E H1 1:1-2:20. Desolation. H1 3:1-6:19. Reparation.
H1 J 1:1. Date. K L 1:2,3. The desolations. Reported. M h 1:4-11-. Prayer. i 1:-11. Office. King's cup-bearer. J 2:1-. Date. K M i 2:-1-4-. Office. King's cup-bearer. h 2:-4. Prayer. L 2:5-20. The desolations. Repeated.
November 455 B.C.
1 The words (Divine revelation in writing must be made up of words. The "words" here were written, chronologically, long before the book of Ezra) of Nehemiah (= comforter of [= appointed by] Yehovah. From 10:1 he was one of the "princes" [9:38] who signed the Solomon Covenant: a prince of Judah, for the "kings seed" and "princes" were taken to Babylon [Dan. 1:3], according to the prophecy in 2 Kings 20:17,18. The next who signed was Zidkijah, a son of King Jehoiakim [1 Chron. 3:16]. Hanani [v.3], his brother or near kinsman [a shortened form of Hananiah, cp. v.2, and 7:2], was another "prince", renamed Shadrach [Dan. 1:3-6], Nehemiah was the Sheshbazzar of Ezra 1:8. 5 parties seen in action in this book: Nehemiah, Ezra, the People, their enemies, and the God of heaven) the son of Hachaliah. And it came to pass in the month Chisleu (the 9th month), in the twentieth year (42 years from the beginning of the Babylonian Servitude, 35 years from Jehoiachin's captivity, and 23 years from the destruction of Jerusalem, and the beginning of the Desolation), as I came to be in Shushan the palace, (Like Joseph in Egypt, Obadiah in Samaria, Daniel in Babylon, and the saints in Cǽsar's household [Phil. 4:22]. He had been there about 16 years, was removed from that place from Babylon. Excavations in 1909 by M. de Morgan, at Susa, exposed the remains of 3 cities. Among them, 4 black stone pillars, with the Code of Khammrabi. Bricks of his palace and temple were also found. Occupied by Babylonians in 2800 B.C.)
2 That Hanani (shortened form of Hananiah. Cp. 7:2. Cp. Dan. 1:3,6), one of my brethren, came, he and certain men of Judah; and I asked (not about Ezra, and the 42,360 who are supposed to have been already in the Province of Judah; this Nehemiah would surely have done if they had really been there.) them concerning the Jews (mentioned 11 times in this book) that had escaped (i.e. from the lands of their captivity. See Jer. 44:13,14. Why escape if already set free [Ezra 1:3]?), which were left of the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem.
3 And they said to me (that which could not have been said if Ezra and his thousands had been already there), "The remnant (for the history of this "remnant" see Jer. 40-44. Only a few poor serfs there [Jer. 52:15,16]) that are left (not carried away or returned) of the captivity there in the Province (= Judah. See Ezra 5:8) are in great affliction and reproach: the wall of Jerusalem also is broken down (just as left by Nebuchadnezzar [2 Kings 25:9,10]. For the subsequent history see Jer. 40-44), and the gates thereof are burned with fire."
h k 4-6-. Regard. l -6,7. Confession. People's sin. m 8,9. Remembrance. l 10. Confession. Yehovah's goodness. k 11-. Regard.
4 And it came to pass, when I heard these words (evidently the 1st authentic news he had heard. No wonder he was heartbroken), that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed (Nehemiah a man of prayer) before the God (Elohim) of heaven, (See 2 Chron. 36:23. This tittle peculiar to the "time of the Gentiles", when God dwells no longer "between the Cherubim", but acts from a distance. Cp. the tittle "Lord of all the earth" in Zech. 6:5, when He again claims the land, as in Josh. 3:11,13. See 2 Chron. 36:23)
5 And said, "I beseech You, O LORD (Yahaveh) God ('El) of heaven, the great and terrible God, that keeps covenant (Nehemiah goes back to the language of the Pentateuch [Deut. 7:9]) and mercy for them that love Him and keep His commandments: (Cp. Ex. 20:6; 34:6,7)
6 Let Your ear now be attentive (Nehemiah refers to Lev. 26:40-45, and 1 Kings 8:46-52), and Your eyes open, that You may hear the prayer of Your servant, which I pray before you now, day and night, for the sons of Israel your servants,
and confess the sins of the sons of Israel, which we have sinned against You: both I (like Daniel, he includes himself. Cp. Dan. 9:3-19. ) and my father's house have sinned.
7 We have dealt very corruptly against You, and have not kept the commandments, nor the statutes, nor the judgments, which You commanded (again a reference to the Pentateuch: as being well known. See Lev. 26:33,39-45. Deut. 4:25-31; 28:64; 30:1-4) Your servant Moses. (See 1 Kings 8:53)
8 Remember, I beseech You, the word that You commanded Your servant Moses, saying, 'If (this word is clearly implied in Heb. Cp. Deut. 4:24, &c.) you transgress, I will scatter you abroad among the nations:
9 But if you turn to Me (National repentance was ever the one great condition of Israel's nation blessing [Deut. 30:2, &c.]; and still is the condition. Cp. Acts 3:19-21, which, with Acts 28:17,23-29, was the last national call), 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 there, and will bring them to the place that I have chosen to set My name there.'
10 Now these are Your servants and Your People, whom You have redeemed (see Ex. 6:6; 13:13) by Your great power, and by Your strong hand.
11 O LORD (Adonai), I beseech You, let now Your ear be attentive to the prayer of Your servant, and to the prayer of Your servants, who delight in revering Your name: and prosper, I pray You, Your servant this day, and grant him tender mercies in the sight of this man."
For I was the king's cup-bearer.