Bible Commentaries

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

Nehemiah 1

Verse 1

The words. Divine revelation in writing must be made up of words (see App-47). The "words" here were written, chronologically, long before the book of Ezra. See the Structures (pp 616, 617, notes on p. 618; also App-50, App-57, and App-58).

Nehemiah = comforter of (= appointed by) Jehovah. From Nehemiah 10:1 he was one of the "princes" (Nehemiah 9:38) who signed the Solemn Covenant: a prince of Judah, for the "king"s seed" and "princes" were taken to Babylon (Daniel 1:3), according to the prophecy in 2 Kings 20:17, 2 Kings 20:18. The next who signed was Zidkijah, a son of king Jehoiakim (1 Chronicles 3:16). Hanani (Nehemiah 1:2), his brother or near kinsman (a shortened form of Hananiah, Compare Nehemiah 1:2, and Nehemiah 7:2), was another "prince", renamed Shadrach (Daniel 1:3-6), Nehemiah was the Sheshbazzar of Ezra 1:8. Five parties seen in action in this book: Nehemiah, Ezra, the People, their enemies, and the God of heaven,

Chisleu. The ninth month. See App-51.

twentieth year. See App-50. Compare Nehemiah 2:1. Forty-two years from the beginning of the Babylonian Servitude, thirty-five years from Jehoiachin"s captivity, and twenty-three years from the destruction of Jerusalem, and the beginning of the Desolations. See special note on 2 Chronicles 36:21

I was in Shushan. Like Joseph in Egypt, Obadiah in Samaria, Daniel in Babylon, and the saints in Caesar"s household (Philippians 1:4, Philippians 1:22).

was = came to be.

Shushan. He had been there about sixteen years, and was removed thither from Babylon. Excavations in 1909 by M. de Morgan, at Susa, exposed the remains of three cities. Among them, four black stone pillars, with the Code of Khammurabi (see App-15). Bricks of his palace or temple were also found. Occupied by Babylonians in 2800 B.C.

Verse 2

Hanani. Shortened form of Hananiah. Compare Nehemiah 7:2. See note above, and compare Daniel 1:3, Daniel 1:6.

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.

the Jews. Mentioned eleven times in this book (Nehemiah 1:2; Nehemiah 2:16; Nehemiah 4:1, Nehemiah 4:2, Nehemiah 4:12; Nehemiah 5:1, Nehemiah 5:8, Nehemiah 5:17; Nehemiah 6:6; Nehemiah 13:23, Nehemiah 13:24).

escaped: i.e. from the lands of their captivity. See Jeremiah 44:13, Jeremiah 44:14. Why escape if already set free (Ezra 1:3)?

Verse 3

they said: 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 Jeremiah 40:44. Only a few poor serfs there (Jeremiah 52:15, Jeremiah 52:16).

left. Not carried away or returned (Jeremiah 52:15, Jeremiah 52:16).

Province = Judah. See Ezra 5:8.

broken down. Just as left by Nebuchadnezzar (2 Kings 25:9, 2 Kings 25:10. Jeremiah 52:12-14. For the subsequent history see Jeremiah Chapters 40-44.

Verse 4

these words. Evidently the first authentic news he had heard. No wonder he was heartbroken.

prayed. Nehemiah a man of prayer. Compare Nehemiah 4:4, Nehemiah 4:5; Nehemiah 5:19; Nehemiah 6:9, Nehemiah 6:14; Nehemiah 13:14, Nehemiah 13:22, Nehemiah 13:29, Nehemiah 13:31.

God of heaven. See note on 2 Chronicles 36:23. This title peculiar to the "times of the Gentiles", when God dwells no longer "between the Cherubim", but acts as from a distance. Hebrew. Elohim. App-4and compare the title "Lord of all the earth" in Zechariah 6:5, when He again claims the land, as in Joshua 3:11, Joshua 3:13. See note on 2 Chronicles 36:23.

Verse 5

LORD = Jehovah. See App-4.

GOD. Hebrew. "El (with Art.) See App-4.

keepeth covenant. Nehemiah goes back to the language of the Pentateuch (Deuteronomy 7:9).

observe = keep. Compare Exodus 20:6; Exodus 34:6, Exodus 34:7.

Verse 6

ear. Figure of speech Anthropopatheia. App-6. Neherniah refers to Leviticus 26:40-45, and 1 Kings 8:46-52.

children = sons.

sins . . . sinned. . . sinned. Hebrew. chata, ". App-44.

I. Like Daniel, he includes himself. Compare Daniel 9:3-19.

Verse 7

Thou cominandedst. Again a reference to the Pentateuch: as being well known. See Leviticus 26:33, Leviticus 26:39-45. Deuteronomy 4:25-31; Deuteronomy 28:64; Deuteronomy 30:1-4.

Thy servant Moses. See note on first occurrence, 1 Kings 8:53.

Verse 8

If. This word is clearly implied in Hebrew Compare Deuteronomy 4:25, &c.

transgress. Hebrew. ma"al. App-44.

Verse 9

turn unto Me. National repentance was ever the one great condition of Israel"s national blessing (Deuteronomy 30:2, &c.); and is still the condition. Compare Acts 3:19-21, which, with Acts 28:17, Acts 28:23-20, was the last national call.

Verse 10

redeemed. Hebrew. padah. See note on Exodus 6:6; Exodus 13:13.

Verse 11

LORD*. Hebrew Adonai. See App-4. But it is one of the 134 alterations of the Sopherim. See App-34.

desire to fear = delight in revering.

mercy = tender mercies.

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Bibliographical Information
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Nehemiah 1". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". 1909-1922.