Nehemiah had reorganized the Judean community, rebuilt their walls, and inspired them with a new sense of self-respect; thus he made possible that genuine revival of the Judean state that took place during the succeeding centuries. He, like Ezekiel, Haggai, Zechariah, and the ii Isaiah, was indeed one of the makers of Judaism. Ben Sira with true insight declared (49:13):
The memorial of Nehemiah is great,
Who raised up for us the walls that were fallen,
And set up the gates and bars,
And raised up our homes again.
Section CI. NEHEMIAH’S SOCIAL AND RELIGIOUS REFORMS
[Sidenote: Isa. 56:1, 2]
Thus saith Jehovah,
Guard justice and practice righteousness.
For my deliverance is near at hand, and my righteousness is soon to be
Happy the man who practices, the mortal who holds fast to it,
Keeping the sabbath so as not to profane it, and keeping his hand from
[Sidenote: Isa. 56:3-5]
Let not the foreigner who hath joined himself to Jehovah say,
‘Jehovah will surely separate me from his people.’
And let not the eunuch say, ‘Behold I am a dry tree.’
For thus saith Jehovah to the eunuchs, ’Those who keep my sabbaths,
And choose that in which I delight, and hold fast to my covenant,
I will give them in my house and walls a monument,
And a name better than sons and daughters,
An everlasting name will I give them which cannot be cut off.
[Sidenote: Isa. 56:6-8]
And the foreigners who join themselves to Jehovah to minister to him,
And to love the name of Jehovah, to be his servants,
Every one who keeps the sabbath so as not to pollute it and faithfully
abides by my covenant—
Them will I bring to my holy mountain and make joyful in my house of
Their burnt-offerings and sacrifices will be accepted upon my altar;
For my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.
It is the oracle of Jehovah, who gathereth the outcasts of Israel,
‘I will gather still others to him in addition to those already gathered.’
[Sidenote: Isa. 56:9-12]
O all ye wild beasts of the field come to devour, all ye wild beasts of
My watchmen are all blind, they know not how to give heed,
They are all dumb dogs which cannot bark,
Dreaming, lying down, loving to slumber.
And the dogs are greedy, they know not how to be satisfied,
They all turn to their own way, each for his own profit [saying],
Come, I will get wine, and we will drink our fill of strong drink,
And to-morrow shall be as to-day, an exceedingly great day!