The rebuilding was finished. Nehemiah’s appointed task was done. The first thing he did was to turn the government over to Hananiah, a military leader – but one who was a ‘faithful man who feared God more than most.’ Nehemiah knew when the time was right to give up his authority and power. He had no difficulty in doing so, in trusting another to lead the people, and in following the chosen leader. He knew when it was time to go.
Still, Nehemiah’s heart was with the city, giving them instruction to close the gates while the people rested. He ordered that guards be appointed from among the residents – no mercenaries, no foreigners – only those who would naturally be loyal to Jerusalem. Only those whose life was tied to the city would rightly guard it.
As Nehemiah readied himself for retirement, God gave him another task – to call the people together, for a registration. Perhaps this would encourage all those round about – who have saw the forsaken city and decided to move on – to settle again in the gates of the city. He found a list of the originally returning Jews and began to number them. He even found some who could not prove that they were indeed citizens of that city. Their names were not found written in that book.
These former exiles began to give gifts to the city, to rebuild more of the buildings and to bring again a presentable city. And they began to settle in the city, giving strength to the small population.