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,
in the month
in the twentieth
Shushan, or Susa, was the capital of Susiana, a province of Persia, and the winter residence of the Persian monarchs; situated about 252 miles east of Babylon, and the same distance south-south-east of Ecbatana, in lat. 32 degrees, long. 49 degrees. The circumference of its walls was about 120 stadia. Shouster is supposed to occupy its site.
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.
that had escaped
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.
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,
I sat down
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.
day and night
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:
If ye transgress
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.
if ye turn
yet will I
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.
For I was
The office of cup-bearer was one of great trust, honour, and emolument, in the Persian court. To be in such a place of trust he must have been in the king's confidence; for no eastern potentate would have a cup-bearer to whom he could not trust his life, poison being often administered in that way. It was an office much desired, because it gave access to the king in those seasons of hilarity when men are most disposed to grant favours.