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Bible Commentaries

John Trapp Complete Commentary
Nehemiah 2

 

 

Verse 1

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.

Ver. 1. And it came to pass in the month Nisan] Time and place is to be registered of special mercies received. "This shall be written for the generation to come: and the people which shall be created shall praise the Lord," Psalms 102:18.

In the twentieth year of Artaxerxes] Surnamed Longhand, as our Edward I was called Longshanks, and another Longespee, or Longsword. This Longhand is renowned for the fairest among men in that age, Mακροχειρ, Omnium hominum puleherrimus (Aemil. Prob.); of all men most handsome; and no wonder, if he were (as is generally thought) the son of that fairest Esther.

That wine was before him] There was a feast, as Nehemiah 2:6. Not by chance, but by God’s providence; who of small occasions worketh greatest matters many times, as he put small thoughts into the heart of Ahasuerus for great purposes, Esther 6:1.

And I took up the wine, &c.] As Esther was come to the kingdom, so Nehemiah to this office, for such a time as this, Esther 4:14. Though he were a prisoner, a stranger, one of another religion, yet is he the king’s cupbearer and taster; and once of great trust and credit. This was a strange work of God, to cause heathen princes thus to favour the religion that they knew not, and to defend that people which their subjects hated.

Now I had not been beforetime sad in his presence] Princes are usually set upon the merry pin; and all devices are used, by jesters and otherwise, to make them merry; no mourner might be seen in Ahasuerus’s court, Esther 4:4. But good Nehemiah had been, for certain months’ time, afflicting his soul and macerating his body, as in the former chapter: hence his present sadness, which the king (being a wise man and a loving master) soon observed.


Verse 2

Nehemiah 2:2 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,

Ver. 2. Wherefore the king said unto me, Why is thy countenance sad?] Some would have chided him, and bid him be packing, for they liked not his looks, there might be treason hatching in his heart; he was a man of an ill aspect. But love thinks no evil.

Seeing thou art not sick?] Sickness will cause sadness in the best. Those stoics that said a wise man must be merry, though sick, when sickness came, were convinced, se magnificentius locutos esse quam verius, that they spake rather bravely than truly. And therefore Cicero to a merry life requireth three things: 1. To enjoy health. 2. To possess honour. 3. Not to suffer necessity. Faith in Christ is more to the purpose than any or all of these.

This is nothing else but sorrow of heart] The heart commonly sitteth in the conntenance, and there showeth how it stands affected. Momus needeth not carp at man’s make, and wish a window in his breast, that his thoughts might be seen; for, "a merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of heart the spirit is broken," Proverbs 15:13. The Hebrews say that a man’s inside is turned out and discovered, in oculis, in loculis, in poculis, in his eyes, purse, and cup.

Then I was very sore afraid] Grieved before, now afraid. Thus, aliud ex alio malum: fluctus fluctum trudit, One sorrow followeth another, and a Christian’s faith and patience is continually exercised. But in the multitude of Nehemiah’s perplexed thoughts within him, God’s comforts refreshed his soul, Psalms 94:19. He casts his suit or his burden upon the Lord, Psalms 55:22, and doubteth not but he will effect his desire.


Verse 3

Nehemiah 2:3 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?

Ver. 3. And I said unto the king] After he had pulled up his best heart, and recovered his spirits, he declareth unto the king the cause of his sadness. How ready should our tongues be to lay open our cares to the God of all comfort, when we see Nehemiah so quick in the expressions of his sorrow to an uncertain ear.

Let the king live for ever] i.e. Very long. Let him not suspect, by my sadness, that I have any evil intent or treasonable design against him; for I heartily wish his welfare. It was not court holy water (as they call it) wherewith he here besprinkles his prince; it was not counterfeit courtesy; such as was that of Squier the traitor, A.D. 1597, sent by Walpole the Jesuit, to poison the pummel of Queen Elizabeth’s saddle, when she was to ride abroad; which also he did (but without effect), saying cheerfully at the same time, God save the Queen. Saluta libenter greet gladly, is by many practised, from the teeth outward; but by Nehemiah, heartily.

