Introduction to Nehemiah
Nehemiah's a Hebrew cup-bearer to Artaxerxes, who allows him to return to Jerusalem to help set things in order and rebuild the city. Gentile leaders from different provinces (specifically, leaders of the Ammonites, Samaritans, and Arabs) try to derail the rebuilding project, but thanks to some military readiness, Nehemiah and his workers successfully speed-build the walls of the city. After this, Nehemiah reads the riot act to Israelite officials and nobles who have been oppressing the poor, charging ridiculous interest on loans, and forcing the people to pawn their land in order to eat. He successfully evades charges of rebellion against the Persian king drummed up by his enemies, and has Ezra give everyone a crash course on the Laws of Moses. The surviving Jews return from exile to repopulate Jerusalem, and Nehemiah—who's come back from a trip to the Persian capital in Susa—shapes up the backsliding Jews, breaks up more interfaith marriages, and saves the day. And he's the first to admit it.