A Jew by the name of Nehemiah was employed in the services of King Artaxeres, the king of Persia, as the cupbearer to the king.  He was a well liked and trusted friend of Artaxerxes.

One day, a fellow Israelite happened upon Nehemiah.  Nehemiah asked him about Jerusalem.  He was informed that Jerusalem was in a state f despair with its people poor and the city walls torn down.  Nehemiah became filled with sorrow and prayed for Israel’s repentance.

Artaxerxes, never having seen Nehemiah upset before, asked him what was upsetting him.  Nehemiah replied, “Why should my face not look sad when the city where my fathers are buried lies in ruins, and its gates have  been destroyed by fire?”  Nehemiah then asked the king, “If it pleases the king and if your servant has found favor in his sight, let him send me to the city in Judah where my fathers are buried so that I can rebuild it.”  

Nehemiah found favor in the king’s eyes.  Not only did King Artaxerxes allow Nehemiah to travel to Jerusalem, but he also gave him passage and supplies to help with construction.

The citizens of Jerusalem were overjoyed to have Nehemiah help them.  He brought the citizens together to rebuild the city.  The people broke off into small groups, each rebuilding sections of Jerusalem’s entire outer wall.  Despite the constant threat of attack, the citizens, lead by Nehemiah, rebuild Jerusalem’s primary defense in just 52 days!  With the city safe, the people of Israel could now rebuild their own lives within the city.