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Nehemiah’s Resolve to rebuild Jerusalem
This chapter gives an account of Nehemiah’s request for leave to rebuild Jerusalem, his arrival there, and his survey of the ruined walls, which it was decided to restore.
1. Wine was before him] LXX has ’wine was before me,’ implying that it was Nehemiah’s turn to act as cup-bearer (the king having several). This would explain why Artaxerxes had not observed his servant’s sadness during the four months that had elapsed since the arrival of the news from Jerusalem.
2. Sore afraid] i.e. for the success of his intended request.
6. I set him a time] Nehemiah’s absence seems to have lasted twelve years (Nehemiah 5:14).
7. Convey me over] RV ’let me pass through,’ i.e. the Persian provinces between Shushan and Judæa.
8. The king’s forest] RM ’park,’ identified by some with certain gardens at Etham, some 6 m. from Jerusalem, in which (according to Josephus) Solomon used to drive. The palace] RV ’the castle’: and so in Nehemiah 7:2. This was situated on the N. of the Temple (the house), and subsequently called (by Herod) ’Antonia.’
9. Captains of the army] Nehemiah as Tirshatha or governor (Nehemiah 8:9; Nehemiah 10:1) was invested with civil and not, like Ezra, ecclesiastical authority only; and consequently was attended by a body-guard: contrast Ezra 8:22.
10. The Horonite] so named either from Beth-horon or Horonaim. Nothing is known of Sanballat beyond what is related in this book. Heard of it] Nehemiah on his way to Jerusalem had probably passed through the Samaritan colony of which Sanballat was leader (Nehemiah 4:1-3).
12. At Jerusalem] RV ’for Jerusalem.’
13. Viewed the walls of Jerusalem] The topography of ancient Jerusalem is too obscure to admit of the various parts of its walls being identified with certainty, but ’the valley gate’ from which Nehemiah issued on his survey was at the SW. corner of the SW. hill, and opened into the valley of Hinnom. From it he pursued his course first along the south wall, and next along the eastern wall, up the side of the ’brook’ (Nehemiah 2:15), i.e. the Kidron.
14. There was no place] The ground was so rough and encumbered with fallen masonry that he could not follow the line of wall closely.
15. Turned back] presumably along the N. wall, so as to make the circuit of the city.
19. Geshem] called ’Gashmu’.in Nehemiah 6:6 he was doubtless an Arab sheikh. Will ye rebel?] The same construction had been put upon the Jews’ proceedings on a previous occasion: Ezra 4:13.
20. Ye have no portion] Nehemiah’s words had reference to the desire which the Samaritans once had to unite with the Jews (Ezra 4:1-5).
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Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Nehemiah 2". "Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://studylight.org/
the Second Week of Advent