An attempt to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem was made after Artaxerxes I of Persia became king (465-464 to 424-23 BC). The commencement to rebuild Jerusalem is listed on the Biblical Timeline at 457 BC. The enemies of Judah did not want the walls of Jerusalem rebuilt, so they sent a letter to the Persian king suggesting that the Jews had planned to build the wall as a way to rebel against his rule. Artaxerxes ordered the people to stop the reconstruction when the letter reached him (Ezra 4:2-23).
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The walls were not rebuilt until the time of Nehemiah. He served at the court of Artaxerxes I as a cup-bearer. Nehemiah requested the king to send him to Judah so he could help rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. Luckily, this request was granted by the king. He went to Judah and encouraged the people to start the reconstruction of the city walls under his leadership. However, they had to deal with strong opposition from the Ammonites, Arabs, and Ashdodites who lived near them. The Jews were in fear for their lives after they were warned that they would be killed if they continued, but Nehemiah appointed guards to protect them.
The threat against them was so great that Nehemiah was forced to divide the men as workers and guards. They worked in shifts so that when some men worked in rebuilding the walls, others stood guard over them. They also defended themselves by carrying weapons whenever they worked (Nehemiah 1-4).
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