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Bible Commentaries
Nehemiah 2

Bullinger's Companion Bible NotesBullinger's Companion Notes

Verse 1

Nisan. The first month (Abib, Exodus 12:2 , &c), called Nisan after the Captivity. This was four months after receiving the news (see App-51 .)

the twentieth year. The "seventy sevens" of Daniel 9:24-27 begin here (454 B.C.) The "seven sevens" (Daniel 9:25 ), or forty-nine years begin here, and end in 405 B.C.; marked by the completion and dedication of the second Temple. The "threescore and two sevens" (Daniel 9:26 ), or 434 years begin (or rather, follow on) in 405 B. C, and end in A.D. 29, the year of the Cross. The last "seven "is therefore, still future. The first four of the "seven sevens" ended in 426 B. C, marked by the Decree of Cyrus, which ended the Babylonian Servitude of seventy years. See App-50 , App-57 ,and App-58 .

Artaxerxes = the great king. An appellative (like Pharaoh, Czar, &c.) used of several kings of Persia. Synonymous with Artachshast (Arta = great, and Kshatza = king, preserved in the modern "Shah"). See App-57 and App-58 . This Artaxerxes was the great king ASTYAGES (of Herodotus), and ARSAMES (of Darius Hystaspis' Inscription), the husband of Esther, and father of Cyrus. He was also the Ahasuerus of Esther 1:1 , which means "the venerable king"; and he was also the "Darius the Mede" of Ezra 6:14 and Daniel 5:31 . See App-57 and App-58 .

wine. Hebrew. yayin. See App-27 .

Verse 2

sorrow of heart. See Proverbs 15:13 .

Verse 3

Let the king live. The usual Oriental salutation.

lieth waste. Compare Nehemiah 1:3 . Impossible if Ezra with his 42,360 returned exiles were already there, and had rebuilt the temple! See notes on Nehemiah 1:2 ; Nehemiah 5:5 , and on the Chronological Structure (p. 617, with the notes on p. 618). See also note on Ezra 4:12 , p. 624.

God of heaven. See note on Nehemiah 1:5 .

Verse 6

the queen. Hebrew. ha-shegal = wife. Occurs only here and in Psalms 45:9 . Daniel 5:2 , Daniel 5:3 , Daniel 5:23 . Not a Hebrew word, but borrowed from the Akkadian sha = a bride, and gal = great. Used of a foreign queen. Here it would exactly suit "the great bride" or "foreign (Jewish) queen", Esther. (See notes on the Chronological Structure of Ezra-Nehemiah, p. 618.) Esther is introduced here (parenthetically) because of her sympathy and interest, which Nehemiah so greatly needed at this juncture, as Mordecai had needed it before (Esther 4:14 ).

sitting. Not reclining.

by = close to.

it pleased the king. The fruit of Nehemiah's prayer (Nehemiah 2:4 ).

Verse 7

governors = pashas.

Verse 8

forest = park. Hebrew. pardes. A Persian word which occurs only here, Ecclesiastes 2:5 , and Song of Solomon 4:13 , where it is rendered "orchards". Septuagint renders it "paradise", which occurs twenty-eight times: (nine times = Eden, nineteen times = garden, Hebrew. gan .)

wall. Some codices, with one early printed edition, Syriac, and Vulgate, read "walls" (plural) These walls are the main subject of Nehemiah's section of the joint book.

that I shall enter into: or, whereunto I shall come.

hand. Figure of speech Anthropopatheia. Also put by Figure of speech Metonymy for God's purpose (Acts 4:28 , Acts 4:30 ); power (1 Chronicles 29:16 ), &c.

Verse 9

captains = princes.

army = force.

Verse 10

SanbalLatin An Aramaic papyrus, recently (1909) discovered at Elephantine (in Egypt), was written by two Jews (Delaya and Shelemya) to the sons of this Sanballat, who is called the "governor of Samaria". Here ends the fourth of the ten Sedarim (or, Cycles for public reading) which commenced with Ezra 8:35 ; thus showing that the two books were and are to be regarded as one.

Tobiah the servant. Probably a freed slave.

heard. Nehemiah had come through Samaria. Compare Nehemiah 4:1-13 .

it grieved them. This is the first of six (see App-10 ) forms which the opposition took.

children = sons.

Israel. Again used of Judah. See note on Ezra 2:2 , and 1 Kings 12:17 .

Verse 12

at Jerusalem: or, for Jerusalem.

Verse 13

by night. Could Nehemiah have gone thus secretly if Ezra had 42,360 Jews there? And what need for it? Nehemiah had only a few men, and was in the midst of enemies.

the gate. Note the twelve gates (corresponding with the twelve gates of Revelation 21:21 ). See App-59 .

port = gate.

viewed = kept peering into.

which were, &c. Hebrew text so written; but to be read, with some codices and three early printed editions, "how they were broken down".

Verse 15

the brook. Hebrew. nahal, a torrent, mostly fed by rains. Not nahar, a constant river.

Verse 16

rulers. Hebrew. seganim, used of the Babylonian magistrates or prefects; occurs only in Ezra and Nehemiah.

did = was doing.

nor. Note the Figure of speech Paradiastole. App-6 .

the rest: i.e. of those who had accompanied Nehemiah.

Verse 17

the distress. How so, if the Temple was already built?

Verse 18

good work. This work was "good" because it was "prepared" by God. See Ephesians 2:10 .

Verse 19

Gesnem. Called Gashmu (Nehemiah 6:6 ), an Arab Sheik. Like the other two, an alien. In Psalms 83:6 , all three nationalities associated as the enemies of Israel.

Arabian. Descendants of Hagar. Hence Hagarenes.

they laughed, &c The second form of opposition. See note on "grieved", Nehemiah 2:10 .

Bibliographical Information
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Nehemiah 2". "Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bul/nehemiah-2.html. 1909-1922.
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