Why should not my countenance be sad?] In time of common calamities there is just cause of a general sadness, "should we then make mirth?" Ezekiel 21:10. The Romans severely punished one that showed himself out of a window with a garland on his head in the time of the Punic war, when it went ill with the commonwealth. Justinus, the good emperor of Constantinople, took the downfall of the city of Antioch by an earthquake so much to heart, that it caused him a grievous fit of sickness, A.D. 527. When Pope Clement and his cardinals were imprisoned by the duke of Bourbon’s men in St Angelo, Caesar in Spain forbade all interludes to be played, &c. In France, the duke of Bourbon was condemned of treason, his name and memorial were accursed, his arms pulled down, his lands and goods confiscated. In England, King Henry was extremely displeased. Cardinal Wolsey wept tenderly, and emptied the land of 288,000 pounds to relieve and ransom the distressed pope.

When the city, the place of my fathers’ sepalchres] A good argument to a heathen, who set great store by (as now the Papists keep great stir about) their burial places; as if one place were holier than another for that purpose: a mere device to pick poor men’s purses.

And the gates thereof are consumed with fire] The Jews at this day, when they build a house, they are, say the Rabbis, to leave one part of it unfinished, and lying rude, in remembrance that Jerusalem and the temple are, at present, desolate (Hist. of Rites of Jews, by Leo Moden.). At least, they use to leave about a yard square of the house unplastered, on which they write in great letters that of the Psalmist, If I forget Jerusalem, then let my right hand forget her cunning, Psalms 137:5, or else these words, Zecher Lechorbon, The memory of the desolation.


Verse 4

Nehemiah 2:4 Then the king said unto me, For what dost thou make request? So I prayed to the God of heaven.

Ver. 4. Then the king said unto me] Some think that Nehemiah looked thus sad before the king on purpose, to make way to this his request.

For what dost thou make request?] Not for any other honour or great office about the court or in the country; not for any private friend, or the like, but the good of the Church. Thus Nebridius, in Jerome, though a courtier and nephew to the empress, yet never made suit but for the relief of the poor afflicted. Thus Terence, that noble general under Valens, the emperor, being bidden to ask what he would, asked nothing but that the Church might be rid of Arians. And when the emperor, being himself an Arian, tore his petition, he said he would never ask anything for himself if he might not prevail for the Church (Theodoret).

So I prayed to the God of heaven] Darting up an ejaculation, a sudden and secret desire to God, to order and speed his petition. Begin all with prayer, and then expect a blessing. Call in the Divine help, if it be but by darting out our desires to God. Thus Moses cried to God, yet said nothing, Exodus 14:15. Hannah was not heard, and yet she prayed. Austin reports the custom of the Egyptian Churches, to pray frequently and fervently, but briefly, and by way of ejaculation, ne fervor languesceret, lest their heat should abate, Crebras habere orationes, sed brevissimas et raptim eiaculatas.


Verse 5

Nehemiah 2:5 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.

Ver. 5. If it please the king] Silken words must be given to kings, as the mother of Darius said ( η διστα, η ηκιστα); neither must they be rudely and roughly dealt with, as Joab dealt with David, 2 Samuel 19:5, who, therefore, could never well brook him afterward, but set another in his place.

And if thy servant have found favour] Pellican observeth here, that Nehemiah was a great favourite of this king’s; as appeared in that having so many nobles, he chose him to this office, rather than any of them. He, therefore, pleads it as a pledge of further favour; so may we with God, as being no small favourites in the beloved one, Ephesians 1:5.

That thou wouldest send me unto Judah] Not only give me leave to go, but also send me with a commission to be governor. This was a bold request, but modestly proposed, and easily obtained. The king is not he that can deny you anything, Jeremiah 38:5. Love is liberal, charity is no churl.


Verse 6

Nehemiah 2:6 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.

