Nehemiah 1:4
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.

New Living Translation
When I heard this, I sat down and wept. In fact, for days I mourned, fasted, and prayed to the God of heaven.

English Standard Version
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.

New American Standard Bible
When I heard these words, I sat down and wept and mourned for days; and I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven.

King James Bible
And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven,

Holman Christian Standard Bible
When I heard these words, I sat down and wept. I mourned for a number of days, fasting and praying before the God of heaven.

International Standard Version
When I heard this, I sat down and cried, mourning for a number of days while I fasted and prayed in the presence of the God of Heaven.

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

New Heart English Bible
It happened, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days; and I fasted and prayed before the God of heaven,

GOD'S WORD® Translation
When I heard this, I sat down and cried. I mourned for days. I continued to fast and pray to the God of heaven.

JPS Tanakh 1917
And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days; and I fasted and prayed before the God of heaven,

New American Standard 1977
Now it came about when I heard these words, I sat down and wept and mourned for days; and I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven.

Jubilee Bible 2000
And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept and mourned certain days and fasted and prayed before the God of the heavens

King James 2000 Bible
And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven,

American King James Version
And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven,

American Standard Version
And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days; and I fasted and prayed before the God of heaven,

Douay-Rheims Bible
And when I had heard these words, I sat down, and wept, and mourned for many days: and I fasted, and prayed before the face of the God of heaven.

Darby Bible Translation
And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat and wept, and mourned for days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of the heavens,

English Revised Version
And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days; and I fasted and prayed before the God of heaven,

Webster's Bible Translation
And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven,

World English Bible
It happened, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days; and I fasted and prayed before the God of heaven,

Young's Literal Translation
And it cometh to pass, at my hearing these words, I have sat down, and I weep and mourn for days, and I am fasting and praying before the God of the heavens.
Study Bible
Nehemiah's Prayer
3They said to me, "The remnant there in the province who survived the captivity are in great distress and reproach, and the wall of Jerusalem is broken down and its gates are burned with fire." 4When I heard these words, I sat down and wept and mourned for days; and I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven. 5I said, "I beseech You, O LORD God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who preserves the covenant and lovingkindness for those who love Him and keep His commandments,…
Cross References
2 Samuel 12:16
David therefore inquired of God for the child; and David fasted and went and lay all night on the ground.

Ezra 9:3
When I heard about this matter, I tore my garment and my robe, and pulled some of the hair from my head and my beard, and sat down appalled.

Ezra 10:1
Now while Ezra was praying and making confession, weeping and prostrating himself before the house of God, a very large assembly, men, women and children, gathered to him from Israel; for the people wept bitterly.

Nehemiah 2:4
Then the king said to me, "What would you request?" So I prayed to the God of heaven.

Psalm 136:26
Give thanks to the God of heaven, For His lovingkindness is everlasting.

Psalm 137:1
By the rivers of Babylon, There we sat down and wept, When we remembered Zion.

Daniel 10:2
In those days, I, Daniel, had been mourning for three entire weeks.

Jonah 1:9
He said to them, "I am a Hebrew, and I fear the LORD God of heaven who made the sea and the dry land."
Treasury of Scripture

And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven,

I sat down

1 Samuel 4:17-22 And the messenger answered and said, Israel is fled before the Philistines, …

Ezra 10:1 Now when Ezra had prayed, and when he had confessed, weeping and …

Psalm 69:9,10 For the zeal of your house has eaten me up; and the reproaches of …

Psalm 102:13,14 You shall arise, and have mercy on Zion: for the time to favor her, …

Psalm 137:1 By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yes, we wept, when we …

Daniel 9:3 And I set my face to the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, …

Zephaniah 3:18 I will gather them that are sorrowful for the solemn assembly, who …

Romans 12:15 Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.

the God

Nehemiah 2:4 Then the king said to me, For what do you make request? So I prayed …

Ezra 5:11,12 And thus they returned us answer, saying, We are the servants of …

Daniel 2:18 That they would desire mercies of the God of heaven concerning this secret…

Jonah 1:9 And he said to them, I am an Hebrew; and I fear the LORD, the God …

(4-11) Nehemiah's appeal to God. The prayer is a perfect example of the private and individual devotion with which the later Hebrew Scriptures abound. It begins with formal and appropriate invocation (Nehemiah 1:5-8), flows into earnest confession (Nehemiah 1:6-7), pleads the covenant promises (Nehemiah 1:8-10), and supplicates a present answer (Nehemiah 1:11). The extant Scriptures, freely used, are the foundation of all.

