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A Jew returning with   to   following the edict of .



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A governor - of the revitalized state of Israel following the rebuilding of the Temple and Jerusalem.   is living in Persia in the city of serving as a cupbearer to King when he receives a party of refugees from the land of Israel. This group, led by   report to   the sorry state of affairs in the people there are suffering and the walls and gates remain broken and burned.   is greatly distressed at this description and begs God to have mercy on His people and to return them to their land (chapter 1).   then appeals to his employer, to grant him a leave of absence so that he may travel to   and aid in its reconstruction. The king agrees to this request and presents   with letters of passage to guarantee a safe journey to Israel. Upon his arrival,   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   endures the taunts of two Persian governors,   a leader in and   a ruler in the These two mock '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 's  adversaries realize that the Jews are succeeding.   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   imposes social justice by convincing the rich to be compassionate to the poor (chapter 5).   and   plan to kill   and repeatedly ask him to meet them in one of the villages near   however is wise to their plot and refuses.   then sends a message to "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 Come, let us discuss the issue."   replies that this claim is a complete fabrication.   is not intimidated by these tactics. He seeks the advice of one   who suggests that he take refuge in the Temple.   declines because he realizes that   is in fact in league with his enemies.   asks God to take note of his enemies' behaviour and mentions an otherwise unknown person, whom   says is part of a group of prophets trying to frighten him (chapter 6). Through all this aggravation the walls around   are completed and a national assembly is called.   the scribe addresses the gathering and reads and teaches from the Torah, after which there is a great celebration of the holiday of 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 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).   presides over a dedication ceremony for the walls of   which comprises prayers, music and processions, and sacrifices to God (chapter 12).   returns to   but again asks   for permission to travel to   when he learns that one of his foes, has been given lodging in the Temple by the   also takes action against 's  grandson ( 's  son) who has intermarried by banishing him. On this second trip to   puts things in order in the Temple. He appoints treasurers to insure that the Levites get the salary they deserve.   is dismayed to witness business transactions on Shabbat and orders the gates of   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).   appeals several times to God to remember all the work he has done on His behalf, and his book ends with the statement: remember me, my God, for good (13:31). According to the Gemara ( .)   contributes to the writing of .



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This ruler of half the district of   is credited with participating in the construction of the walls of   in the time of .


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