Ver. 6. And the king said unto me] He yields for the thing, only indents for the time; as being loth to deny Nehemiah his suit, and yet as loth to forego so faithful a servant. Ipse aspectus viri boni delectat (Seneca).

The queen also sitting by him] And assisting his cause likely. Some think this was Esther, the queen mother. But the Hebrew word here is, wife: now the kings of Persia were noted for uxorious.

For how long, &c.] The departure of a dear friend is so grievous, that death itself is called by that name.

So it pleased the king to send me] As a governor, Nehemiah 5:14. This was the fruit of prayer, and, therefore, so much the sweeter.

And I set him a time] sc. Twelve years, Nehemiah 5:14. But more probably a shorter time at first.


Verse 7

Nehemiah 2:7 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;

Ver. 7. Moreover I said unto the king] He taketh further boldness upon the former encouragement; so may we with Almighty God, the Sun of our righteousness, the Sea of our salvation. Conclude as she did, A company comes. God never left bating till Abraham left begging.

Let letters be given me to the governors] Those nearest neighbours, but greatest enemies.

That they may convey me over] He committed himself to God, and yet petitions the king for a convoy. In all our enterprises God is so to be trusted as if we had used no means; and yet the means is so to be used as if we had no God to trust in.


Verse 8

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.

Ver. 8. Keeper of the king’s forest] Heb. Paradise; probably so called for the pleasantness of it. Tho French Protestants called their temple or church at Lyons, Paradise, David’s delight, Psalms 27:1-14, Psalms 84:1-12.

Of the palace that appertained to the house] i.e., to the Temple, which is called the house, by an excellency; as the Scriptures are called the Bible, that is, the Book, as being the only best book, in comparison whereof all other books in the world are no better than waste paper.

And for the house that I shall enter into] i.e., A dwelling house for myself, when once the public is served. Junius understands it of a common hall or shire house, wherein he might sit and judge causes brought before him.

And the king granted me] It was but ask and have, and so it is between God and his people. When there was a speech among some holy men, what was the best trade? one answered, beggary; it is the hardest and richest trade. Common beggary is indeed the poorest and easiest; but prayer he meant. A courtier gets more by one suit oft than a tradesman or merchant haply with twenty years’ labour; so doth a faithful prayer, &c.

According to the good hand] He calleth him his God, as if he loved or cared more for him than for the rest of the world. It is the property of true faith, ιδιοποιεισθαι, to make all its own that it can lay hold upon. {See Trapp on "Ezra 7:6"}


Verse 9

Nehemiah 2:9 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.

Ver. 9. Then I came to the governors] Josephus saith that the next day he took his journey and delivered his letters to Saddeus, governor of Syria, Phoenicia, and Samaria. A strange example, saith one, to see a courtier leave that wealth, ease, and authority that he was in, and go dwell so far from court in an old, torn, and decayed city, among a rude poor people, where be should not live quietly, but toil and drudge like a day labourer, in dread and danger of his life. But this is the case of earnest and zealous men in religion, &c.

Now the king had sent captains] This was more than Nehemiah had desired; and as much as he could have done for the greatest lord in the land. God is likewise usually better to his people than their prayers; and when they ask but one talent, he, Naaman like, will force them to take two.


Verse 10

Nehemiah 2:10 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.

10. When Sanballat the Horonite] That is, the Moabite, Isaiah 15:4, Jeremiah 48:3; Jeremiah 48:5; Jeremiah 48:34. His name signifieth, saith one, a pure enemy; he was come of that spiteful people, who were anciently irked because of Israel, Numbers 22:3-4, or did inwardly fret and vex at them, as Exodus 1:12, who yet were allied unto them, and did them no harm in their passage by them, yea, had done them good by the slaughter of the Amorites, their encroaching neighbours.

And Tobiah the servant] A servant or bondslave once he had been, though now a Toparch, a lieutenant to the king of Persia. Now such are most troublesome, Proverbs 30:22.

Asperlus nihil est humili, cum surgit in altum.

Aφορητος εστιν ευτυχων μαστιγιας.

