Nehemiah 2

1 And it cometh to pass, in the month of Nisan, the twentieth year of Artaxerxes the king, wine [is] before him, and I lift up the wine, and give to the king, and I had not been sad before him;
2 and the king saith to me, `Wherefore [is] thy face sad, and thou not sick? this is nothing except sadness of heart;' and I fear very much,
3 and say to the king, `Let the king to the age live! wherefore should not my face be sad, when the city, the place of the graves of my fathers, [is] a waste, and its gates have been consumed with fire?'
4 And the king saith to me, `For what art thou seeking?' and I pray unto the God of the heavens,
5 and say to the king, `If to the king [it be] good, and if thy servant be pleasing before thee, that thou send me unto Judah, unto the city of the graves of my fathers, and I built it.'
6 And the king saith to me (and the queen is sitting near him), `How long is thy journey? and when dost thou return?' and it is good before the king, and he sendeth me away, and I set to him a time.
7 And I say to the king, `If to the king [it be] good, letters let be given to me for the governors beyond the River, that they let me pass over till that I come in unto Judah:
8 and a letter unto Asaph, keeper of the paradise that the king hath, that he give to me trees for beams [for] the gates of the palace that the house hath, and for the wall of the city, and for the house into which I enter;' and the king giveth to me, according to the good hand of my God upon me.
9 And I come in unto the governors beyond the River, and give to them the letters of the king; and the king sendeth with me heads of a force, and horsemen;
10 and Sanballat the Horonite heareth, and Tobiah the servant, the Ammonite, and it is evil to them -- a great evil -- that a man hath come in to seek good for the sons of Israel.
11 And I come in unto Jerusalem, and I am there three days,
12 and I rise by night, I and a few men with me, and have not declared to a man what my God is giving unto my heart to do for Jerusalem, and there is no beast with me except the beast on which I am riding.
13 And I go out through the gate of the valley by night, and unto the front of the fountain of the dragon, and unto the gate of the dunghill, and I am measuring about the walls of Jerusalem, that are broken down, and its gates consumed with fire.
14 And I pass over unto the gate of the fountain, and unto the pool of the king, and there is no place for the beast under me to pass over,
15 and I am going up through the brook by night, and am measuring about the wall, and turn back, and come in through the gate of the valley, and turn back.
16 And the prefects have not known whither I have gone, and what I am doing; and to the Jews, and to the priests, and to the freemen, and to the prefects, and to the rest of those doing the work, hitherto I have not declared [it];
17 and I say unto them, `Ye are seeing the evil that we are in, in that Jerusalem [is] waste, and its gates have been burnt with fire; come and we build the wall of Jerusalem, and we are not any more a reproach.'
18 And I declare to them the hand of my God that is good upon me, and also the words of the king that he said to me, and they say, `Let us rise, and we have built;' and they strengthen their hands for good.
19 And Sanballat the Horonite heareth, and Tobiah the servant, the Ammonite, and Geshem the Arabian, and they mock at us, and despise us, and say, `What [is] this thing that ye are doing? against the king are ye rebelling?'
20 And I return them word, and say to them, `The God of the heavens -- He doth give prosperity to us, and we His servants rise and have built; and to you there is no portion, and right, and memorial in Jerusalem.'

Nehemiah 2 Commentary

Chapter 2

Nehemiah's request to the king. (1-8) Nehemiah comes to Jerusalem. (9-18) The opposition of the adversaries. (19,20)

Verses 1-8 Our prayers must be seconded with serious endeavours, else we mock God. We are not limited to certain moments in our addresses to the King of kings, but have liberty to go to him at all times; approaches to the throne of grace are never out of season. But the sense of God's displeasure and the afflictions of his people, are causes of sorrow to the children of God, under which no earthly delights can comfort. The king encouraged Nehemiah to tell his mind. This gave him boldness to speak; much more may the invitation Christ has given us to pray, and the promise that we shall speed, encourage us to come boldly to the throne of grace. Nehemiah prayed to the God of heaven, as infinitely above even this mighty monarch. He lifted up his heart to that God who understands the language of the heart. Nor should we ever engage in any pursuit in which it would be wrong for us thus to seek and expect the Divine direction, assistance, and blessing. There was an immediate answer to his prayer; for the seed of Jacob never sought the God of Jacob in vain.

Verses 9-18 When Nehemiah had considered the matter, he told the Jews that God had put it into his heart to build the wall of Jerusalem. He does not undertake to do it without them. By stirring up ourselves and one another to that which is good, we strengthen ourselves and one another for it. We are weak in our duty, when we are cold and careless.

Verses 19-20 The enmity of the serpent's seed against the cause of Christ is confined to no age or nation. The application to ourselves is plain. The church of God asks for our help. Is it not desolate, and exposed to assaults? Does the consideration of its low estate cause you any grief? Let not business, pleasure, or the support of a party so engage attention, as that Zion and her welfare shall be nothing to you.

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO NEHEMIAH 2

Nehemiah being sorrowful in the king's presence, the reason of it was asked by the king, which he declared, and then took the opportunity to request of the king that he might be sent to Jerusalem to rebuild it, which was granted him, Ne 2:1-8, upon which he set out, and came to Jerusalem, to the great grief of the enemies of Israel, Ne 2:9-11 and after he had been three days in Jerusalem, he privately took a survey of it, to see what condition it was in, unknown to the rulers there, Ne 2:12-16, whom he afterwards exhorted to rise up and build the wall of the city, which they immediately set about, Ne 2:17,18 not regarding the scoffs and taunts of their enemies, Ne 2:19,20.

Nehemiah 2 Commentaries