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Bible Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Nehemiah 2


1Artaxerxes, understanding the cause of Nehemiah's sadness, sends him with letters and commission to Jerusalem.
9Nehemiah, to the grief of the enemies, comes to Jerusalem.
12He views secretly the ruins of the walls.
17He incites the Jews to build.

Verse 1

And it came to pass in the month Nisan, in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes the king, that wine was before him: and I took up the wine, and gave it unto the king. Now I had not been beforetime sad in his presence.
Esther 3:7
the twentieth
1:1; Ezra 7:1,7
I took up
1:11; Genesis 40:11,21
Reciprocal: Nehemiah 5:14 - from the twentieth; Nehemiah 13:6 - the two; Psalm 102:17 - He will; Proverbs 12:25 - Heaviness; Daniel 9:25 - from

Verse 2

Wherefore the king said unto me, Why is thy countenance sad, seeing thou art not sick? this is nothing else but sorrow of heart. Then I was very sore afraid,
Why is thy
Genesis 40:7
Proverbs 15:13
Then I
Probably the king spoke as if he had some suspicion that Nehemiah harboured some bad design, and that his face indicated some conceived treachery, or remorse; and, indeed, the words rendered sad, and sorrow of heart, might be rendered evil, and wickedness of heart.
Reciprocal: Genesis 40:1 - the butler; 1 Kings 21:5 - Why is thy spirit; Nehemiah 7:7 - Zerubbabel; Psalm 13:2 - sorrow; Psalm 137:5 - I forget; Proverbs 12:25 - Heaviness; Ecclesiastes 7:4 - heart

Verse 3

And said unto the king, Let the king live for ever: why should not my countenance be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers' sepulchres, lieth waste, and the gates thereof are consumed with fire?
Let the king
Far from wishing ill to my master, I wish him to live for ever.
1 Kings 1:31; Daniel 2:4; 3:9; 5:10; 6:6,21
the city
1:3; Psalms 102:14; 137:6; Lamentations 2:9
the place
2 Chronicles 21:20; 28:27; 32:33
Reciprocal: Genesis 47:30 - General; Leviticus 26:31 - And I will make; Nehemiah 2:13 - the walls; Esther 4:8 - request; Esther 8:6 - the evil; Psalm 74:3 - the perpetual; Psalm 137:1 - the rivers; Psalm 137:5 - I forget; Isaiah 5:5 - I will take; Isaiah 44:26 - and I will; Jeremiah 8:21 - the hurt; Jeremiah 51:50 - remember

Verse 4

Then the king said unto me, For what dost thou make request? So I prayed to the God of heaven.
For what
1 Kings 3:5; Esther 5:3,6; 7:2; Mark 10:51
So I prayed
1:4,11; 2 Samuel 15:31; Proverbs 3:6; Philippians 4:6
Reciprocal: Genesis 24:12 - I pray; Genesis 24:45 - speaking; Genesis 39:4 - Joseph; 1 Samuel 1:13 - spake; 1 Kings 8:50 - and give them; Nehemiah 2:6 - So it pleased; Nehemiah 2:20 - The God; Proverbs 21:1 - The king's; Proverbs 22:11 - the king; Isaiah 49:17 - children; Jeremiah 29:12 - General; Jeremiah 40:5 - or go; Daniel 1:9 - General; Jonah 1:9 - the God; Acts 23:19 - What; Philippians 2:13 - to will; Revelation 16:11 - the God

Verse 5

And I said unto the king, If it please the king, and if thy servant have found favour in thy sight, that thou wouldest send me unto Judah, unto the city of my fathers' sepulchres, that I may build it.
If it please
Ezra 5:17; Esther 1:19; 5:8; 7:3; 8:5
and if thy
Ruth 2:13; 2 Samuel 14:22; Proverbs 3:4
Reciprocal: Genesis 30:27 - favour; Genesis 39:4 - Joseph; Genesis 47:30 - General; Nehemiah 13:6 - after certain days; Isaiah 58:12 - build

Verse 6

And the king said unto me, (the queen also sitting by him,) For how long shall thy journey be? and when wilt thou return? So it pleased the king to send me; and I set him a time.
the queen
Heb. the wife. It was probably Esther who was present at this time, and who seconded Nehemiah's request.
So it pleased
4; 1:11; Isaiah 58:12; 61:4; 65:24
I set him a time
It is probable that this time was no more than six months, or a year; after which he either returned, or had his leave of absence lengthened, as we find he was twelve years governor of the Jews.
5:14; 13:6
Reciprocal: Isaiah 49:23 - kings