Heard it] As they might soon do by means of their wives, who were Jewesses. And the Jews to this day are generally found the most nimble and mercurial wits in the world. Every vizier and bashaw of state among the Turks useth to keep a Jew of his private counsel; whose malice, wit, and experience of Christendom, with their continual intelligence, is thought to advise most of that mischief which the Turk puts in execution against us.

It grieved them exceedingly] Heb. It seemed to them an evil, a great evil; it displeased them sore, and vexed them at the very heart, such was their spleen and spite. Envy is a deadly mischief; and because it cannot feed upon other men’s hearts, it feedeth upon its own, drinking up the most part of its own venom. The envious man is not like the maid in Avicen, who, feeding upon poison, was herself healthy, yet infected others with her venomous breath; but like the serpent Porphyrius, which is full of poison, but, wanting teeth, hurteth none but himself; or as the hill Aetna, &c.

That there was come a man to seek the welfare, &c.] This they looked upon with an evil eye, and were vexed, Invidia Siculi, &c. Who can stand before envy? Proverbs 27:4. It espieth with great grief the smallest things the good man doth or hath, and is, therefore, absolutely the best thing to clear the eyesight, said Actius Sincerus, a nobleman, to King Frederick.


Verse 11

Nehemiah 2:11 So I came to Jerusalem, and was there three days.

Ver. 11. So I came to Jerusalem] Thither God brought him, as on eagles’ wings, maugre the malice of his enemies. The Jews had great reason to rejoice, and to welcome him with great solemnity; which yet they did not, for aught we read; but that he taketh not for any discouragement; his reward was with God. He was of another spirit than his countrymen, who were all for their own ends and interests, and little cared for the public.

And was there three days] Resting his body, Quod caret alterna requie (Ovid). {See Trapp on "Ezra 8:32"} but casting about in his mind how best to effcct that he came for, and to persuade with others to join with him. And now he found that he was come from the court to the cart, from a pleasant life to a careful and cumbersome.


Verse 12

Nehemiah 2:12 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.

Ver. 12. And I arose in the night] His cares would not suffer him to sleep, Oυ χρη παννυχιον (Homer), but up he gets, and about the walls; taking the night, as fittest for secrecy and safety.

I and some few men with me] He went not alone, lest he should fall into some danger of life, Vae soli; alas alone, nor yet with many, lest he should make a disturbance, and betray his counsel. "Be wise as serpents," Matthew 10:16.

Neither told I any man what God had put into my heart] That the thing was of God he nothing doubted; hence his fervour in following it; he knew there was a curse to those that do the Lord’s work negligently. That he might not be defeated from his purpose, he tells no man. He that would have his counsel kept, let him keep it to himself. Hardly shall a man meet with such a counsel keeper as he was, who, being upbraided with his stinking breath, answered, that he had kept his friends’ secrets committed to him so long in his breast that there they rotted; and thence was the unsavouriness of his breath.

Si sapis, arcane vina reconde cado.

Qui sapit, arcano gaudeat ipse sinu.

Neither was there any beast] For the avoiding of noise.


Verse 13

Nehemiah 2:13 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.

Ver. 13. By the gate of the valley] By which men went into the valley of Jehoshaphat, Joel 3:2; Joel 3:12. The Septuagint call it Portam Galilae, the gate of dead men’s skulls; because that way they went out to Golgotha.

Even before the dragon well] So called, either because some venomous serpent had been found there; or because the waters ran out of the mouth of a brazen serpent; or because they ran creepingly, softly, as the waters of Shiloah, Isaiah 8:6.

And to the dung port] Where was their common dunghill, a sewer to the city; near whereunto ran the brook Kidron, or the town sewer.

And viewed the wall of Jerusalem] Junius rendereth it, Ubi effringebam de muris, Where I broke off a piece of the wall; sc. that I might try the soundness or unsoundness of that which remaineth of it, that I might know whether it needed to be all pulled down, or whether it might be built upon. Our translators read it, sober, not shober; and thence the different interpretation.

