With many of the Israelites having returned from captivity, Nehemiah remained as cup bearer to Artexerxes. He received word that the walls in Jerusalem remained in disrepair. This news greatly saddened Nehemiah and having prayed about the matter he asked permission from the king to go to Jerusalem and repair the walls. Permission was granted.
Upon arriving in the city of David, Nehemiah surveyed the walls by night, analyzing the problem and formulating a solution. He then made public his plans and led the people in the great task of rebuilding the walls and gates, as governor of Jerusalem.
Of course, there were enemies of the cause. Sanballat, Tobiah and Geshem laughed at them (2.19). The Jews worked on. The enemies planned to attack and slaughter them while they were distracted with the work (4.8). The Jews worked on, with their tools inone hand and their weapons in the other. Next Sanballat uses the slander of Gashmu in an attempt to stir up trouble against Nehemiah and the workers (6.5-7). They worked on. Finally, there is an assassination plotted to take put Nehemiah (6.10). Nehemiah did not flee and the work continued.
And there were internal troubles. Many of the people were disheartened because the Jews were exacting interest from their brethren and there was exacting interest from their brethren and there was great financial strain, even the bondage of sons and daughters. Nehemiah rebuked them and things changed (5.1-19) Later, Nehemiah addresses the problem of ungodly marriages and profaning of the sabbath and even threatens to “lay hands” on merchants who broke the law.
What was accomplished under the direction of Nehemiah was truly remarkable. In the face of great opposition, he wavered not from the cause. There was something about Nehemiah that just would not quit. It is found throughout the book, and is stated again the very last sentence. Nehemiah wanted to be remembered, not for his athleticism, brain power or wealth, but for good. Nehemiah wanted to be remembered, not by his enemies, his brethren, but by his God.