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Nehemiah's sadness could not wholly be hidden. He had not been habitually a sad man, as he himself declares; but the sorrow of his nation manifested itself as he stood before the king.
It has been suggested that this was part of his plan. Such an interpretation strains the narrative, for Nehemiah confessed that when the king detected signs of mourning he was fled with fear. Yet through fear a splendid courage manifested itself as he told the king the cause of his grief, and boldly asked to be allowed to go up and help his brethren. The secret of the courage that mastered the fear appears in his statement, "I prayed to the God of heaven, and I said to the king."
His prayer being answered, he took his departure for Jerusalem. His sagacity is displayed through all the subsequent story. It appeared first on his way to Jerusalem. He arrived quietly, and not trusting to the reports which had reached him, he made private investigation. Having ascertained the true state of affairs, he gathered the elders together and called them to arise and build. Opposition was displayed at once by surrounding enemies, and with strong determination Nehemiah made it perfectly clear that no co-operation would be permitted with those who derided the effort. It is impossible to read this story without learning how the work of God should be prosecuted under difficult circumstances.
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Morgan, G. Campbell. "Commentary on Nehemiah 2". "Morgan's Exposition on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the Sixth Week after Easter