The Babylonians destroyed the city of Jerusalem and the Temple of the Lord in 586 B.C. and exiled many Judeans to Babylon (2 Kings 25:1-21; 2 Chronicles 36:17-21; Jeremiah 39:1-10; 52:1-30). Several decades later (539 B.C.), King Cyrus of Persia conquered Babylon and declared that the Judean exiles were free to return to Judah and rebuild the Temple (2 Chronicles 36:22-23; Ezra 1:1-4). A small portion of the exiles did return and rebuild the Temple (Ezra 1:5-6:15; Nehemiah 7:5-65), but it wasn’t until about 444 B.C. that they rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem under the leadership of Nehemiah. The work of rebuilding Jerusalem’s walls is recorded in Nehemiah 3, and it appears that the rebuilt walls did not include the western hill that had been enclosed under Hezekiah’s leadership hundreds of years earlier. The walls surrounding that area were rebuilt during the Maccabean era.