Nehemiah - Combat Engineer and Governor
"Now strengthen my hands."

Nehemiah is remembered by the Order of Centurions as an outstanding Combat Engineer. His account in is recorded in the Book of Nehemiah. Nehemiah was an official of King Artaxerxes of Persia. As the King's cup bearer, Nehemiah was one of the most trusted people in the court. King Artaxerses allowed him to return to Jerusalem, as its governor, to rebuild the wall. As a good commander, one of his first tasks upon arrival was a reconnaissance of the area, which he conducted with a small patrol at night so as not to reveal his activities to the officials.

He motivated some of the loyal priests and leaders in the city to begin the process of rebuilding the wall and gates. They worked until the wall was about half of its previous height. Nehemiah's enemies, Sanballat and Tobiah planned to stop the rebuilding by force. The local people warned Nehemiah of the intentions of his adversaries, and immediately set up a defensive line to protect the low spots on the wall. He took a full 50% of his workers and posted them in defensive positions with spears, shields, bows and armor. Those who worked the wall were also armed and prepared to go into combat in the event of an attack. The officers stationed themselves along the wall to supervise the work and keep watch for enemy activity. The workers were rehearsed to respond to rally points along the wall if they should hear the signal of the trumpeters. This allowed Nehemiah to continue to work the weak spots all along the wall while still being capable of responding to an attack. His men were kept inside the walls at night and prepared to counter any night attacks.

Although never attacked, his enemies did attempt intrigue and threats to frighten Nehemiah and his workers, but to no avail. Nehemiah prayed "Now strengthen my hands.", and told Shemaiah who advised him to hide, "Should a man like me run away, Or should one like me go into the temple to save his life? I will not go!"

Nehemiah completed the wall in only 52 days. These walls had laid in ruins for nearly 150 years. The people were organized and motivated through Nehemiah's leadership to complete this task quickly and effectively. He accomplished all of this while some in the city who were loyal to his adversary Tobiah reported on Nehemiah's progress and troop dispositions.

After completion of the wall and setting of the gates, Nehemiah, his priest and scribe Ezra, and the people gave thanks and celebrated their victory with a great feast. They read the law again in Jerusalem, and observed the ancient feasts.

While serving as Governor, Nehemiah made many social reforms to end abuses of poor Jews by countrymen. He enforced the laws of the Sabbath on residents and aliens alike, and rebuked those who violated the laws of the Jews not to marry aliens or allow them into the assembly of the faithful. He stopped abuses by the priests, and directed the people to make tithes to the Temple so that customary Temple activities required in the law might be observed.

Copyright Order of Centurions. Reviewed 7:46 AM 1/22/2014

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