The last of the historical books of the OT and probably a continuation of the work of the Chronicler. There are several sections: chs. 1–7 (narrated in the first person—cf. the ‘we-sections’ of Acts) describe Nehemiah’s return to Jerusalem and his first governorship. In chs. 8–9 there is an interlude for Ezra to read the law, which is a continuation of the book of Ezra 7–10. (The view that Ezra probably came to Jerusalem after Nehemiah, under Artaxerxes II, is not as convincing as the traditional timetable which is that Ezra’s strict regulations under Artaxerxes I made the later reforms of Nehemiah tolerable.). Neh. 11–13 continues the account of the rebuilding of the walls under Nehemiah’s second governorship, after providing a comprehensive list of officials. Opposition from neighbouring peoples had to be withstood and Jewish laws enforced. In particular, marriages with foreigners were forbidden, and Jewish men who had wives who could not speak Hebrew were required to divorce them (Neh. 13: 23). Apparently returned exiles were aiming to improve their social status by marrying into an aristocratic order. Nehemiah lived with a consuming conviction of the providence of God, who guided him.