Nehemiah 2:1

Artaxerxes Sends Nehemiah to Jerusalem

1 In the month of Nisan in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was brought for him, I took the wine and gave it to the king. I had not been sad in his presence before,

Read Nehemiah 2:1 Using Other Translations

And it came to pass in the month Nisan, in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes the king, that wine was before him: and I took up the wine, and gave it unto the king. Now I had not been beforetime sad in his presence.
In the month of Nisan, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was before him, I took up the wine and gave it to the king. Now I had not been sad in his presence.
Early the following spring, in the month of Nisan, during the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes’ reign, I was serving the king his wine. I had never before appeared sad in his presence.

What does Nehemiah 2:1 mean?

John Gill's Exposition of the Bible
Nehemiah 2:1

And it came to pass in the month Nisan; in the twentieth
year of Artaxerxes
It was still but in the twentieth year of his reign; for though Nisan or March was the first month of the year with the Jews, and from whence the reigns of their kings were dated {l}; yet, with other nations, Tisri or September was the beginning of the reigns of their kings F13; so that Chisleu or November being since, see ( Nehemiah 1:1 ) , it was no more in Nisan or March than the twentieth of the said king's reign, and was three or four months after Nehemiah had first heard of the distress of his people; which time he either purposely spent in fasting and prayer on that account, or until now his turn did not come about to exercise his office, in waiting upon the king as his cupbearer: but now it was

that wine was before him;
the king; it was brought and set in a proper place, from whence it might be taken for his use:

and I took up the wine, and gave it to the king;
according to Xenophon {n}, the cupbearer with the Persians and Medes used to take the wine out of the vessels into the cup, and pour some of it into their left hand, and sup it up, that, if there was any poison in it, the king might not be harmed, and then he delivered it to him upon three fingers {o}:

now I had not been before time sad in his presence;
but always pleasant and cheerful, so that the sadness of his countenance was the more taken notice of.


FOOTNOTES:

F12 Misn. Roshhashanah, c. 1. sect. 3.
F13 T. Bab. Rashhashanah, fol. 3. 1.
F14 Cyropaedia, l. 1. c. 11.
F15 Vid. Heliodor. Ethiopic. l. 7. c. 27.
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