Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
1. Nehemiah the son of Hachaliah--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
and the other is noticed in the list of those who accompanied
Zerubbabel in the first detachment of returning exiles
Though little is known of his genealogy, it is highly probable that he
was a descendant of the tribe of Judah and the 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
favorite winter residence of the Persian kings.
2, 3. Hanani, one of my brethren, came, he and certain men of
Judah--Hanani is called 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. Having ascertained that they had lately returned
from Judea, he was informed by them, in answer to his eager enquiries,
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 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
4. when I heard these words, that 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 favor the purpose, which he seems
to have secretly formed, of asking the royal permission to go to
11. I was the king's cupbearer--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, he possessed great influence.