In her book, On This Foundation, Lynn Austin does a wonderful job of fleshing out Nehemiah and the Jewish people he led to rebuild the walls in Jerusalem.
Last year, our Ladies’ Bible Study at church did an in-depth study of Nehemiah, which was especially difficult with all of the building and technical points throughout the book. But I finished that study having a new appreciation for the book of Nehemiah (thank you, Chris, and Annette!), so I was excited to have the opportunity to review this book.
Austin does a wonderful job of digging a little deeper into the life of Nehemiah and giving some possibilities as to why he would have found himself working as cupbearer to the king of Persia and why he would be so concerned with rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem. I also appreciated how she interpreted what he must have thought when he was by himself. It’s easy to see characters in scripture and think that they couldn’t possibly have had the same conflicts that we have. It was good for me to see Nehemiah getting angry, being prideful, doubting himself, and dealing with personal conflict. She also did a great job fleshing out his family and the possibility that he would feel a need to protect those he loved.
I also appreciated that she looked at people in scripture and gave them names, faces, and lives. By noticing that one of the leaders’ daughters worked alongside him, Austin was able to flesh out a family that actually is mentioned very briefly in the Bible. I also appreciated her taking some of the main problems the Jewish people were facing and showing what that looked like through her characters. She shows how the poor people were oppressed by the wealthy noblemen and how so many people were using the Torah to justify what they were doing without loving each other.
Austin did a wonderful job of leading the reader through the biblical account of Nehemiah while adding some fictional account to give the reader a deeper understanding of some of the historical background. I believe she stayed true to scripture, and I appreciate that at the end of the book, she points the reader to the exact passages she used to write her story.
I highly recommend this book, but I think the reader should also do an in-depth study of the actual account in the Bible.
*This book was given to me by Bethany House in exchange for my honest review.