Let’s go back a few years. Nehemiah, a servant of King Artaxerxes, was an Israelite who lived in the Persian city of Shushan. Nehemiah’s brother came from Judah with bad news: ‘The people who returned to Jerusalem are not safe. The city walls and gates that the Babylonians destroyed have never been rebuilt.’ Nehemiah was upset. He wanted to go to Jerusalem to help, so he prayed that the king would let him go.
Later, the king noticed that Nehemiah was looking sad. He said: ‘I’ve never seen you like this. What’s wrong?’ Nehemiah said: ‘Why should I not look sad when my city, Jerusalem, is in ruins?’ The king asked: ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ Immediately, Nehemiah prayed silently. Then he said: ‘Please, let me go to Jerusalem to rebuild the walls.’ King Artaxerxes told Nehemiah that he could go, and the king made sure that he would be safe on his long journey. He also made Nehemiah governor of Judah and gave him wood for the city gates.
When Nehemiah arrived at Jerusalem, he inspected the city walls. Then he gathered the priests and rulers and told them: ‘This is terrible. We need to get to work.’ The people agreed, and they began to rebuild the walls.
But some of the Israelite’s enemies made fun of them, and said: ‘A fox could knock down the wall you’re building.’ The workers ignored the insults and kept on building. The wall got higher and stronger.
The enemies decided to come from different directions and make a surprise attack on Jerusalem. When the Jews heard about the plan, they were frightened. But Nehemiah said: ‘Don’t be afraid. Jehovah is with us.’ He posted guards to protect the workers, and the enemies were not able to attack.
In just 52 days, the walls and the gates were completed. Nehemiah brought all the Levites to Jerusalem for the inauguration. He organized them into two groups of singers. They went up on the wall by the stairs at the Fountain Gate and then marched in opposite directions around the city. They played trumpets, cymbals, and harps and sang to Jehovah. Ezra went with one group, and Nehemiah with the other, until they met up at the temple. All the people—men, women, and children—offered sacrifices to Jehovah and celebrated. The sound of their happy voices could be heard far away.
“No weapon formed against you will have any success.”—Isaiah 54:17