Traditionally, the author of this book is believed to be Nehemiah himself. Some modern scholars, however, dispute this. There are portions of the book written in the first person (ch. 1-7; 12:27-47, and 13). But there are also portions of it in which Nehemiah is spoken of in the third person (ch. 8; 9; 10). Some, following the traditional attribution to Nehemiah, suppose that these portions may have been written by Ezra (of this, however, there is no distinct evidence), and had their place assigned them in the book probably by Nehemiah, as the responsible author of the whole book, with the exception of ch. 12:11, 22, 23. Other authors think that the historical order of events in both Ezra and Nehemiah has become jumbled, from which they conclude that at least the final arrangement and revision of their text must have occurred at a later period.
The book consists of four parts:
This book closes the history of the Old Testament, if Esther is considered unhistorical and the deuterocanonical books are regarded as Apocrypha. Malachi the prophet was possibly contemporary with Nehemiah (although scholars debate whether Malachi actually existed - many think that the Book of Malachi was accidentally detached from the preceding book, and named from its first words ...messenger...).
A work ascribed to Nehemiah, but bearing in some canons the title Esdras II. or Esdras III., having been attributed to Ezra on the ground that Nehemiah's self-assertion deserved some punishment (Sanh. 93b), or because, having ordinarily been written on the same scroll with the Book of Ezra, it came to be regarded as an appendix to it. The book consists ostensibly (i. 1) of the memoirs of Nehemiah, compiled, or at any rate completed, toward the close of his life, since he alludes to a second visit to Jerusalem "at the end of days" (xiii. 6, A. V. margin), which must mean a long time after the first. In xiii. 28 he speaks of a grandson (comp. xii. 10, 11) of the high priest Eliashib as being of mature years; whence it appears that the latest event mentioned in the book, the high-priesthood of Jaddua, contemporary of Alexander the Great (xii. 11, 22), may have fallen within Nehemiah's time. The redaction of his memoirs occurred probably later than 360 B.C., but how much later can not easily be determined. The first person is employed in ch. i.-vii. 5, xii. 31-42, xiii. 6 et seq. Sometimes, however, Nehemiah prefers to speak in the name of the community (ii. 19, iii. 33-38, x.), and in some places he himself is spoken of in the third person, either with the title "tirshatha" (viii. 9, x. 2) or "peḥah" (xii. 26, claimed by him in v. 14; A. V. "governor"), or without title (xii. 47). The style of these last passages implies somewhat that Nehemiah is not the writer, especially that of the third and fourth: "in the days of Nehemiah the governor, and of Ezra"; "in the days of Zerubbabel, and in the days of Nehemiah." The portions of the book in which the first person is used are marked by repeated prayers for recognition of the author's services, and imprecations on his enemies (iii. 36, 67; v. 19; vi. 13; xiii. 14, 22, 29, 31), which may be taken as characteristic of an individual's style; and indeed the identity of the traits of character which are manifested by the writer of the opening and closing chapters can not escape notice. Moreover, the author's enemies, Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite, figure in both parts.