The book of Nehemiah is about starting over again. Nehemiah, one of Israel’s great leaders, tells firsthand the powerful story of the rebuilding of ancient Jerusalem’s walls after the exile. This rebuilding, in the face of great odds, represented the people’s renewal of faith, their overcoming of national shame, and the reforming of their conduct.
Raymond Brown, in sizing up Nehemiah the man, surmises, “He must surely be regarded as one of the most inventive and resilient personalities in the rich tapestry of Old Testament biography.” He vividly sketches Nehemiah’s historical and social setting and demonstrates the striking relevance for today of his dominant themes: Nehemiah’s doctrine of God, his passion for Scripture, his experience of prayer, and his example of leadership.
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“Nehemiah was a leader who did not baulk at adversities.” (Page 23)
“Nehemiah was a leader prepared to make personal sacrifices.” (Page 24)
“Nehemiah was a leader who recognized the necessity and advantages of delegation.” (Page 23)
“Nehemiah was a leader with the ability to inspire others” (Page 23)
“Nehemiah was a leader aware of his own vulnerability.” (Page 23)
Raymond E. Brown, S.S., taught for many years at Saint Mary's Seminary in Baltimore and was Professor of Biblical Studies at the Union Theological Seminary for two decades. He was the author of three books in the Anchor Bible series on the Gospels and Epistles of John and wrote the classic Anchor Bible Reference Library volumes The Birth of the Messiah, The Death of the Messiah, and An Introduction to the New Testament. He died in 1998.