In 445 B.C., the walls of Jerusalem were a shambles and the people were scattered and leaderless (House, 1995). From the distant land of Persia a Jew empowered by God, inspired by righteous indignation, and equipped with a voice of passion and resolve arrived in Jerusalem. Nehemiah, cupbearer to King Artaxerxes, returned to Jerusalem with a clear mission: restore the walls of Jerusalem (Ne. 2). Upon his return, Nehemiah calls the Jews to pull themselves out of despair, rise with passion, and rebuild the walls of Jerusalem:
“Then I said to them, “You see the trouble we are in, how Jerusalem lies in ruins with its gates burned. Come, let us build the wall of Jerusalem, that we may no longer suffer derision.” And I told them of the hand of my God that had been upon me for good, and also of the words that the king had spoken to me.” (Ne. 2:17-18)
In the arena of communication, leaders seek to engage the listeners, gain their commitment, and create a bond of trust between them and the followers (Baldoni, 2003, p. 6). Nehemiah, in his address, called the Jews to action. A call to action is an attempt to transform from a current reality of crises or defeat and capitalize on a presented, or created, opportunity (Baldoni, 2003, p. 81). He presents the problem clearly, calls the people to rebuild the walls, and presents the evidence of God’s favor on the project.
Through danger, derision, and disinterest the Jewish people accomplish this mighty task in just 52 days (House, 1995), reestablishing Jerusalem as a protected city that would carry on into the first-century AD.
Why do communicators perceived they need to be lengthy to be effective?
Baldoni, J. (2003). Great Communication Secrets of Great Leaders (1 edition). New York: McGraw-Hill Education.
House, H. (1995). The International Inductive Study Bible: New International Version (1st edition). Eugene, Or: Harvest House Pub.