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The Oxford Study Bible Study Bible supplemented with commentary from scholars of various religions.

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Commentary on The Book of Nehemiah

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1.1–2.10 : Nehemiah's commission:

Susa was the winter residence of the Persian kings after 521 B.C.E. Nehemiah, the royal cupbearer ( 1.11 ), was an influential court figure.

1 :

Kislev: November–December. The twentieth year alludes to the reign of Artaxerxes I (mentioned in 2.1 ) and would be 445/444 B.C.E. Nisan (March–April) is described as still “in the twentieth year” in 2.1 , where we would expect the twenty-first, for the Babylonian year ran from spring to spring. But possibly the years here are reckoned from Tishri (September–October) and are regnal years, differing from ordinary calendar years.

2 :

While brothers can mean friends or colleagues, 7.2 suggests that Hanani was a real brother. The families still remaining had continued in Jerusalem when substantial parts of the population went into exile after 587 B.C.E.

3 :

Broken downdestroyed: this seems to allude to an obscure disaster after the time of Cyrus (538–529 B.C.E.); Nehemiah has had no prior knowledge of it.

5–11 :

The structure of Nehemiah's prayer is praise, supplication, confession, supplication.

8–9 :

An exact quotation from the Pentateuch is expected but does not appear; perhaps Deut. 30.1–5 is being echoed.

11 :

Let your ear be attentive is not a needless repetition of the same phrase in v. 6 , but, rather, climaxes Nehemiah's prayer. This man's heart refers to Artaxerxes I. See 2.1 .

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