BIBLE: Nehemiah Chapter 1 – Headline “A Cup of Tears” [History]

Words in italic type have been added for clarity. They are not found in the original Hebrew or Aramaic.

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Nehemiah 1

God weaves the stories of Nehemiah, Esther and Daniel into “the Cupbearer, the Queen, and the Dream Sayer”; all of which are books of the Bible:

  • Nehemiah was the cupbearer to the Persian King Artaxerxes in the book of Esther. As the queen, Esther had considerable influence on Artaxerxes’ decisions, enabling Nehemiah to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.
  • Nehemiah and Esther were contemporaries

Nehemiah Prays for His People

Nehemiah 1:1 The words of Nehemiah the son of Hachaliah.
It came to pass in the month of Chislev (Kislev, the Ninth Jewish Month, in the twentieth year, as I was in Shushan (Or Susa) the citadel (Or fortified palace, and so elsewhere in the book),
  • History of the Jews in Shushan
    • Daniel 8:2
      I saw in the vision, and it so happened while I was looking, that I was in Shushan, the citadel, which is in the province of Elam; and I saw in the vision that I was by the River Ulai.
    • Esther 2:8
      So it was, when the king’s command and decree were heard, and when many young women were gathered at Shushan the citadel, under the custody of Hegai, that Esther also was taken to the king’s palace, into the care of Hegai the custodian of the women.
    • Ezra 4:9 Resistance to the rebuilding of the temple from the people of Sushan.
Nehemiah 1:that Hanani one of my brethren came with men from Judah; and I asked them concerning the Jews who had escaped, who had survived the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem.
Nehemiah 1:And they said to me, “The survivors who are left from the captivity in the province are there in great distress and reproach. The wall of Jerusalem is also broken down, and its gates are burned with fire.”
Nehemiah 1:So it was, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned for many days; I was fasting and praying before the God (‘ĕlōhîm) of heaven.

The Prayer of Nehemiah as he Remembers the Covenant

Nehemiah 1:And I said: “I pray, Lord God (Yᵊhōvâ ‘ĕlōhîm) of heaven, O great and awesome God (‘ēl), You who keep Your covenant and mercy with those who love You (Lit. Him) and observe Your (Lit. His) commandments,
Nehemiah 1:please let Your ear be attentive and Your eyes open, that You may hear the prayer of Your servant which I pray before You now, day and night, for the children of Israel Your servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel which we have sinned against You. Both my father’s house and I have sinned.
Nehemiah 1:We have acted very corruptly against You, and have not kept the commandments, the statutes, nor the ordinances which You commanded Your servant Moses.
Nehemiah 1:Remember, I pray, the word that You commanded Your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful (act treacherously), I will scatter you among the nations;
  • The Jews have been scattered among the nations from the time of the Babylonian conquest until May 15,1948 with temporary reprieves from the time of the Maccabbees until Titus when they were once again taken into captivity.
    • “I dispersed them among the nations, and they were scattered through the countries; I judged them according to their conduct and their actions.” Ezekiel 36:19 NIV
    • “Also I raised My hand in an oath to those in the wilderness, that I would scatter them among the Gentiles and disperse them throughout the countries” Ezekiel 20:23
    • “Then the LORD will scatter you among all nations, from one end of the earth to the other. There you will worship other gods — gods of wood and stone, which neither you nor your fathers have known.” Deuteronomy 28:64 NIV
    • For the children of Israel shall abide many days without king or prince (ruler), without sacrifice or sacred pillar (temple), without ephod (priestly garment) or teraphim (idols). Afterward the children of Israel shall return and seek the LORD their God and David their king. They shall fear the LORD and His goodness in the latter days. Hosea 3:4-5
    • You have given us up like sheep intended for food, And have scattered us among the nations. Psalm 44:11
    • “Yet I will leave a remnant, so that you may have some who escape the sword among the nations, when you are scattered through the countries. Ezekiel 6:8
    • So I scattered them among the nations, and they were dispersed throughout the countries; I judged them according to their ways and their deeds. Ezekiel 36:19
    • “But I scattered them with a whirlwind among all the nations which they had not known. Thus the land became desolate after them, so that no one passed through or returned; for they made the pleasant land desolate.” Zechariah 7:14
    • “Israel is swallowed up: now shall they be among the Gentiles as a vessel in which is no pleasure.” Hosea 8:8
    • “I will scatter them also among the Gentiles, whom neither they nor their fathers have known. And I will send a sword after them until I have consumed them.” Jeremiah 9:16
    • My God will cast them away, Because they did not obey Him; And they shall be wanderers among the nations. Hosea 9:17
    • Therefore thus says the LORD of hosts: “ Behold, I will refine them and try them; For how shall I deal with the daughter of My people? Jeremiah 9:7
  • The Jewish meaning of being “scattered” is related to the word “scat or skat” which is dung or feces. The concept is one of being separated (from the bowels) and eliminated over the fields of the world.
    • Malachi 2:3 KJV
      Behold, I will corrupt your seed, and spread dung upon your faces, even the dung of your solemn feasts; and one shall take you away (scatter you) with it.
Nehemiah 1:but if you return to Me, and keep My commandments and do them, though some of you were cast out to the farthest part of the heavens, yet I will gather them from there, and bring them to the place which I have chosen as a dwelling for My name.’
  • Many Jews have been brought back to their homeland. However; there is one more scattering to come when the Jews welcome the Antichrist as their Messiah setting off the seven year tribulation. At the end of the tribulation, Jesus will return to earth to destroy the Antichrist, to set up His kingdom, and to regather the Jews for the last time.
Nehemiah 1:10 Now these are Your servants and Your people, whom You have redeemed by Your great power, and by Your strong hand.
Nehemiah 1:11 O Lord (‘ăḏōnāy), I pray, please let Your ear be attentive to the prayer of Your servant, and to the prayer of Your servants who desire to fear Your name; and let Your servant prosper this day, I pray, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man (the king Artaxerxes).”
For I was the king’s cupbearer.
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