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Nehemia 1:1-4

A Prayer of Nehemiah

1:1 1 These are the words of Nehemiah 2  son of Hacaliah:

It so happened that in the month of Kislev, in the twentieth year, 3  I was in Susa 4  the citadel. 1:2 Hanani, who was one of my relatives, 5  along with some of the men from Judah, came to me, 6  and I asked them about the Jews who had escaped and had survived the exile, and about Jerusalem. 7 

1:3 They said to me, “The remnant that remains from the exile there in the province are experiencing considerable 8  adversity and reproach. The wall of Jerusalem lies breached, and its gates have been burned down!” 9 

1:4 When I heard these things I sat down abruptly, 10  crying and mourning for several days. I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven.

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[1:1]  1 sn In ancient Judaism Ezra and Nehemiah were regarded as a single book with dual authorship. According to the Talmud, “Ezra wrote his book” (b. Bava Batra 15a). The Gemara then asks and answers, “And who finished it? Nehemiah the son of Hacaliah.” Accordingly, the two are joined in the Leningrad Codex (ca. A.D. 1008), the manuscript upon which modern printed editions of the Hebrew Bible (e.g., BHK and BHS) are based.

[1:1]  2 sn The name Nehemiah in Hebrew (נְחֶמְיָה, nÿkhemyah) means “the LORD comforts.”

[1:1]  3 tn That is, the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes’ reign (cf. 2:1).

[1:1]  4 tn Heb “Shushan.”

[1:2]  5 tn Heb “brothers.”

[1:2]  6 tn The Hebrew text does not include the words “to me”; these words were supplied in the translation for the sake of clarity.

[1:2]  7 map For location see Map5 B1; Map6 F3; Map7 E2; Map8 F2; Map10 B3; JP1 F4; JP2 F4; JP3 F4; JP4 F4.

[1:3]  8 tn Heb “great.”

[1:3]  9 tn Heb “have been burned with fire” (so also in Neh 2:17). The expression “burned with fire” is redundant in contemporary English; the translation uses “burned down” for stylistic reasons.

[1:4]  10 tn Heb “sat down.” Context suggests that this was a rather sudden action, resulting from the emotional shock of the unpleasant news, so “abruptly” has been supplied in the present translation.

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