Verse 7

Moreover I said unto the king, If it please the king, let letters be given me to the governors beyond the river, that they may convey me over till I come into Judah;
let letters
9; Ezra 6:6; 7:21
that they may
Ezra 8:22
Reciprocal: Ezra 5:3 - Tatnai; Isaiah 60:10 - their kings

Verse 8

And a letter unto Asaph the keeper of the king's forest, that he may give me timber to make beams for the gates of the palace which appertained to the house, and for the wall of the city, and for the house that I shall enter into. And the king granted me, according to the good hand of my God upon me.
the wall
17; 3:1-32
the house
3:7; 7:2
the king
18; Genesis 32:28; Ezra 5:5; 6:22; 7:6,9,27,28; Proverbs 21:1; Isaiah 66:14; Daniel 1:9; Acts 7:10; 26:22; 2 Corinthians 8:16
Reciprocal: Ezra 8:18 - by the good hand; Nehemiah 1:11 - grant; Nehemiah 3:3 - the beams; Esther 2:9 - she obtained; Psalm 68:29 - shall; Micah 7:11 - shall; Acts 11:21 - the hand

Verse 9

Then I came to the governors beyond the river, and gave them the king's letters. Now the king had sent captains of the army and horsemen with me.
to the governors
Now the
Ezra 8:22
Reciprocal: Jeremiah 30:21 - nobles

Verse 10

When Sanballat the Horonite, and Tobiah the servant, the Ammonite, heard of it, it grieved them exceedingly that there was come a man to seek the welfare of the children of Israel.
19; 4:1-3,7; 6:1
Isaiah 15:5; Jeremiah 48:5,34
the servant
Proverbs 30:22; Ecclesiastes 10:7
the Ammonite
it grieved
Numbers 22:3,4; Psalms 112:10; 122:6-9; Proverbs 27:4; Ezekiel 25:6-8; Micah 7:9,10,16,17; Acts 4:2; 5:24; 19:26,27
there was come
Ezra 4:4-23
Reciprocal: Nehemiah 4:3 - Tobiah; Nehemiah 6:16 - when all our enemies; Esther 10:3 - seeking; Psalm 122:9 - I will seek; Jeremiah 30:21 - nobles; Jeremiah 41:10 - to the

Verse 11

So I came to Jerusalem, and was there three days.
Ezra 8:32

Verse 12

And I arose in the night, I and some few men with me; neither told I any man what my God had put in my heart to do at Jerusalem: neither was there any beast with me, save the beast that I rode upon.
I arose
Genesis 32:22-24; Joshua 10:9; Judges 6:27; 9:32; Matthew 2:14
Ecclesiastes 3:7; Amos 5:13; Micah 7:5; Matthew 10:16
my God
This pious and noble-minded man attributes every thing to God. If he purposed any good, it was because God put it into his heart; if he did or received any good, it was because the good hand of his God was upon him; if he expected any good, it was because he earnestly prayed God to remember him for good.
Ezra 7:27; Psalms 51:18; 122:6; Jeremiah 31:33; 32:40; 2 Corinthians 8:16; James 1:16,17; Revelation 17:17
Reciprocal: Exodus 35:34 - he hath; Ezra 1:5 - whose spirit; Ezra 7:6 - according to; Nehemiah 2:16 - the rulers; Ecclesiastes 9:10 - thy hand; John 13:2 - put; Acts 23:24 - beasts

Verse 13

And I went out by night by the gate of the valley, even before the dragon well, and to the dung port, and viewed the walls of Jerusalem, which were broken down, and the gates thereof were consumed with fire.
the gate
15; 3:13; 2 Chronicles 26:9
the dung port
This was the gate on the eastern side of the city, through which the filth was carried to the brook Kidron and valley of Hinnom.
3:13,14; 12:31
the walls
3,17; 1:3; Jeremiah 5:10
Reciprocal: Psalm 74:3 - the perpetual

Verse 14

Then I went on to the gate of the fountain, and to the king's pool: but there was no place for the beast that was under me to pass.
the gate of the fountain
The gate leading either to the fountain of Siloam, on the east of the city, or to that of Gihon, on the west.
3:15; 2 Kings 18:17; 20:20; 2 Chronicles 32:30
the king's pool
Probably the aqueduct made by Hezekiah to bring the waters of Gihon to the city of David.
Reciprocal: Nehemiah 12:37 - the fountain gate; Ecclesiastes 2:6 - pools

Verse 15

Then went I up in the night by the brook, and viewed the wall, and turned back, and entered by the gate of the valley, and so returned.
the brook
The brook Kidron.
2 Samuel 15:23; Jeremiah 31:38-40; John 18:1
the gate
The gate leading to the valley of Jehoshaphat, east of the city, through which the brook Kidron flows. It was by this gate he went out; so that he went round the whole of the city, and entered by the same gate.

