Nehemiah, son of Hacaliah, was a cupbearer of the Persian King Artaxerxes. In 444 BC the king appointed Nehemiah to be the governor of Judah and permitted him to go to Jerusalem to help his fellow Jews. He rallied the people to rebuild the damaged walls around Jerusalem.
Despite opposition from his enemies, Sanballat and Tobiah, he succeeded in rebuilding the walls in 52 days, and stationed guards at the city gates. In order to repopulate Jerusalem, he ordered that one out of every ten Jews should take residence in Jerusalem.
He also instituted a series of social reforms including the cancellation of debts owed by the poor and the payment of tithes. He then returned to Persia. In 432 BC he came back to Jerusalem and enforced several laws, such as payment due to the Levites and the observance of the Sabbath.
He is the author of the Book of Nehemiah in the Old Testament. The name Nehemiah means "God has comforted."