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, persons in the Bible
Nehemiah (nēˌəmīˈə), in the Bible. 1 Central figure of the Book of Nehemiah: see Ezra. 2 One who returned from the Exile. 3 Worker on the wall.


, book of the Bible
Nehemiah, originally combined with Ezra to form a single book in the Hebrew canon. In the Septuagint, Ezra and Nehemiah are combined as Second Esdras. The book narrates the return to Jerusalem of Nehemiah, the cup-bearer of Persian King Artaxerxes I, as governor of the city-state. In the first period of Nehemiah's governorship (445–433 B.C.) as related in the book, Jerusalem's walls were rebuilt. There follows an account of the census taking during the earlier era of Zerubbabel in c.520 B.C. The work continues with the return of Ezra in 458 B.C.; the reading of the Jewish law; the national confession of sin; a return to Nehemiah's first governorship; and a brief account of his second term, which began sometime after 433 B.C.


See Ezra for bibliography.

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



high official (cupbearer) of the Persian king Artaxerxes I.

From 445 to 433 B.C., Nehemiah was governor of the Jewish civic and temple community in the Persian satrapy of Judah. Facing a bitter conflict between the community and other groups of the population, Nehemiah fortified Jerusalem and resettled some of the community members there. Struggling against moneylending, the seizure of land, and the enslavement of debtors, Nehemiah issued a law concerning the cancellation of debts in the community and the return of debtors’ property. A “constitution” introduced by Nehemiah, based on the laws of the Pentateuch, demanded the strictest observance of religious regulations and categorically forbade mixed marriages. The steps taken by Nehemiah were the consummation of the process of the shaping of the Jewish community. The Old Testament Book of Nehemiah, based on the records or memoirs of Nehemiah, was compiled in the second half of the fifth or early fourth century B.C.


Veinberg, I. P. Grazhdansko-khramovaia obshchina v zapadnykh provintsiiakh akhemenidskoi derzhavy. Tbilisi, 1973. (Author abstract of dissertation.)
Mowinckel, S. Studien zu dem Buche Ezra-Nehemia, (vols.) 1–3. Oslo, 1964–65.
Ackroyd, P. R. Exile and Restoration. London, 1968.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


Old Testament
1. a Jewish official at the court of Artaxerxes, king of Persia, who in 444 bc became a leader in the rebuilding of Jerusalem after the Babylonian captivity
2. the book recounting the acts of Nehemiah
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005