The Wall: Neh 1-7
"Come, let us rebuild the walls of Jerusalem so that we may no longer be a reproach!" (Neh 2:17)
Nehemiah, cup-bearer for King Artaxerxes, hears of the state of the city of Jerusalem and asks to be sent to Judah to restore the city. He is appointed governor of Judah. Aided by priests and other Israelite officials, the walls are rebuilt, to the chagrin of Sanballet and Tobiah the Ammonite. Nehemiah arms the workers and places guards. In spite of plots and civil unrest, the walls are restored.
Usury is abolished.
A census is taken.
The Law: Neh 8-10
"Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God, and all the people , their hands raised high, answered Amen, Amen!" (Neh 8:6)
The people gather and Erza blesses the Lord. The people acclaim "amen!" The laws are proclaimed and the people weep. The Levites instead tell them to rejoice. The Feast of Booths is re-established. The Israelites host a public confession of sin and the Levites sing a long prayer explaining the history and relationship of God and their people.
A pact is made by the Levites and leaders of the people to establish a way of life that separates them "from the local inhabitants in favor of the law of God" (Neh 10:29).
Dedication and Reformation: Neh 11-13
"Great Sacrifices were offered on that day, and they rejoiced, for God had given them cause for great rejoicing." (Neh 12:43)
The administrators move back to Jerusalem while others cast lots to see who would return to the city and who would move to surrounding areas. The Levites from across the land come together to dedicate the walls. There is much music and many processions. The Moabites and Ammonites and those of mixed heritage are separated from the assembly.
Nehemiah who had returned to the king, comes back to Jerusalem. He removes Tobiah from the court, cleanses the space and restores the portions that had stopped being collected for the Levites. Nehemiah removes Sanballet's son-in-law from the priesthood and writes, "I cleansed them of all foreign contamination" (Neh 13:30).
He closes the markets that were open on the Sabbath.
He ends mixed marriages.
Both physical walls and a way of living have been built in Jerusalem in order to protect those who have returned.