Which were broken down] Asher hem perutsim: Hem, with an open Mem, which is not usual ( הס pro המ); to set forth, as some think, the rupture and openness of the walls, so much bewailed by this good man in this chapter. The final form for the מ was not used. {Hebrew Text Note}


Verse 14

Nehemiah 2:14 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.

Ver. 14. Then I went to the gate of the fountain] Or well-gate; where was great plenty of water ponds, watering places, &c. Junius saith it was that whereby men went out to the pool of Siloah and Rogel.

And to the king’s pool] The water course made, or repaired, at least, by King Hezekiah, 2 Kings 20:20.

But there was no place for the beast, &c.] There was so much rubbish, and such ruins. This was the fruit of sin, which makes of a city a heap, as the prophet speaks, and hurls such confusion over the world, that had not Christ, our true Nehemiah, undertaken the shattered condition thereof to uphold it, it had surely fallen about Adam’s ears.


Verse 15

Nehemiah 2:15 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.

Ver. 15. Then went I up in the night] sc. By moonlight; for the moon is mistress of the night, Psalms 136:9, by the brightness she borroweth from the body of the sun, which the moon receiveth and reflecteth, like a lookingglass.

And viewed the wall] That which was left of it, τα λειψανα, as Scaliger’s epitaph is, Scaligeri quod reliquum est, Scaliger’s relics.

And entered by the gate of the valley] Where he first went out; so he walked the round, not caring to observe that rule of Pythagoras, Eadem via qua progressus fueris ne regrediare, Go not back the same way you came out.


Verse 16

Nehemiah 2:16 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.

Ver. 16. And the rulers knew not whither I went] Taciturnity, in some cases, is a virtue; and everything is beautiful in its season. There is a time to keep silence, and a time to speak, Ecclesiastes 3:7. And he is a truly wise man that can discern his season for both. Discamus prius non loqui, saith Jerome, Let us first learn not to speak, that we may afterwards open our mouths and minds with discretion. Silence is by Solomon first set before speaking; and first takes its time and turn, as it did here in Nehemiah, the prudent. {See Trapp on "Nehemiah 2:12"} The word here rendered rulers is rather Chaldee than Hebrew.

Nor to the nobles] Heb. White ones. Among the Jews great men affected to go in white; as among the Romans in purple or scarlet. Hence Pilate’s soldiers clad Christ in purple; Herod’s, in white, Luke 23:11, Matthew 27:28.

Nor to the rest, &c.] So, as to ask their advice.


Verse 17

Nehemiah 2:17 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.

Ver. 17. Then said I unto them] Then, when I saw it a fit season to say it. It is an excellent skill to time a word, Isaiah 50:4. To circumstantiate it aright, Proverbs 25:11. That it may run as upon wheels: Nehemiah’s words do so, notably. Verba prius ad limam revocata, quam ad linguam, words well weighed ere uttered. Nescit paenitenda loqui qui proferenda prius sue tradidit examini, He cannot but speak wisely who speaketh warily.

Jerusalem lieth waste] i.e., open to the spoiler; as the pope made account this land was in Henry VIII’s time, when he had given it primo occupaturo, to him that should first invade and seize it.

Come, and let us build, &c.] With forces united, with one shoulder, Multorum manibus grande levatur onus.

That we be no more a reproach] Quam multa quam paucis! How much in a little! said Cicero of Brutus’s laconical epistle; and the like may we say of this pithy and pathetic speech. Those that love to hear themselves talk, saith Bishop Pilkington upon this text, and with many words to colour their ill meaning, may here learn how a simple truth, plainly told in few words, worketh more in good men’s hearts than a painted tale that hath little truth and less good meaning in it. An honest matter speaketh for itself, and needeth no colouring; and he that useth most flattering and subtle words maketh wise men mistrust the matter to be ill. A few words well placed are much better than a long unsavoury tale. Thus he.


Verse 18

Nehemiah 2:18 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].

Ver. 18. Then I told them of the hand of my God] i.e., of his gracious providence in prospering me in all.

