Nehemiah, originally combined with Ezra to form a single book in the Hebrew canon. In the Septuagint, Ezra and Nehemiah are combined as Second Esdras. The book narrates the return to Jerusalem of Nehemiah, the cup-bearer of Persian King Artaxerxes I, as governor of the city-state. In the first period of Nehemiah's governorship (445–433 B.C.) as related in the book, Jerusalem's walls were rebuilt. There follows an account of the census taking during the earlier era of Zerubbabel in c.520 B.C. The work continues with the return of Ezra in 458 B.C.; the reading of the Jewish law; the national confession of sin; a return to Nehemiah's first governorship; and a brief account of his second term, which began sometime after 433 B.C.
See Ezra for bibliography.