Verse 16

And the rulers knew not whither I went, or what I did; neither had I as yet told it to the Jews, nor to the priests, nor to the nobles, nor to the rulers, nor to the rest that did the work.
the rulers
Reciprocal: Exodus 24:11 - nobles

Verse 17

Then said I unto them, Ye see the distress that we are in, how Jerusalem lieth waste, and the gates thereof are burned with fire: come, and let us build up the wall of Jerusalem, that we be no more a reproach.
Ye see
Lamentations 2:2,8,9; 3:51
Ezra 5:1,2; 10:2-4; Isaiah 35:3,4
a reproach
1:3; 1 Samuel 11:2; Psalms 44:13; 79:4,12; 89:50,51; Jeremiah 24:9; Lamentations 3:45,46; Ezekiel 5:14; 22:4,5
Reciprocal: Leviticus 26:31 - And I will make; Nehemiah 2:8 - the wall; Nehemiah 2:13 - the walls; Psalm 51:18 - build; Psalm 102:14 - General; Isaiah 49:17 - children; Isaiah 58:12 - build; Jeremiah 31:38 - that; Micah 7:11 - the day

Verse 18

Then I told them of the hand of my God which was good upon me; as also the king's words that he had spoken unto me. And they said, Let us rise up and build. So they strengthened their hands for this good work.
the hand
So they strengthened
2 Samuel 2:7; 1 Chronicles 11:10; 19:13; 2 Chronicles 32:5; Ezra 6:22; Haggai 1:13,14; Ephesians 6:10; Philippians 2:13
Reciprocal: Genesis 48:2 - strengthened; 1 Samuel 23:16 - strengthened; Ezra 7:6 - according to; Ezra 7:9 - began he to go up; Matthew 26:10 - a good; Acts 11:21 - the hand; 2 Timothy 3:17 - thoroughly furnished

Verse 19

But when Sanballat the Horonite, and Tobiah the servant, the Ammonite, and Geshem the Arabian, heard it, they laughed us to scorn, and despised us, and said, What is this thing that ye do? will ye rebel against the king?
10; 6:1,2
Job 30:1; Psalms 44:13,14; 79:4; 80:6; Jeremiah 20:8; Mark 5:40; Hebrews 11:36
will ye rebel
6:6; Ezra 4:15,16; Luke 23:2; John 19:12; Acts 24:5
Reciprocal: 1 Samuel 17:10 - I defy; 2 Chronicles 30:10 - they laughed; Nehemiah 4:1 - Sanballat; Nehemiah 4:3 - Tobiah; Nehemiah 4:7 - Sanballat; Nehemiah 13:1 - Moabite; Nehemiah 13:28 - Sanballat; Isaiah 36:5 - that; Jeremiah 41:10 - to the; Jeremiah 49:1 - their king; Lamentations 5:8 - Servants; Amos 1:13 - and for

Verse 20

Then answered I them, and said unto them, The God of heaven, he will prosper us; therefore we his servants will arise and build: but ye have no portion, nor right, nor memorial, in Jerusalem.
The God
4; 2 Chronicles 26:5; Psalms 20:5; 35:27; 102:13,14; 122:6; Ecclesiastes 7:18
ye have no
Ezra 4:3; Acts 8:21
Exodus 28:29; Leviticus 2:2; 24:7; Numbers 10:10; Isaiah 56:5; Zechariah 6:14; Acts 10:4,31; Nehemiah:; and here we find that the people were of one heart with Nehemiah. Our prayers must be seconded with our serious endeavours, or else we mock God. Nearly four months had passed, namely, from Chisleu to Nisan (November to March), before Nehemiah made his application to the king for leave to go to Jerusalem; because:; to the throne of grace we never come unseasonably. Reciprocal: Genesis 39:3 - prosper; Exodus 39:7 - a memorial; Leviticus 26:9 - for I; Joshua 22:25 - ye have; Isaiah 36:5 - that

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Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Nehemiah 2". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge".