|א ב ג ד ה ו ז ח ט י כ ל מ נ ס ע פ צ ק ר ש ת|
נְחֶמְיָה (עזרא ב:ב, נחמיה ז:ז)
נְחֶמְיָה בֶּן חֲכַלְיָה (נחמיה)
A governor - תִּרְשָׁתָא - of the revitalized state of Israel following the rebuilding of the Temple and Jerusalem. נחמיה is living in Persia in the city of שושן , serving as a cupbearer to King אַרְתַּחְשַׁסְתְּא , when he receives a party of refugees from the land of Israel. This group, led by חֲנָנִי report to נחמיה the sorry state of affairs in ירושלים : the people there are suffering and the walls and gates remain broken and burned. נחמיה is greatly distressed at this description and begs God to have mercy on His people and to return them to their land (chapter 1). נחמיה then appeals to his employer, אַרְתַּחְשַׁסְתְּא , to grant him a leave of absence so that he may travel to ירושלים and aid in its reconstruction. The king agrees to this request and presents נחמיה with letters of passage to guarantee a safe journey to Israel. Upon his arrival, נחמיה takes a night-time tour of the city and finds it in ruins. He gathers the Jewish leaders and tells them of his plan to build the city with the help of God (chapter 2). The leaders of the Jewish community jump right in and begin to reconstruct the walls of ירושלים . נחמיה endures the taunts of two Persian governors, טוֹבִיָּה הָעֶבֶד הָעַמֹּנִי a leader in עמון , and סַנְבַלַּט הַחֹרֹנִי a ruler in the שמרון . These two mock נחמיה 's and the Jews' efforts to build the city walls, claiming that the project will never last (chapter 3). The words however turn to threats when נחמיה 's adversaries realize that the Jews are succeeding. נחמיה understands that there really is a danger of violence and divides his workers into two groups. Building still proceeds from dawn to nightfall, but only half of the people work on the construction; the other half, who are armed with spears and bows, guard the project, prepared for any attack (chapter 4). As leader of the community נחמיה imposes social justice by convincing the rich to be compassionate to the poor (chapter 5). סנבלט and גשם plan to kill נחמיה and repeatedly ask him to meet them in one of the villages near אוֹנוֹ . נחמיה however is wise to their plot and refuses. סנבלט then sends a message to נחמיה : "everybody is talking about the true reason you have built the wall - you wish to rebel against the king and to declare yourself king of יהודה . Come, let us discuss the issue." נחמיה replies that this claim is a complete fabrication. נחמיה is not intimidated by these tactics. He seeks the advice of one שְׁמַעְיָה בֶּן דְּלָיָה בֶּן מְהֵיטַבְאֵל who suggests that he take refuge in the Temple. נחמיה declines because he realizes that שמעיה is in fact in league with his enemies. נחמיה asks God to take note of his enemies' behaviour and mentions an otherwise unknown person, נוֹעַדְיָה הַנְּבִיאָה , whom נחמיה says is part of a group of prophets trying to frighten him (chapter 6). Through all this aggravation the walls around ירושלים are completed and a national assembly is called. עזרא the scribe addresses the gathering and reads and teaches from the Torah, after which there is a great celebration of the holiday of סוכות . Following the feast, the people of Israel confess their sins, learn some more Torah, and listen to a recitation of Israelite history (chapters 8-9). Contrite over past sins, they resolve to follow the laws of the Torah, and the community's leaders sign a declaration - an אֲמָנָה - to this effect. The signatories to this statement promise to observe the commandments of the Torah, to refrain from intermarrying, to avoid commerce on Shabbat, and to make the required donations to the Temple (chapter 10). נחמיה presides over a dedication ceremony for the walls of ירושלים which comprises prayers, music and processions, and sacrifices to God (chapter 12). נחמיה returns to בבל but again asks אַרְתַּחְשַׁסְתְּא for permission to travel to ירושלים when he learns that one of his foes, טוביה , has been given lodging in the Temple by אלישיב , the כהן גדול . נחמיה also takes action against אלישיב 's grandson (יוידע 's son) who has intermarried by banishing him. On this second trip to ירושלים , נחמיה puts things in order in the Temple. He appoints treasurers to insure that the Levites get the salary they deserve. נחמיה is dismayed to witness business transactions on Shabbat and orders the gates of ירושלים locked before the onset of the holy day to prevent merchants from entering. He also takes the people to task for continuing to intermarry and warns them not to betray God (chapter 13). נחמיה appeals several times to God to remember all the work he has done on His behalf, and his book ends with the statement: זָכְרָה לִּי אֱלֹקַי לְטוֹבָה - remember me, my God, for good (13:31). According to the Gemara (בבא בתרא טו .), נחמיה contributes to the writing of דברי הימים .
נְחֶמְיָה בֶּן עַזְבּוּק (נחמיה ג:טז)
This ruler of half the district of בֵּית צוּר is credited with participating in the construction of the walls of ירושלים in the time of נחמיה .