Nehemiah 5:19
Think on me, my God, for good, according to all that I have done for this people.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(19) Think upon me, my God.—Inserting the present prayer far from this people, Nehemiah humbly asks his recompense not from them, but from God. Nothing was more distant from his thoughts than the fame of his good deeds.

Nehemiah 5:19. Think upon me, my God, for good — As I have done thy people good for thy sake, so do me good for thine own sake, for thou art pleased, and hast promised, graciously to reward us according to our works, and to mete to men the same measure which they mete to others. Thus he shows that he expected his reward only from God, who, he hoped, would show him kindness, similar to that which he had shown for his people. There is no reason to think he here speaks too much of himself, and his own worthy acts; for it was no more than was necessary in such a state of things, that posterity might be furnished with an example of extraordinary virtue; and no more than St. Paul was constrained to speak of himself in his second epistle to the Corinthians, of whom he would take nothing, that he might stop the mouths of false apostles, and covetous people. 5:14-19 Those who truly fear God, will not dare to do any thing cruel or unjust. Let all who are in public places remember that they are so placed to do good, not to enrich themselves. Nehemiah mentions it to God in prayer, not as if he had merited any favour from God, but to show that he depended upon God only, to make up to him what he had lost and laid out for his honour. Nehemiah evidently spake and acted as one that knew himself to be a sinner. He did not mean to claim a reward as of debt, but in the manner that the Lord rewards a cup of cold water given to a disciple for his sake. The fear and love of God in the heart, and true love of the brethren, will lead to every good work. These are proper evidences of justifying faith; and our reconciled God will look upon persons of this character for good, according to all they have done for his people.Compare the far grander provision for Solomon's table (see the marginal reference). 17. Moreover there were at my table an hundred and fifty of the Jews—In the East it has been always customary to calculate the expense of a king's or grandee's establishment, not by the amount of money disbursed, but by the quantity of provisions consumed (see 1Ki 4:22; 18:19; Ec 5:11). As I have done thy people good for thy sake, so do me good for thine own sake; for thou art pleased, and hast promised graciously to reward us according to our works, and to mete to men the same measure which they mete to others. Think upon me, my God, for good, according to all that I have done for this people. He expected not any recompence from the people, but from the Lord; and from him not in a way of merit, but of grace and good will, who forgets not what is done for his name's sake, Hebrews 6:10. Think upon me, my God, for good, according to all that I have done for this people.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
19. Think upon me, my God, for good, according to all, &c.] R.V. Remember unto me, O my God, for good, all, &c. ‘Remember’ is the natural translation here and in the similar passages, Nehemiah 6:14, Nehemiah 13:22; Nehemiah 13:29; Nehemiah 13:31. The A.V. unfortunately introduced the rendering ‘think upon’ as a variation. For the use of ‘remember’ in its application to the Deity, cf. 2 Chronicles 6:42; Jdg 16:28; Psalm 106:4; Jeremiah 15:15. Nehemiah’s prayer differs in a measure from the appeal for ‘remembrance’ in the last three of these passages. In these the prayer is that the speaker may not be forgotten and so left in his present distress. Nehemiah prays with frank simplicity that God will recognize and reward his services to the people of Israel. In our ears the self-complacency of the petitions strikes a jarring note. But the words must not be judged by our modern standard. Their quaint candour quite disarms the charge of vanity. It is the ejaculation of a practical man, keenly alive to the responsibility of his position, very conscious of his loneliness, and sensible of the moral effort which it costs him at every fresh endeavour to please Jehovah in the service of the people.

To illustrate the thought cf. Sir 17:22, ‘The alms of a man are as a signet with him, and he will keep the good deeds of man as the apple of the eye.’ Hebrews 6:10, ‘For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and the love which ye showed toward his name, in that ye ministered unto the saints, and still do minister.’Verse 19. - Think upon me, my God. Compare Nehemiah 13:14, 22, 31. This is no "prayer for posthumous fame" (Stanley, 'Lectures on the Jewish Church,' Third Series, p. 135), but simply an appeal to God, beseeching him to bear in mind the petitioner's good deeds, and reward them at his own good time and in his own way. As Butler observes ('Analogy,' Part I. ch. 3.), the sense of good and ill desert is inseparably connected with an expectation of reward or punishment, and so with the notion of a future life, since neither are the righteous adequately rewarded nor the wicked adequately punished in this life.



To make the agreement thus sworn to still more binding, Nehemiah confirmed the proceeding by a symbolical action: Also I shook my lap, and said, So may God shake out every man from his house, and from his labour, that performeth (fulfilleth) not this promise, and thus may he be shaken out and emptied. חצן means the lap of the garment, in which things are carried (Isaiah 49:22), where alone the word is again found. The symbolical action consisted in Nehemiah's gathering up his garment as if for the purpose of carrying something, and then shaking it out with the words above stated, which declared the meaning of the act. The whole congregation said Amen, and praised the Lord, sc. for the success with which God had blessed his efforts to help the poor. And the people did according to this promise, i.e., the community acted in accordance with the agreement entered into.
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