Nehemiah 1

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Report from Jerusalem

1 The words of 1Nehemiah the son of Hacaliah. Now it happened in the month of 2Chislev, 3in the twentieth year, as I was in 4Susa the capital,[a]
2 that 5Hanani, one of my brothers, came with certain men from Judah. And I asked them concerning the Jews who escaped, who had survived the exile, and concerning Jerusalem.
3 And they said to me, "The remnant there in the province who had survived the exile is in great trouble and 6shame. 7The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, 8and its gates are destroyed by fire."

Nehemiah's Prayer

4 As soon as I heard these words I 9sat down and wept and mourned for days, and I continued fasting and praying before the 10God of heaven.
5 And I said, "O LORD God of heaven, 11the great and awesome God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments,
6 12let your ear be attentive and your eyes open, to hear the prayer of your servant that I now pray before you day and night for the people of Israel your servants, 13confessing the sins of the people of Israel, which we have sinned against you. Even 14I and my father's house have sinned.
7 15We have acted very corruptly against you and have not kept the commandments, the statutes, and the rules 16that you commanded your servant Moses.
8 Remember the word that you commanded your servant Moses, saying, 'If you are unfaithful, 17I will scatter you among the peoples,
9 18but if you return to me and keep my commandments and do them, 19though your outcasts are in the uttermost parts of heaven, from there I will gather them and bring them 20to the place that I have chosen, to make my name dwell there.'
10 21They are your servants and your people, whom you have redeemed by your great power and by your strong hand.
11 O Lord, 22let your ear be attentive to the prayer of your servant, and to the prayer of your servants who delight to fear your name, and give success to your servant today, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man."Now I was 23cupbearer to the king.

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Nehemiah 1 Commentary

Chapter 1

The Old Testament history closes with the book of Nehemiah, wherein is recorded the workings of his heart, in the management of public affairs; with many devout reflections.

Nehemiah's distress for the misery of Jerusalem, His prayer.

- Nehemiah was the Persian king's cup-bearer. When God has work to do, he will never want instruments to do it with. Nehemiah lived at ease, and in honour, but does not forget that he is an Israelite, and that his brethren are in distress. He was ready to do them all the good offices he could; and that he might know how best to do them a kindness, he makes inquiries about them. We should inquire especially concerning the state of the church and religion. Every Jerusalem on this side the heavenly one will have some defect, which will require the help and services of its friends. Nehemiah's first application was to God, that he might have the fuller confidence in his application to the king. Our best pleas in prayer are taken from the promise of God, the word on which he has caused us to hope. Other means must be used, but the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails most. Communion with God will best prepare us for our dealings with men. When we have intrusted our concerns to God, the mind is set at liberty; it feels satisfaction and composure, and difficulties vanish. We know that if the affair be hurtful, he can easily hinder it; and if it be good for us, he can as easily forward it.

Cross References 23

  • 1. Nehemiah 10:1
  • 2. Zechariah 7:1
  • 3. Nehemiah 2:1
  • 4. Esther 1:2, 5; Esther 2:3, 5
  • 5. Nehemiah 7:2
  • 6. Nehemiah 2:17
  • 7. Nehemiah 2:13; 2 Kings 25:10
  • 8. Nehemiah 2:3, 13, 17
  • 9. [Ezra 9:3]
  • 10. Nehemiah 2:4
  • 11. Nehemiah 9:32; Daniel 9:4; [Deuteronomy 7:21]
  • 12. Daniel 9:18; [1 Kings 8:29; 2 Chronicles 6:40]
  • 13. Ezra 10:1; Daniel 9:20
  • 14. [Psalms 106:6]
  • 15. Daniel 9:5
  • 16. Deuteronomy 28:15
  • 17. Leviticus 26:33; Deuteronomy 28:64; See Deuteronomy 4:25-27
  • 18. Leviticus 26:39-42; Deuteronomy 4:29-31; Deuteronomy 30:2, 3
  • 19. Deuteronomy 30:4
  • 20. Deuteronomy 12:5
  • 21. Deuteronomy 9:29
  • 22. [See ver. 6 above]
  • 23. [Nehemiah 2:1]

Footnotes 1

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO THE BOOK OF NEHEMIAH

This book is, by the authors of the Vulgate Latin and Arabic versions, called the "Second" Book of Ezra, it being a continuation of the same history, and was by the Jews reckoned as one book with Ezra; Kimchi on Isa 9:7, calls it Ezra, so the Talmud {a}; and it has been quoted by Christian writers under his name; see the argument of the book of Ezra; but not as if it was written by him; for it is a clear case it was written by Nehemiah, whose name it bears, as appears from Ne 1:1 and throughout Nehemiah speaks of himself under the first person; and the style also is very different from that of Ezra, being plainer and easier than his. It has always had a place in the canon of Scriptures, both with Jews and Christians; and is of use to show the fulfilment of the prophecy of Zechariah, and especially of Daniel concerning the building of the wall of Jerusalem in troublesome times; to carry on the history of the Jews, and describe the state of the church in those times, what opposition was made to it, and what enemies it had, and what must be expected when any work of God is set about; it is the last of the historical books that was written, as is thought, and contains an history of the space of about twelve years, from the twentieth of Artaxerxes to the thirty second of his reign, see \Ne 1:1 2:1 13:6\.

{a} T. Bab. Succah, fol. 37. 1. & Gloss. in ib. fol. 12. 1.

\\INTRODUCTION NEHEMIAH 1\\

This chapter relates how that Nehemiah, being at Shushan in Persia, and meeting with some Jews, inquired of the state of Jerusalem, of which having a melancholy account, he betook to mourning, fasting, and prayer, Ne 1:1-4, and his prayer is recorded, Ne 1:5-11.

Nehemiah 1 Commentaries