Wesley's Notes on the Bible
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,
1:1 The words - Or rather, the acts, as the word often signifies. Chisleu - Which is the ninth month, containing part of November, and part of December. Year - Of Artaxerxes. Shushan - The royal city of Persia.
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.
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.
1:3 The province - In Judea, now a province under the Persian monarchs. The wall, and c. - The walls and gates continue as Nebuchadnezzar left them; the Jews not being in a condition to rebuild them, nor having commission from the kings of Persia to do so.
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,
1:4 The God of heaven - Who seeth in secret; secret; having no opportunity of doing it openly.
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:
Let thine ear now be attentive, and thine eyes open, that thou mayest hear the prayer of thy servant, which I pray before thee now, day and night, for the children of Israel thy servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel, which we have sinned against thee: both I and my father's house have sinned.
1:6 Which I pray, and c. - He refers to all the prayers, which he had for some time been putting up.
We have dealt very corruptly against thee, and have not kept the commandments, nor the statutes, nor the judgments, which thou commandedst thy servant Moses.
Remember, I beseech thee, the word that thou commandedst thy servant Moses, saying, If ye transgress, I will scatter you abroad among the nations:
But if ye turn unto me, and keep my commandments, and do them; though there were of you cast out unto the uttermost part of the heaven, yet will I gather them from thence, and will bring them unto the place that I have chosen to set my name there.
Now these are thy servants and thy people, whom thou hast redeemed by thy great power, and by thy strong hand.
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.
1:11 To fear thy name - Those who truly desire to fear his name, shall be graciously accepted of God. This man - The king: who is but a man and therefore his heart is wholly at thy disposal. Favour with men is then comfortable, when we see it springing from the mercy of God. Cup - bearer - Whereby I had opportunity to speak to him, and some favour with him.