Nehemiah, Book of

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A biblical book whose principal narratives relate: (1) the return of Nehemiah, an official (cupbearer) at the court of the Persian king Artaxerxes I (464423 b.c.) to the province of Judah; (2) the work of Nehemiah and the Jewish people in rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem, despite economic difficulties and the opposition of the Samaritan governor Sanaballat and others; (3) the reading of the Law by the priest-scribe Ezra and the renewal of the covenant with God by the Jewish community; (4) the rehabitation of Jerusalem; and (5) the return of Nehemiah to Jerusalem after an interval at the Persian court and his correction of abuses discovered upon his return. (For a more complete treatment of this book, see chronicler, biblical.)

[n. j. mceleney]