- How long did Nehemiah brood over the news about Jerusalem before he took action (see Note 1 below)? Note the sequence of events- one which is often seen when God calls his servants to a particular task.
- What can we learn from the example of Nehemiah’s prayer? Note is attitude, his knowledge of the scriptures, his grounds for expecting prayer to be answered. Deut. 7:9-12; 29 and 30 provide a background to the prayer.
- Verses 1. The month Kislev corresponds to our November-December and Nisan (2:1) to our March-April.
- Verse 11. ‘Cupbearer’: a high official, who had the duty of tasting wine before it was handed to the King to test if it had been poisoned.
- What is the order of events following Nehemiah’s prayer? What difficulties did he have to face at each stage?
- What light does the chapter throw on Nehemiah’s secret communion with God? On what grounds was he confident that God would prosper him in his work? Are such communion and confidence lacking in your life?
- Verse 3. Nehemiah had probably broken court etiquette in letting his grief be seen in the King’s presence.
- Verse 10. ‘Sanballat’: an important official, probably governor of Samaria. Tobiah may have been his secretary.
- Contrast the busy scenes of this chapter with the picture of the walls and gates lying desolate, broken and burned, in 2:13, 14. What brought about the change? (Examine, if possible, a plan of the city at this time.)
- Note how all the different classes in the city took part in the work, each being assigned a special place and task. What can we learn from this chapter of the value of: (a) thorough organization and (b) willing co –operation by all?
- The successful progress of the work brought increasing opposition. Picture the characters concerned in the various scenes. What kind of discouragement did Nehemiah meet, and how did he deal with them?
- In verses 19-23 notice how Nehemiah shared in the hard work. Where did he plan to be if fighting broke out? What dose this teach us about leadership?
- What social evil did Nehemiah put right (see verses 1-13)? And how did he do it?
- What features of his conduct made Nehemiah an excellent governor? Are we developing similar characteristics?
- What considerations ought to keep God’s people from doing some things that others do as a matter of course? Cf. verse 15 and 1Cor. 8:13.
Note. Verses 1-5. The wealthier Jews were evidently demanding repayment at high interest of money lent by them to their poorer brethren, and were seizing the lands and even the person of the debtors whenever their demands were not met.