After rebuilding the walls, the leaders, in addition to ten percent of returned exiles began to live in Jerusalem (Nehemiah 11:1). Why are only ten percent of the people asked to live in Jerusalem? For one, the walls had just been rebuilt, and the city was still very vulnerable; those who stayed in their towns were thankful for those ten percent who moved to Jerusalem.
Secondly, it is likely that Jerusalem would require a few more years to establish the infrastructure necessary to handle a large population. Remember, even after all of this rebuilding in Nehemiah, there is still much work left to be done. Jerusalem is by no means in possession of their former power or even their former plumbing. God has been faithful, yet there is still a great deal of work to be done to make the city habitable for a growing number of returned exiles. Thus, it is best that the leaders oversee the rebuilding of this city and also take the risks inherent to the task.
Throughout Nehemiah, these details offer great insight into God’s relationship with our daily lives and clue us in to how God provides. God is not distant, and He does not consider the particulars of our lives between waking and sleeping irrelevant. Rather, God is pleased to provide intimately and thoroughly for His people.