Nehemiah 2 – Nehemiah Sent to Judah

There is some confusion and speculation about the time factor in chapter two because of verse one’s mention of the month of Nisan, which corresponds to March/April, the first month, whereas Nehemiah 1:1 relates to the month of Chislev, the ninth month (November/December).  The best explanation seems to be that in those times in the near east, one of the most common ways of reckoning time was in regnal years.  But there is much argument about when those counted times began – whether at the start of a calendar year, the exact time of a king’s ascension, or other criteria.  Only two things are important for the reader to know –  1) that it was some time after Nehemiah’s prayer that his conversation with the king in verses 2-8 took place, and he was permitted to go to Judah to rebuild the wall, and 2) that it was the work of the Lord in answer to his prayer (verse 8).

Armed with letters to show the governors – who probably were instrumental in persuading Artaxerxes to halt building on the wall previously (Ezra 4:7-12), and permission to obtain timber and supplies (verse 8), he arrives some time later.  When he did, his possession of the authority of the king could not be in question, as he was escorted by officers of the king and horsemen (verse 9).  He inspected the wall, telling no one of his intentions while doing so, as verse 10 already hints at opposition.   When Nehemiah did make the work known to the priests, nobles, and officials, he made it clear not only that he had the king’s blessing, but also spoke “of the hand of my God that had been upon me for good.”  In verse 20, addressing the opposition (as for Tobiah, the Ammonites were Israel’s very long-term enemies), he distinguished between God’s people and those in opposition.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.


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