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Bible Commentaries
Nehemiah 1

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - UnabridgedCommentary Critical Unabridged

Verse 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 (comforted of Yahweh) the son of Hachaliah (whose eyes Yahweh enlivens). This eminently pious and patriotic Jew is to be carefully distinguished from two other persons of the same name-one of whom is mentioned as helping to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem (Nehemiah 3:16), and the other is noticed in the list of those who accompanied Zerubbabel in the first detachment of returning exiles (Ezra 2:2; Nehemiah 7:7). Though little is known of his genealogy, it is highly probable that he was a descendant of the tribe of Judah and royal family of David.

In the month Chisleu - answering to the close of November and the larger part of December.

Shushan the palace - the capital of ancient Susiana, east of the Tigris, a province of Persia. From the time of Cyrus it was the favourite winter residence of the Persian kings.

Verse 2

That Hanani, one of my brethren, came, he and certain men of Judah; and I asked them concerning the Jews that had escaped, which were left of the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem.

Hanani, one of my brethren, came, he and certain men of Judah. Hanani is called (Nehemiah 7:2) his brother. But as that term was used loosely by Jews as well as other Orientals, it is probable that no more is meant than that he was of the same family. According to Josephus, Nehemiah, while walking around the palace walls, overheard some persons conversing in the Hebrew language, and having ascertained that they had lately returned from Judea, was informed by them, in answer to his eager inquiries, of the unfinished and desolate condition of Jerusalem, as well as the defenseless state of the returned exiles. The commissions previously given to Zerubbabel and Ezra extending only to the repair of the temple and of private dwellings, the walls and gates of the city had been allowed to remain a mass of shattered ruins, as they had been laid by the Chaldean siege.

Verse 3

And they said unto me, The remnant that are left of the captivity there in the province are in great affliction and reproach: the wall of Jerusalem also is broken down, and the gates thereof are burned with fire.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 4

And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven,

When I heard these words ... I sat down ... and mourned ... and fasted, and prayed. The recital deeply affected the patriotic feelings of this good man, and no comfort could he find but in earnest and protracted prayer, that God would favour the purpose, which he seems to have secretly formed, of asking the royal permission to go to Jerusalem.

Verses 5-10

And said, I beseech thee, O LORD God of heaven, the great and terrible God, that keepeth covenant and mercy for them that love him and observe his commandments:

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 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.

I was the king's cup-bearer, [ mashqeh (H4945)] - butler (cf. Isaiah 39:7; Daniel 1:1-7). This officer, in the ancient Oriental courts, was always a person of rank and importance, and, from the confidential nature of his duties, and his frequent access to the royal presence, possessed of great influence.

Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Nehemiah 1". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jfu/nehemiah-1.html. 1871-8.
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