As we arrive in Nehemiah chapter 12, much has happened among the exiles who returned from the Babylonian Captivity a hundred years before. Through the years, there have been hardships and heartbreaks along the way. There were threats and famine from the outside. There were pressures from the inside from faltering faith, selfishness, ceasing the restoration efforts and brothers mistreating brothers. However, much has been accomplished. The temple has been rebuilt, the sacrifices instituted, the wall built, the gates hung, the covenant signed, and the city repopulated. Now, a month after the wall was finished, it is dedicated, and “the joy of Jerusalem was heard afar off” (v43).

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