Nehemiah 2:4
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
Then the king said to me, “What are you requesting?” So I prayed to the God of heaven.

King James Bible
Then the king said unto me, For what dost thou make request? So I prayed to the God of heaven.

American Standard Version
Then the king said unto me, For what dost thou make request? So I prayed to the God of heaven.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Then the king said to me: For what dost thou make request? And I prayed to the God of heaven,

English Revised Version
Then the king said unto me, For what dost thou make request? So I prayed to the God of heaven.

Webster's Bible Translation
Then the king said to me, For what dost thou make request? So I prayed to the God of heaven.

Nehemiah 2:4 Parallel
Commentary
Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament

With his confession of grievous transgression, Nehemiah combines the petition that the Lord would be mindful of His word declared by Moses, that if His people, whom He had scattered among the heathen for their sins, should turn to Him and keep His commandments, He would gather them from all places where He had scattered them, and bring them back to the place which He had chosen to place His name there. This word (הדּבר) he designates, as that which God had commanded to His servant Moses, inasmuch as it formed a part of that covenant law which was prescribed to the Israelites as their rule of life. The matter of this word is introduced by לאמר: ye transgress, I will scatter; i.e., if ye transgress by revolting from me, I will scatter you among the nations, - and ye turn to me and keep my commandments (i.e., if ye turn to me and ... ), if there were of you cast out to the end of heaven (i.e., to the most distant regions where the end of heaven touches the earth), thence will I gather you, etc. נדּח, pat. Niphal, with a collective meaning, cast-out ones, like Deuteronomy 30:4. These words are no verbal quotation, but a free summary, in which Nehemiah had Deuteronomy 30:1-5 chiefly in view, of what God had proclaimed in the law of Moses concerning the dispersion of His people among the heathen if they sinned against Him, and of their return to the land of their fathers if they repented and turned to Him. The clause: if the cast-out ones were at the end of heaven, etc., stands verbally in Nehemiah 1:4. The last words, Nehemiah 1:9, "(I will bring them) to the place which I have chosen, that my name may dwell there," are a special application of the general promise of the law to the present case. Jerusalem is meant, where the Lord caused His name to dwell in the temple; comp. Deuteronomy 12:11. The entreaty to remember this word and to fulfil it, seems ill adapted to existing circumstances, for a portion of the people were already brought back to Jerusalem; and Nehemiah's immediate purpose was to pray, not for the return of those still sojourning among the heathen, but for the removal of the affliction and reproach resting on those who were now at Jerusalem. Still less appropriate seems the citation of the words: If ye transgress, I will scatter you among the nations. It must, however, be remembered that Nehemiah is not so much invoking the divine compassion as the righteousness and faithfulness of a covenant God, the great and terrible God that keepeth covenant and mercy (Nehemiah 1:5). Now this, God had shown Himself to be, by fulfilling the threats of His law that He would scatter His faithless and transgressing people among the nations. Thus His fulfilment of this one side of the covenant strengthened the hope that God would also keep His other covenant word to His people who turned to Him, viz., that He would bring them again to the land of their fathers, to the place of His gracious presence. Hence the reference to the dispersion of the nation among the heathen, forms the actual substructure for the request that so much of the promise as yet remained unfulfilled might come to pass. Nehemiah, moreover, views this promise in the full depth of its import, as securing to Israel not merely an external return to their native land, but their restoration as a community, in the midst of whom the Lord had His dwelling, and manifested Himself as the defence and refuge of His people. To the re-establishment of this covenant relation very much was still wanting. Those who had returned from captivity had indeed settled in the land of their fathers; and the temple in which they might worship God with sacrifices, according to the law, was rebuilt at Jerusalem. But notwithstanding all this, Jerusalem, with its ruined walls and burned gates, was still like a city lying waste, and exposed to attacks of all kinds; while the inhabitants of Jerusalem and the cities of Judah were loaded with shame and contempt by their heathen neighbours. In this sense, Jerusalem was not yet restored, and the community dwelling therein not yet brought to the place where the name of the Lord dwelt. In this respect, the promise that Jahve would again manifest Himself to His repentant people as the God of the covenant was still unfulfilled, and the petition that He would gather His people to the place which He had chosen to put His name there, i.e., to manifest Himself according to His nature, as testified in His covenant (Exodus 34:6-7), quite justifiable. In Nehemiah 1:10 Nehemiah supports his petition by the words: And these (now dwelling in Judah and Jerusalem) are Thy servants and Thy people whom Thou hast redeemed, etc. His servants who worship Him in His temple, His people whom He has redeemed from Egypt by His great power and by His strong arm, God cannot leave in affliction and reproach. The words: "redeemed with great power" ... are reminiscences from Deuteronomy 7:8; Deuteronomy 9:26, Deuteronomy 9:29, and other passages in the Pentateuch, and refer to the deliverance from Egypt.

Nehemiah 2:4 Parallel Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

For what

1 Kings 3:5 In Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night: and God said, Ask what I shall give you.

Esther 5:3,6 Then said the king to her, What will you, queen Esther? and what is your request...

Esther 7:2 And the king said again to Esther on the second day at the banquet of wine, What is your petition, queen Esther?...

Mark 10:51 And Jesus answered and said to him, What will you that I should do to you? The blind man said to him, Lord...

So I prayed

Nehemiah 1:4,11 And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted...

2 Samuel 15:31 And one told David, saying, Ahithophel is among the conspirators with Absalom. And David said, O LORD, I pray you...

Proverbs 3:6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct your paths.

Philippians 4:6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

Cross References
Nehemiah 1:4
As soon as I heard these words I sat down and wept and mourned for days, and I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven.

Nehemiah 2:5
And I said to the king, "If it pleases the king, and if your servant has found favor in your sight, that you send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers' graves, that I may rebuild it."

Nehemiah 2:20
Then I replied to them, "The God of heaven will make us prosper, and we his servants will arise and build, but you have no portion or right or claim in Jerusalem."

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ESV Text Edition: 2016. The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
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