"Why is the house of God forsaken?" During Nehemiah’s absence from Jerusalem, Tobiah the Ammonite, a powerful foreigner with a history of trouble-making, had been given rooms within the Temple (13:7). Nehemiah was horrified that, despite the recent national spiritual renewal, people cared so little for the Temple’s holiness. He then found out that the Levites had not been given their provisions (v10), commerce was happening on the Sabbath (v15), and even important leaders were married to pagan women (v28). These were all sins which had destroyed Israel before (v18).
Nehemiah wasn’t satisfied with rebuilt walls and the Temple in Jerusalem. More than just “occupying the land,” he was passionate about calling people to true repentance and holiness.