Background of Nehemiah
Ezra-Nehemiah (one book in the earliest manuscripts) was compiled a century after the events it relates to help the Jewish community in Jerusalem understand who they were by describing the beginnings of Second The Jerusalem temple, unlike the tabernacle, was a permanent structure, although (like the tabernacle) it was a place of worship and religious activity. On one occasion Jesus felt such activity was unacceptable and, as reported in all four Gospels, drove from the temple those engaged... More Judaism.
The disastrous events of 587 B.C.E., the destruction of the temple, the end of the Davidic monarchy and Israel as a political entity–not to mention the deportation of the population to Babylon–had necessitated a radical reassessment of Israel’s identity and relationship with God. What had happened to them? Had they been abandoned? Were the gods of Babylon victorious or was God responsible for their situation? Would they be delivered from exile? Israel’s answers to these questions in exile had been largely negative, interpreting the events as God’s judgment on an unrepentant Israel in fulfillment of the prophetic warnings of the past, especially those of Second Isaiah refers chapters 40-55 of the book of Isaiah. This work was likely written during Israel's exile in Babylon (597-538 B.C.E.). Second Isaiah includes poetic passages of hope as well as descriptions of the Suffering Servant. More:
“Who gave up The son of Isaac and Rebekah, renamed Israel, became the father of the twelve tribal families More to the spoiler, and Israel to the robbers? Was it not the LORD, against whom we have sinned, in whose ways they would not walk, and whose law they would not obey?” (Isaiah, son of Amoz, who prophesied in Jerusalem, is included among the prophets of the eighth century B.C.E. (along with Amos, Hosea, and Micah)--preachers who boldly proclaimed God's word of judgment against the economic, social, and religious disorders of their time. More 42:24).
But Zion originally referred to a mountain near Jerusalem where David conquered a Jebusite stronghold. Later the term came to mean a number of other things like the Temple, Jerusalem, and even the Promised Land. More said, “The LORD has forsaken me, my Lord has forgotten me” (Isaiah 49:14).
Eventually, however, they began to accept the necessity of judgment and exile, and realized that, though justified, this was not God’s final word. Once again, the proclamation of Second Isaiah was formative, this time as a message of hope. The community addressed by Ezra-Nehemiah, the sons and daughters of those who had returned and experienced the first fruits of that hope, needed to hear who they were and needed to be encouraged in the situations they now faced. They needed to be reminded of the institutions that had been developing for the last hundred years and to see that their sense of identity and continuity with the past was nurtured and sustained through such endeavors.