Ver. 1. Year. It seems the Persians began the year with Tizri, since both Casleu (the third) and Nisan (the seventh month of the civil year) fall on the twentieth of the king.
--- Wine. These kings drunk only that of Syria. Strabo xv.
--- People of distinction were appointed cup-bearers; and even the children of kings did not esteem the office beneath them. Herod. iii. 34. Athen. x. 6. Homer, &c. C.
--- I was. Prot. "I had not been before-time sad in his presence." H.
--- Heb. lit. "I was not evil." Sept. "an enemy, or stranger." Arab. "disagreeable." Syr. "sorrowful." Sept. also, "there was not another (ouk hn eteroV) present," C. v. 6. S. Jerom seems not to have read the negation. H.
Ver. 2. Is not. Heb. "nothing but sorrow of heart;" (Syr. C. Prot.) or rather, thou art meditating only treason. Sept. "This is nothing but wickedness of heart," (H.) which often shews itself on the countenance. The king might suspect that he was giving him poison. M.
--- Hence Nehemias feared, (C.) dreading such suspicions, (H.) and aware lest the company might frustrate his good design, as contrary to the interests of the crown. T.
Ver. 3. Live; an usual salutation. Dan. iii. 9. and v. 10. So Ælian (var. i. 32.) says, "O king Artaxerxes, mayst thou reign for ever."
--- Father, v. 5. He knew that the Persians shewed great regard to the dead, (C. T.) whose bodies they sometimes cover with wax, and keep in their house, (Cic. Tusc. i. Alex. Genial iii. 2.) or inter. Herod. i. 140.
Ver. 4. Heaven, a fervent ejaculation, in secret, (T.) to touch the king's heart, (C.) and to enable me to speak in a proper manner. M.
Ver. 6. And, &c. In private the queen might dine with her husband, but not in public. Est. i. C.
--- Queen; probably Esther, if she were married to this king. M.
--- But this is uncertain. H.
--- Usher thinks it was Damaspia, mentioned by Ctesias. C.
--- Time, when I should return. Some king eight or ten years, and returned into Judea towards the end of the reign of Artaxerxes. C. xiii. 6. C.
--- He perhaps asked permission to visit Jerusalem for only a short period, at first, but his presence being deemed necessary, he was permitted to continue there as governor full twelve years. M.
Ver. 7. Over; give me a guard, (H.) or accompany me to Jerusalem. M.
Ver. 8. Forest. Heb. pordes, "paradise," or garden planted with trees. Pliny (v. 23.) mentions a "paradise," in Cœlosyria. Grot.
--- But Nehemias might petition to be supplied with cedars from Libanus, (T.) as they had been given for the temple. 1 Esd. iii. 7. H.
--- Tower. Heb. bira, means also "a palace or temple." It may designate the porch of the temple, which was 120 cubits high; (2 Par. iii. 4. C.) though that had been lately repaired by Esdras. M.
--- Others think the doors of the courts are meant, as they were as strong as those of towers. Vatab.
--- They were not yet finished. C. x. 9. Many believe that (C.) Nehemias speaks of the royal palace, which had been almost contiguous to the temple, (M.) where he intended to build one for himself, while he should reside in the city. T.
--- But this might give umbrage to the king. C.
--- He could not, however, intend his favourite to remain without a suitable palace; and the latter seems to have designed not only to repair that which Solomon had founded, but also to erect another house for the governor. H.
--- Good hand; favour, (M.) and powerful aid. H.
Ver. 10. Horonite, a native, not (C.) a petty king (Grot.) of Horonaim, in the country of Moab. Jer. xlviii. 3. He must have been very old, if he lived till the temple was built at Garizim: (Josephus and Scaliger) but Petau supposes that there were two of the name.
--- Servant; an officer appointed over the Samaritans, as well as Sanaballat. The Persian monarchs styled all their subjects servants or slaves. C.
--- Grieved. Thus unbelievers repine when any one endeavours to propagate the truth, (H.) or to establish the Church. W.
Ver. 12. Any man, at Jerusalem, (v. 16.) though he had informed the king, v. 8. H.
--- No beast; that none might be alarmed.
Ver. 13. Valley of Cedron, on the east, (C.) or west, near Calvary. M. T.
--- Dragon. Heb. Tannin, or "great fish," which might be kept there, unless the fountain was famous for the appearance of some dragon, or the water proceeded from the mouth of a brazen one. Sept. have read thanim, "figs." The fountain of Siloc might have many names. C.
--- Viewed. Sept. "I walked upon the wall of Jerusalem, which these men are demolishing or clearing away," &c. H.
Ver. 14. Aqueduct, or reservoir, made by Ezechias. 2 Par. xxxii. 30.
Ver. 15. Torrent of Cedron, having gone round the city. C.
Ver. 16. Magistrates. Sept. "guards." Seganim denotes various officers. C.
--- Work, or to any workmen. H.
--- None were now employed. T.
Ver. 18. Hand. God had manifested his goodness and power, at the court of Persia. W.
Ver. 19. Arabian governor. He afterwards accuses Nehemias. C. vi. 6. C.
Ver. 20. Answered. Sept. "returned them an account (logon) ...we are his pure servants, and we will build." H.
--- Part, or business. 1 Esd. iv. 4.
--- Justice, or right to the city. C.
--- You may mind your own affairs. T.
--- Remembrance. It was esteemed a high honour to be a citizen of Jerusalem. Ps. lxxxvi. 5.