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Bible Commentaries

Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures
Nehemiah 2

 

 

Verses 1-20

Nehemiah 2:1-8 — The King Grants Nehemiah Request to Return to Jerusalem - In Nehemiah 2:1-8 King Artaxerxes grants a request from Nehemiah to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the walls. It is interesting to note that Nehemiah does not mention the name of Jerusalem, perhaps because this city had a reputation of being rebellious towards outside dominance.

Nehemiah 2:1 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.

Nehemiah 2:1 — "And it came to pass in the month Nisan, in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes the king" - Comments - The times of the Gentiles ( Luke 21:24) was ushered into world history through the prophecies of Daniel , where Israel's dominance subsided and the Gentile nations of Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greek, and Roman empires would rise. This time began with the fall of Jerusalem by the Babylonians. Daniel 1:1 is the last biblical event in redemption history that is dated by the calendars of the kings of the nation of Israel. At this point forward, all redemptive events recorded in the Holy Scriptures will be dated around Gentile rules ( Daniel 2:1; Daniel 7:1; Daniel 8:1; Daniel 9:1; Daniel 10:1; Daniel 11:1, Ezra 1:1; Ezra 6:3; Ezra 7:1, Nehemiah 2:1, Esther 1:1-3, Luke 2:1-2; Luke 3:1-2). Even the book of Ezekiel seems to blend the Jewish calendar with the fall of Israel by the Babylonians in his collection of prophecies.

Luke 21:24, "And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled."

Comments- The Hebrew civil year began in September, coinciding with a "West-Semitic" tradition, while the Hebrew sacred year began with the month of Nisan (March/April), coinciding with the Babylonian calendar. 39] The month of Chislev (Nov-Dec) would be the ninth month of the Jewish sacred. Nehemiah heard the news of his fellow Jews from Jerusalem in November ( Nehemiah 1:1) and spoke to the king four months later in April. These two events apparently fell within the twentieth year of Artaxerxes the king.

39] I. Abrahams, "Time," in A Dictionary of the Bible Dealing with its Literature, Language and Contents Including the Biblical Theology, ed. James Hastings, vol 4 (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1911), 764-765; H. Porter, "Kislev," and "Calendar," in International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, ed. James Orr (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co, c 1915, 1939), in The Sword Project, v 1511 [CD-ROM] (Temple, AZ: CrossWire Bible Society, 1990-2008).

Nehemiah 1:1, "The words of Nehemiah the son of Hachaliah. And it came to pass in the month Chisleu, in the twentieth year, as I was in Shushan the palace,"

Nehemiah 2:1, "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."

We find a clear reference to the thirty-second year of Artaxerxes at the end of this book ( Nehemiah 13:6), so we must assume Nehemiah 1:1 refers to the twentieth year of Artaxerxes, which would have been 445 B.C. 40]

40] R. F. Youngblood, F. F. Bruce, R. K. Harrison, and Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nelson"s New Illustrated Bible Dictionary, rev. ed. (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1995), in Libronix Digital Library System, v 21c [CD-ROM] (Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp, 2000-2004), "Artaxerxes."

Nehemiah 13:6, "But in all this time was not I at Jerusalem: for in the two and thirtieth year of Artaxerxes king of Babylon came I unto the king, and after certain days obtained I leave of the king:"

Nehemiah 2:1 — "Now I had not been beforetime sad in his presence" - Comments- Nehemiah heard about the poor plight of his Jewish brethren four months earlier. Perhaps Nehemiah's mourning took this long to show itself in his countenance.

Nehemiah 2:8 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.

Nehemiah 2:8 — "And the king granted me, according to the good hand of my God upon me" - Comments- Throughout the course of the events that took place over the past few months, Nehemiah recognized the divine providence of God at work. It was a difficult time in his life, while being deeply troubles for his people, he patiently waiting for God to work things out.

Nehemiah 2:19 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?

Nehemiah 2:19Word Study on "Sanballat" - Strong says "Sanballat" was "a satrap of Samaria." PTW says the name "Sanballat" (H 5571) means, "strong."

Nehemiah 2:19 — "the Horonite" - Comments- Sanballat's designation as a Horonite means that he was from Beth Horon, the upper or lower ( Joshua 16:3; Joshua 16:5), or perhaps from Horonaim, a town in Moab ( Isaiah 15:5, Jeremiah 48:3; Jeremiah 48:5). He was the governor of Samaria as late as 408 B.C. (ISBE) 41]

41] R. Dick Wilson, "Sanballat," in International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, ed. James Orr (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co, c 1915, 1939), in The Sword Project, v 1511 [CD-ROM] (Temple, AZ: CrossWire Bible Society, 1990-2008).

Joshua 16:3, "And goeth down westward to the coast of Japhleti, unto the coast of Bethhoron the nether, and to Gezer: and the goings out thereof are at the sea."

Joshua 16:5, "And the border of the children of Ephraim according to their families was thus: even the border of their inheritance on the east side was Atarothaddar, unto Bethhoron the upper;"

Isaiah 15:5, "My heart shall cry out for Moab; his fugitives shall flee unto Zoar, an heifer of three years old: for by the mounting up of Luhith with weeping shall they go it up; for in the way of Horonaim they shall raise up a cry of destruction."

Jeremiah 48:3, "A voice of crying shall be from Horonaim, spoiling and great destruction."

Jeremiah 48:5, "For in the going up of Luhith continual weeping shall go up; for in the going down of Horonaim the enemies have heard a cry of destruction."

Nehemiah 2:20 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.

Nehemiah 2:20 — "Then answered I them, and said unto them, The God of heaven, he will prosper us" - Nehemiah had prayed for God to prosper him in his opening prayer ( Nehemiah 1:11).

Nehemiah 1:11, "O Lord, I beseech thee, let now thine ear be attentive to the prayer of thy servant, and to the prayer of thy servants, who desire to fear thy name: and prosper, I pray thee, thy servant this day, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man. For I was the king"s cupbearer."

 


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These files are copyrighted by the author, Gary Everett. Used by Permission.
No distribution beyond personal use without permission.

Bibliography Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Nehemiah 2:4". Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ghe/nehemiah-2.html. 2013.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, October 22nd, 2019
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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