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The Book of Nehemiah

Updated on February 1, 2010

Nehemiah was a governor of Judaea and a book of the Old Testament. In Roman Catholic translations the name is spelled Nehemias and the book is called II Esdras. The book is believed to include some of Nehemiah's own writings as well as material added by a later historian. Nehemiah lived in the 5th century B.C. For many years he was an inhabitant of the city of Shushan (now Susa, Iran), where he served as cupbearer to the Persian king Artaxerxes I. Learning that Jerusalem was defenseless and weak, Nehemiah had the king appoint him governor of Judaea. Under his able leadership the city walls were rebuilt, the defenses restored, and economic and social conditions improved. Together with Ezra he reformed Hebrew worship and enforced long-neglected marriage provisions of the Mosaic Law.


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