Nehemiah 1

1 The words of Nehemiah the son of Hacaliah. Now in the month Chislev, in the twentieth year, as I was in Shushan the palace, 2 Hanani, one of my brothers, came, he and certain men out of Judah; and I asked them about the Jews who had escaped, who were left of the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem. 3 They said to me, “The remnant who are left of the captivity there in the province are in great affliction and reproach. The wall of Jerusalem is also broken down, and its gates are burnt with fire.” 4 When I heard these words, I sat down and wept, and mourned several days; and I fasted and prayed before the God of heaven, 5 and said, “I beg you, LORD, the God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps covenant and loving kindness with those who love him and keep his commandments: 6 Let your ear now be attentive, and your eyes open, that you may listen to the prayer of your servant, which I pray before you at this time, day and night, for the children of Israel your servants while I confess the sins of the children of Israel, which we have sinned against you. Yes, I and my father’s house have sinned. 7 We have dealt very corruptly against you, and have not kept the commandments, nor the statutes, nor the ordinances, which you commanded your servant Moses. 8 “Remember, I beg you, the word that you commanded your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you trespass, I will scatter you amongst the peoples; 9 but if you return to me, and keep my commandments and do them, though your outcasts were in the uttermost part of the heavens, yet I will gather them from there, and will bring them to the place that I have chosen, to cause my name to dwell there.’ 10 “Now these are your servants and your people, whom you have redeemed by your great power, and by your strong hand. 11 Lord, I beg you, let your ear be attentive now to the prayer of your servant, and to the prayer of your servants, who delight to fear your name; and please prosper your servant today, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man.” Now I was cup bearer to the king.

(Next Chapter)

Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

Verses 1-11

Nehemiah was the Persian king’s cup-bearer. When God has work to do, he will never want instruments to do it with. Nehemiah lived at ease, and in honour, but does not forget that he is an Israelite, and that his brethren are in distress. He was ready to do them all the good offices he could; and that he might know how best to do them a kindness, he makes inquiries about them. We should inquire especially concerning the state of the church and religion. Every Jerusalem on this side the heavenly one will have some defect, which will require the help and services of its friends. Nehemiah’s first application was to God, that he might have the fuller confidence in his application to the king. Our best pleas in prayer are taken from the promise of God, the word on which he has caused us to hope. Other means must be used, but the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails most. Communion with God will best prepare us for our dealings with men. When we have intrusted our concerns to God, the mind is set at liberty; it feels satisfaction and composure, and difficulties vanish. We know that if the affair be hurtful, he can easily hinder it; and if it be good for us, he can as easily forward it.

Back to Top