There’s something about Nehemiah that sets it apart from the other books. I’m not entirely sure what it is, but it’s something about the style, the voice of Nehemiah.
It’s written in first person. Ecclesiastes is written in first person, a few chapters in other books, but mostly it’s just the Psalms. And Nehemiah. That makes it stand out.
But there’s something else. It feels blunt. Even in surrounded by accounts of wide sweeping narratives reduced to summarization. It’s direct. It feels like the account of someone not particularly trained for this sort of thing.
I don’t know the reasons. I don’t know why it’s different. I don’t know if it’s because Nehemiah was a cup bearer, not a scholar. I just know that in some small way it makes it very relatable. It makes it very real.
“And these men wanted to meet with me, but I knew it was a trap, so I said no. Four times. The fifth time they tried to blackmail me to come out, but I told them that wouldn’t work because it was all lies.”
Like, he’s not even embellishing to make himself look good. He’s just relating what happened. Even the bit about helping the poor. Yeah, he recognizes that what he did was good and wants it remembered because it was good, but it still doesn’t really come across as bragging.
I don’t know. It’s all just very interesting to me. It makes me want to know Nehemiah. What was he like in person? What he like to actually sit and talk with? And how did he feel, going from cupbearer to leader of a traumatized people trying to rebuild a city of ruins in the midst of nations actively seeking to intimidate them?
His faith is remarkable.