Nehemiah in Fausset's Bible Dictionary

(See EZRA; MALACHI.) 1. Son of Hachaliah, seemingly of Judah, as his kinsman Hanani was so (Nehemiah 1:2); and Jerusalem was "the place of his fathers' sepulchres" (Nehemiah 2:3). Probably he was of David's lineage, as his name varied appears in it, "Naum" (Luke 3:25), and his kinsman's name too, Hananiah, son of Zerubbabel (1 Chronicles 3:19); his "fathers' sepulchres" would be those of David's royal line. Cupbearer of Artaxerxes (Longimanus) according to his own autobiography, at Susa or Shushan, the principal Persian palace; Ecbatana was the royal summer residence, Babylon the spring, Persepolis the autumn, and Susa the winter. In Artaxerxes' 20th year Hanani with other Jews came from Jerusalem, reporting that the remnant there were in great affliction, the wall broken down, and the gates burned. Sorrow at the news drove him to fasting in expression of sadness, and prayer before the God of heaven, who alone could remedy the evil. His prayer (Nehemiah 1:4-11) was marked by importunate continuity, "day and night" (compare Isaiah 62:6-7; Luke 18:7), intercession for Israel, confession of individual and national sin, pleading that God should remember His promises of mercy upon their turning to Him, however far cast out for transgression; also that He should remember they are His people redeemed by His strong hand, therefore His honour is at stake in their persons; and that Nehemiah and they who pray with him desire to fear God's name (Isaiah 26:8; contrast Psalm 66:18; compare Daniel 9, Leviticus 26:33-39; Deuteronomy 4:25-31); lastly he asks God to dispose Artaxerxes' heart to "mercy" (Proverbs 21:1). "Let Thine ear ... Thine eyes be open ... hear the prayer," is an allusion to Solomon's prayer (1 Kings 8:28-29). After four months (Nehemiah 1:1; Nehemiah 2:1), from Chisleu to Nisan, of praying and waiting, in Artaxerxes' 20th year Nehemiah with sad countenance ministered as his cupbearer...

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