Book of Nehemiah
As recorded in the Book of Nehemiah (meaning „Jehova comforts“), Nehemiah is the lead character of the story which provides us a description of the rebuilding of Jerusalem during the Second Temple period, in which he was engaged in, as governor of Persian Judea. He was sent to Jerusalem as the cup bearer of king Araxerxes of Persia, after learning that the walls of Jerusalem were ruined. His mission was to rebuild the city, repopulate it and bring the Jewish community back to the laws of Moses, which he did in the following 12 years. Yet, as soon as he returned back to king Artaxerxes, to Susa, he found that the people of Jerusalem returned to their evil old ways.
He then decides to return to Jerusalem for good and work to enforce the Law. One of the important parts of this law was, as explained in verse 13:12 – „Then all Judah brought a tenth of all the grain harvested, new wine, and olive oil to the storerooms“– to take care and ensure regular income for the normal functioning of the community and this was done with a tax that obligated the payers to provide the state with one tenth of their income. This was usually called tithe and represented a one-tenth part of something, which was handed to an organization or given as tax to an authority.
The Jews of the time, having no monetary system, were obliged to pay this tax, as the verse says, in grain, olive oil and wine, but other agricultural products were also common. Also, manufacturers such as blacksmiths, leather workers and carpenters were obliged to give a part of their products to the authorities. It would not be unusual for a carpenter, for example, to hand over a set of chairs and tables to the government, as his tithe, so the authorities can make use of his furniture, just like people today can find quality furniture in Gallatin Valley Furniture Carpet one.
Nehemiah showed good guidance as ruler of Jerusalem, since he was able not just to work on the reconstruction of the city and its wall, but he managed to repel the attacks of the most important enemies of Israelites of that time – the Samaritans, the Ammonites and the Arabs. The Jewish community was then segregated from its neighbours and accepted the old Laws of Moses. After the period of backsliding, when the Jews returned to their old ways of evil, Nehemiah returned once again to bring the people back to the way of the light and to make sure they will not fall again.
The Temple was purified once more and all of the priests and Levites were purified as wall, and the Laws of Moses were, once again and for all time, enforced as the Law of the land. Province of Judah was, back then, only a small province as a part of the vast Persian Empire, ruled by the mighty king Araxerxes II of Persia, and waited for the period of liberation, which will come centuries later.