The first return of the Jews from their Babylonian captivity was led by Zerubbabel, and this is chronicled in Ezra 1-6 (538-516 B.C.). Ezra led the second return of the Jews in 457 B.C. (Ezra 7-10). The Book of Nehemiah records the third return led by Nehemiah (444-c. 425 B.C.). While Zerubbabel, Haggai, and Zechariah were concerned with the building of the second temple, Nehemiah focused decades later on the rebuilding of the walls around the city of Jerusalem where the temple was located. Some years earlier, the Jews evidently rebuilt most of the walls of Jerusalem (Ezra 4:6-23), but Nehemiah was distressed to hear that they had been broken down and the gates burned. Nehemiah responded by interceding for his people in their plight.
Reading of Nehemiah 1
Lord, You are the great and awesome God who hears the cries of Your people and grants us grace rather than retribution. I thank You that I can boldly approach the throne of grace to obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Meditation passage for today: verses 5-6, 10-11
Taken from "Handbook to Scripture—365 Key Chapters of the Bible"