Authorship and Origin:

The book of Nehemiah, like Ezra, Ruth, Job, Esther, and others is named after it's principle character. The Jews considered it to be one book with Ezra, but the repetition of Ezra 2 and Nehemiah 7 may indicate it was originally two works. Although the author is not mentioned, it may have been an autobiography by Nehemiah. It was possibly written by Nehemiah looking back on his administration. The accuracy of the history told in the book has been well established by the discovery of the Elephantine papyri which mentions many of the same names and events with dates. It can be also learned from these papyri that Nehemiah ceased to be govenor of Judea in 408 B.C..

Overview and Significant sections

Nehemiah originally served as cupbearer to king Artaxerxes I and was the son of Ahasuerus (Xerxes), who took Esther to be his queen. In 457 B.C. Ezra led an expedition of Jews back to Jerusalem with the blessing of Artaxerxes. Nehemiah surveys the area, and decides to rebuild the wall, and reform the people. The book of Nehemiah covers about 20 years from 445 B.C. to 425 B.C.. It is quite probably that Malachi prophesied during the governership of Nehemiah, for the evils he discussed are the same as in Nehemiah. This book is of great encouragement to us to be dedicated to the work of God. Nehemiah shows us how to have a great passion for the truth of God's word, whatever the cost.

Significant sections:

For more detailed study:
Read Chapter 1. (the entire book is available starting here.)
The Concise Matthew Henry Commentary on this book. introduction of this book.
the World Wide Study Bible has Dictionary, Commentary, Scripture and sermons available on this book.