layman and he served the Persian king in a secular position before leading a group of Jews to Jerusalem in order to rebuild the city walls. Under Nehemiah’s leadership, the Jews withstood opposition and came together to accomplish their goal. Nehemiah partnered with Ezra, who also appears in this book, to solidify the political and spiritual foundations of the people. Nehemiah’s humility before God provided an example for the people. He did not claim glory for himself but always gave God the credit for his successes.