Chapter 13 records Nehemiah’s second visit to Jerusalem. He
found that the Jewish men had repeated the sin of taking heathen
wives. In fact, some of the priests had even sinned in this way. It
was now necessary for this courageous saint to face the sin and
honestly judge it. He started at the house of God, when he
discovered that the high priest was allied with the Jews’ enemy,
Tobiah. Nehemiah lost no time in throwing out Tobiah and his goods,
and having the Temple chamber sanctified for its proper use.
The Book of Nehemiah closes with three prayers (verses
22,29, and 31). Nehemiah had done his work, but only God could bless
it and keep it going. The time would come when Nehemiah would die,
and the majority of the people would forget him. However, because of
his faithfulness, God would never forget him.
The events recorded in the Book of Esther take place between
Ezra 6 and 7. The third year of Ahasuerus (chapter 1:3) would be the
year 483 b.c. Ahasuerus was the title of the Persian ruler, just as
Pharaoh was the title of the Egyptian ruler. The Book of Esther does
not mention the name of God, but the name of the king is mentioned
at least 28 times.
The significance of the Book of Esther is that it testifies
to the secret watchcare of Jehovah over dispersed Israel. Even
though the word “Jehovah” does not appear in the book, His
overruling providence is seen in every chapter.
King Xerxes ruled from 486 to 465 b.c. We can see from our
reading that he was an impulsive ruler. At least four years passed
between chapters 1 and 2, during which time King Xerxes went on his
disastrous Greek campaign. He came home a bitter man. It was only
natural that he should seek some kind of comfort in his home. In the
latter part of chapter 2, King Xerxes makes Esther queen, to take
the place of Vashti.