(4) Fasted.--Like Daniel, Esther, and Ezra, Nehemiah fasted: fasting appears in later Judaism a prominent part of individual devotion, as it is in the New Testament.

(6) Both I and my father's house have sinned.--The supplication was for the nation; and in such cases of personal intercession the individual assumes the sin of all the past.

(8) The spirit of many threatenings and promises is summed up, as in the prayer of Nehemiah 9.

(11) This day . . . this man.--During his "certain days" of mourning Nehemiah had fixed upon his plan, suggested by his God. "This day" is "this occasion": the appeal itself was deferred for some months. The king becomes "this man" in the presence of the "God of heaven."

For I was the king's cupbearer.--One of his cupbearers, therefore in high authority, having confidential access to him.

Verse 4. - When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. The revelation of the actual condition of Jerusalem came upon Nehemiah with a shock. He had perhaps not thought much upon the subject before; he had had no means of exact information; he had supposed the city flourishing under the superintendence of Ezra, whose piety and patriotism were no doubt known to him. It was a bitter grief to him to find that his people were still "a reproach to their neighbours," laughed to scorn by those whose walls had never been destroyed, or who had been allowed to rebuild them. And he may have felt that his city, under the circumstances of the time, was in real danger. As Dean Stanley observes - "In those days rather one may say m those countries of disorder, a city without locked gates and lofty walls was no city at all" ('Lectures on the Jewish Church,' Third Series, p. 124). A few years previously Egypt had been in revolt; she might revolt again, and carry her arms into Syria. Arab tribes from the desert might extend their raids into Judaea, and be tempted by the known value of the temple treasures to swoop upon the unwalled town. Such thoughts occurring to an excitable Oriental, produced not grief and anxiety merely, but a flood of tears (comp. Ezra 10:1). And fasted. Fasting had become a frequent practice among the Jews during the captivity. Solemn fasts had been introduced on the anniversaries of the taking of Jerusalem, the burning of the temple, and the murder of Gedaliah (Zechariah 8:19). Fasting had also taken a prominent place in the devotions of individuals. Daniel fasted (Daniel 9:3; Daniel 10:3); Esther fasted (Esther 4:16); Ezra fasted (Ezra 10:6); and now Nehemiah fasted. On the grounds of natural piety out of which the practice arises, see the comment on Ezra 10:6. The God of heaven. See the comment on Ezra 1:2. And it came to pass, when I heard these words,.... This sad and melancholy account of things:

that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days; sat down upon the ground in dust and ashes, after the manner of mourners, and wept bitterly, and mourned in a most sorrowful manner, see Job 2:8,

and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven; that made it, and dwells in it. Ne 1:4-11. His Prayer.

4. when I heard these words, that I sat down … and mourned … and fasted, and prayed—The recital deeply affected the patriotic feelings of this good man, and no comfort could he find but in earnest and protracted prayer, that God would favor the purpose, which he seems to have secretly formed, of asking the royal permission to go to Jerusalem.1:15-44 The best reformers can but do their endeavour; when the Redeemer himself shall come to Zion, he shall effectually turn away ungodliness from Jacob. And when sin is repented of and forsaken, God will forgive it; but the blood of Christ, our Sin-offering, is the only atonement which takes away our guilt. No seeming repentance or amendment will benefit those who reject Him, for self-dependence proves them still unhumbled. All the names written in the book of life, are those of penitent sinners, not of self-righteous persons, who think they have no need of repentance.
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