| 1 ¶
The words of Nehemiah the son of Hachaliah. And it came to pass in the
month Chisleu, in the twentieth year, as I was in Shushan the palace,
2 That Hanani, one of my brethren, came, he and certain men of Judah; and I asked them concerning the Jews that had escaped, which were left of the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem.
3 And they said unto me, The remnant that are left of the captivity there in the province are in great affliction and reproach: the wall of Jerusalem also is broken down, and the gates thereof are burned with fire.
4 And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven,
| 1 -
The words From debarim, literally "words." Also "memoirs"
as in history and is used in that sense here. Other occurrences: je0101,
1 - Chisleu The date is verified in the next chapter ne0201.
1 - Shushan One of several Persian capitals, previously the capital of Elam. About 100 miles north of the Persian Gulf. da0802. See map.
2 - Hanani ... brethren Not necessarily a blood brother but it likely was. See on ne0702.
3 - Remnant ... affliction Considering the distress expressed, the breaking down of the city (or parts of it) would be a recent problem.
4 - When I heard How do we react when we learn of the problems of God's children?
5 ¶ And said, I beseech thee, O LORD God of heaven, the great and
terrible God, that keepeth covenant and mercy for them that love him and
observe his commandments:
6 Let thine ear now be attentive, and thine eyes open, that thou mayest hear the prayer of thy servant, which I pray before thee now, day and night, for the children of Israel thy servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel, which we have sinned against thee: both I and my father's house have sinned.
| 5 -
I ask earnestly Notice how Nehemiah recognized the Lord as
the awesome God. This is good in prayer. God knows who He is, but this
reverent way of approaching Him helps us remember who we are addressing
6 - Hear prayer ... we have sinned Nehemiah may have memorized the words of Daniel expressing the same sentiment da0904.
| 7 We have dealt very
corruptly against thee, and have not kept the commandments, nor the statutes,
nor the judgments, which thou commandedst thy servant Moses.
8 Remember, I beseech thee, the word that thou commandedst thy servant Moses, saying, If ye transgress, I will scatter you abroad among the nations:
9 But if ye turn unto me, and keep my commandments, and do them; though there were of you cast out unto the uttermost part of the heaven, yet will I gather them from thence, and will bring them unto the place that I have chosen to set my name there.
| 7 -
Corruptly ... commandments statutes, judgments See the three
terms in de0531,
8 - Remember your word Nehemiah claimed God's promise de3006.
| 10 Now these are thy
servants and thy people, whom thou hast redeemed by thy great power, and
by thy strong hand.
.11 O Lord, I beseech thee, let now thine ear be attentive to the prayer of thy servant, and to the prayer of thy servants, who desire to fear thy name: and prosper, I pray thee, thy servant this day, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man. For I was the king's cupbearer.
- Redeemed Probably from Egypt, de0929,
And more recently from Babylon.
11 - Mercy in sight of this man Nehemiah knew he needed to ask for help from the monarch. That help he recognized as ultimately coming from God. Often the follower of God finds himself / herself as the only one who can speak the word of encouragement to a desperate soul or who can turn the tide of evil.
11 - This day May not mean the day Nehemiah interviewed the king.
11 - This man That is, King Artaxerxes.
11 - King's cupbearer Literally "I was cupbearer to the king." There may also have been other cup bearers.