The New Student's Reference Work/Nehemiah
Nehemi′ah, a leader of the Jews after the exile, was a Jew holding the office of cupbearer to Artaxerxes when he heard of the unprosperous condition of Jerusalem. In the following year (444 B. C.) he obtained leave of absence and power to act as governor extraordinary of Judæa, and arriving at the city caused its walls to be rebuilt, enlarged the population by drafts upon surrounding districts and brought back the Levites who had been forced to leave. On his second visit, 12 years later, he began new reforms, notably the movement against mixed marriages, the cleansing of the temple, a strict law of Sabbath observance and a provision for the maintenance of the temple and priests. The Book of Nehemiah originally formed the closing chapters of the undivided work, Chronicles, Ezra and Nehemiah, containing the memoirs of Ezra and Nehemiah.