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Wednesday, May 29th, 2024
the Week of Proper 3 / Ordinary 8
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Bible Commentaries
Nehemiah 2

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-20

Chapter 2

"You've never been sad in my presence before, what's wrong with you?" And so Nehemiah opened up his heart. Actually, the king had asked him a question and the king discerned. He said, "It's obviously a sorrow of heart. What's wrong?" And so Nehemiah answered:

Let the king live for ever ( Nehemiah 2:3 ):

And he told the king of the plight of his countrymen. Those that had gone back and of the news that he had received, and the heaviness of his heart because of the condition of Jerusalem, that beloved city. And so he said:

I prayed to the God of heaven. And I said unto the king ( Nehemiah 2:4-5 ),

So he's talking to the king, and then while he's talking, he throws up this prayer to God. "And I prayed to the God of heaven. And I said unto the king, 'I would like to have permission to go back for a period of time to Jerusalem myself to see what I might be able to do to help the people there.' And so the king says, 'Well, how long are you going to be gone?'" And so he gave him a specified time to return. And so the king gave unto him letters of authority and he was made the Tirshatha, which was the governor appointed by the king to go back to Jerusalem and to be governor over that area. It turned out to be a period of twelve years that he had come back. And so the king gave to him the commandment to go back and to restore and to rebuild Jerusalem, the authority, the commandment.

Now this is one of the most important dates in history, the date that the king gave the commandment to Nehemiah to restore and to rebuild Jerusalem. Because we are told in Daniel the ninth chapter that there are seventy sevens determined upon the nation Israel, and from the time of the commandment to restore and rebuild Jerusalem unto the coming of the Messiah the Prince would be seven sevens, and sixty-two sevens, or 483 years ( Daniel 9:24-25 ). So here on the fourteenth of March 445 B.C. the commandment was given to Nehemiah to restore and to rebuild Jerusalem. One of the most important dates in the history of the world because from this date it can be ascertained the date of the coming of the Messiah.

It would be 483 years. Here is the commandment given the restoration of Jerusalem, the rebuilding of the city. So just as was prophesied in the word of God, 483 years later, Babylonian years of 360-day years, Jesus came in His triumphant entry into the city of Jerusalem on April 6, 32 A.D.

Now Daniel said, "But the Messiah will be cut off and receive nothing for Himself" ( Daniel 9:26 ). And the people will be dispersed. And even as the prophecy of Daniel was so accurate, Jesus came the very day. So He was also cut off, He was crucified without receiving the kingdom and the Jews ended up in the dispersion. So this is a very important date in history.

The king granted me, [he said,] according to the good hand of the Lord upon me ( Nehemiah 2:8 ).

And so he came with some of the captains and the soldiers of the Persian army, and as he came there were a couple of fellows, Tobiah and Sanballat, who were very upset over his coming. One was a Moabite and the other was a Ammonite. The Horonite is actually from the Horon in Moab, and they were immediately antagonistic to Nehemiah because he sought the welfare of the Jews. In other words, they hated anybody who was seeking to help the Jews.

Now it is interesting and tragic that there are people today who hate the Jews and they really don't know why. And they hate anybody who loves the Jews or anybody who seeks to help the Jews.

This week in Salt Lake City we had quite a confrontation with some Palestinians because of the film, Future Survival. It was shown Sunday night and they came and they were all filled with anger and hostility because we dared to say that God's Word was being fulfilled in the return of the Jews to Israel. That God said He would bring them back into the land, and this just absolutely angered them. And there was, well, there was just a lot of shouting and accusations and all, and it was quite a scene. These Palestinians were so upset that a film would be shown that would be pro-Israel or at least give the Israeli position from a biblical standpoint.

But there are many people who have this kind of antagonism towards the Jewish people, and Tobiah and Sanballat were two. Because he sought the welfare of the Jews, they were very upset with his coming. And so Nehemiah came to Jerusalem and he just visited with them for three days, not letting anybody know what was the purpose of his trip.

And then after three days, at night after everybody had settled down, without letting anybody know, he took some of the men that had come from Persia with him, and he was riding on his animal as they were walking around the city walls as he was observing the condition of the walls, the gates. And they finally got to a place where the rubble was so thick that they just couldn't go any further. And so they came on back into the city and didn't let anybody know of their little midnight journey or junket around the city. And then Nehemiah called the leaders together and he unfolded to them his plan for the rebuilding of the city. And it involved, actually, all of the people working together--each family group taking a certain section of the wall and working on it. And so the priests were to start there at the sheep gate. And then next to them the families that would be working, on down to the various gates. And there are ten gates that are listed. And then later on, the gate of Ephraim is listed and then another gate is listed. So probably twelve gates in all. And the various families that would be working on this gate and on the wall. "

Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Nehemiah 2". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/nehemiah-2.html. 2014.
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