As also the king’s words] Which were likewise very gracious and comfortable. Now he that hath both God and the king on his side, what would he have more?

And they said, Let us rise up and build] So forcible are right words, delivered in a mild and moderate manner, as here. Let us rise, say they. Let us linger no longer, but speedily fall to labour; and recover that with our diligence that our fathers lost by their disobedience.

So they strengthened their hands for this good work] They took courage, and went an end with it. So much good may one man of place, power, and zeal do for the Church, by stirring up to love and good works. It is said of the precious stone Pyrites, that it puts not forth its fiery power till well rubbed; and then it is so hot that it burneth one’s fingers.


Verse 19

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?

Ver. 19. But when Sanballat the Horonite, &c.] At first these men were sad, but now mad with malice. Wicked men grow worse and worse, in peius proficiunt, but they shall proceed no further: for their madness shall appear to all men.

And Geshem the Arabian] Lieutenant of Arabia for the king of Persia. He also joins himself to the two former to hinder the work in hand. Such opposition met Luther with, when he began to reform. The pope excommunicated him; the emperor proscribed him; Henry, king of England, and Lewis, king of Hungary, wrote against him; but the work went on, nevertheless, because it was of God.

They laughed us to scorn and despised us] As a company of fools, that could never effect what we attempted. So Erasmus and Sir Thomas More thought to have mocked the Lutherans out of their religion, Notum est Erasmi dicterium, Qualem a se decimum Capito fore sperat? &c. This the Scripture calleth cruel mocking, Hebrews 11:36; and ranks it with bloody persecution. Indeed, the favourablest persecution, saith one, of any good cause is the lash of lewd tongues; whether by bitter taunts or scurrilous invectives; which it is as impossible to avoid as necessary to condemn, &c. Bravely condemn, saith another worthy, all contumelies and contempts for thy conscience; taking them as crowns and confirmations of thy conformity to Christ.

And said, What is this thing that ye do?] Scoffingly they said it; like as Pilate said to our Saviour, What is truth? Oh how easy is it to wag a wicked tongue! Nihil tam volucre quam maledictum, nihil facilius emittitur (Cicero). One while they charge this people with folly; another while with treachery. If to accuse a man only were sufficient to make him guilty, none should be innocent.

Will ye rebel against the king?] This was ever, saith Lipsius, Unicum crimen eorum, qui crimine vacabant, the only and ordinary charge laid upon the most innocent. Elias is a troubler, Jeremiah a traitor, Paul a pest, Luther a trumpet of rebellion, all the orthodox antimagistratical. To colour the massacre of Paris, and to accuse it to the world, there was coin stamped in the forepart, whereof (together with the king’s picture) was this inscription: Virtus in Rebelles, Valour against the rebels; and on the other side, Pietas excitavit iustitiam, Piety hath excited justice.


Verse 20

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.

Ver. 20. Then answered I them, and said unto them] He would not honour them so far as to tell them of the king’s licence; but shapes them a sharp answer, and shakes them up as having nothing there to do. This was true Christian courage; this was right, and much better than railing for railing; for that were but lutum lute purgare, to wash off one dirt with another.

The God of heaven] Who does whatsoever he pleases in heaven and earth; who looks and laughs at your malice.

He will prosper us] He will break his heavens, and come down amongst us, and give good success. Oh the force of a heroic faith! Though Sense says, It will not be, Reason, it cannot be; yet Faith gets above and says, It shall be; God will prosper us. It eats its way through the alps of whatsoever difficulties.

But ye have no portion] Nothing to do here, neither ought you to interpose in aliena republica, in a foreign land, as busy braggers and quarrellers; meddle where you have command.

Nor right] sc. Of interest or any good desert.

Nor memorial] Or enrolment there, as free denizens; therefore we neither accept you as friends nor fear you as enemies, &c.

 


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Bibliography Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Nehemiah 2:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/nehemiah-2.html. 1865-1868.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, October 15th, 2019
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28
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