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Ill News from Jerusalem. Nehemiah’s Prayer
1. The words] better, ’the history.’ Some thirteen or fourteen years separate the visit of Nehemiah to Jerusalem, recorded in this book, from that of Ezra which is related in Ezra 7.
Nehemiah] Nehemiah, as stated in Nehemiah 1:11, occupied an important position at the Persian court, seems to have been a favourite with the king, and probably possessed considerable wealth (Nehemiah 5:14.). Unlike Ezra (who was of priestly family and a student), he was a layman and a man of action. His career shows that he was self-reliant (Nehemiah 2:12), energetic (chs.3, 4), shrewd (Nehemiah 6), and masterful (Nehemiah 13); but his vigour and determination were directed not to the promotion of his own interests, but to the service of his countrymen, for whom he made great sacrifices. His religious faith was strong, and his prayerfulness is repeatedly illustrated in the narrative: see Nehemiah 1:4; Nehemiah 2:4; Nehemiah 4:4, Nehemiah 4:9, etc.
The month Chisleu] i.e. November-December. In the twentieth year] i.e. of Artaxerxes Longimanus, to whom reference is made in Ezra 4:7; Ezra 7:1. The year intended is probably reckoned to begin with the month of his accession, not with the first calendar month Nisan, since the events that happened in Chisleu, the ninth month, are related before those that occurred in Nisan, Ezra 2:1. The date is 445. But some scholars regard twentieth in this chapter as an error for ’nineteenth’ (446 b.c.). Shushan] i.e. Susa, in Elam. The term palace is strictly ’fortress,’ or ’castle.’
2. Which were left, etc.] i.e. the Jews dwelling at Jerusalem.
3. The province] Judæa was now a province of the Persian empire (Ezra 5:8). The wall.. broken down] This is most naturally explained by the supposition that some recent attempt had been made to fortify Jerusalem, which had been forcibly stopped; and such an attempt seems described in Ezra 4:7-23. But some authorities suppose the allusion to be to the destruction of the walls by the Babylonians in 586, some 140 years before.
4. Prayed] Nehemiah’s prayer consists of a confession of sin, an appeal to God’s promises, and an entreaty for help in the undertaking he contemplated.
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Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Nehemiah 1". "Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 9 / Ordinary 14