King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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Nehemiah 1

Nehemiah’s distress for the misery of Jerusalem, His prayer.

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Nehemiah’s distress for the misery of Jerusalem, His prayer

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,

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.

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.

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,

5 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:

6 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.

7 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.

8 Remember, I beseech thee, the word that thou commandedst thy servant Moses, saying, If ye transgress, I will scatter you abroad among the nations:

9 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.

10 Now these are thy servants and thy people, whom thou hast redeemed by thy great power, and by thy strong hand.

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.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 1. Words, or transactions written by Nehemias. M. — Helcias, or Heb. and Sept. “Chelcias.” — Casleu, the third of the civil year. 1 Esd. x. 9. — Year of Artaxerxes, (C.) after he was associated with his father on the throne; (T.) or rather the death of Xerxes. From this period the seventy weeks of Daniel are dated, (D.) or from the 23rd of Artaxerxes, and the 28th of Xerxes, (T.) as above three years must have been consumed in making preparations for the walls, &c. Josephus xi. 5. — The name of Nehemias, “comforter of God,” as well as his being sent by a king to build, &c. prefigured Jesus Christ, sent by God to comfort and establish his Church. Ven. Bede. W. H. — Susa. Heb. “in Susa, the palace,” where the kings of Persia resided in the months of winter, (Athen. xii. 1.) and of spring. Xenoph. Cyr. viii. Curt. v. 8. — Here Darius probably kept his court at other times. Est. i. 2. C. — Susa was situated on the river Coaspes, between the provinces of Babylon and Persia. D.

Ver. 2. Hanani, a relation, whom Nehemias brought back. C. vii. 2. — Came. Some Latin copies add, “to me,” (Lyran) as if a deputation had been sent; but of this the text is silent. C.

Ver. 3. Province of Judea, subject to the Persians, as it was afterwards to the Romans; though, at present, they were allowed to have governors of their own nation. M. — Reproach, on account of the surrounding enemies. H. — Fire, recently; (M. See 1 Esd. iv. 12. and xi. 9.) or rather by Nabuchodonosor; as the kings of Persia would not suffer the city to be fortified, for fear of a fresh rebellion. Lyran. T. — We find that little progress (C. ii. and iv. C.) had at least been made in the work, though the blame must rather be laid on the enemies of Israel, than on several of the kings of Persia, who seem to have authorized the undertaking, which Cambyses, or Smerdis, had for a time interrupted. They only specify, indeed, that leave was granted to build the temple. But they allowed them to erect houses for themselves, which could not have been done to any purpose, among so many enemies, unless they had been defended by some sort of fortifications. H.

Ver. 4. Days; about four months, till Nisan. C.

Ver. 6. They. Heb. and Sept. “we have sinned.” M.

Ver. 7. Vanity. Heb. “we have been corrupted.” Vat. “we have dealt very corruptly.” Prot. H. — The author of the Vulg. has read e for é. C. — Sept. “we have been very dissolute, or weak.”

Ver. 9. World. Lit. “of heaven, or the sky,” (H.) which seems to the vulgar (C.) to rest upon the horizon. T. See Deut. xxx. 4.

Ver. 10. Redeemed, or liberated from great evils. M.

Ver. 11. Man; (virum) the great king, (H.) Artaxerxes. C. — Cup-bearer; Athersatha. 1 Esd. ii. 63. and 2 Esd. vii. 65.