Nehemiah 2:1
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
In the month of Nisan in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was brought for him, I took the wine and gave it to the king. I had not been sad in his presence before,

New Living Translation
Early the following spring, in the month of Nisan, during the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes' reign, I was serving the king his wine. I had never before appeared sad in his presence.

English Standard Version
In the month of Nisan, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was before him, I took up the wine and gave it to the king. Now I had not been sad in his presence.

New American Standard Bible
And it came about in the month Nisan, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, that wine was before him, and I took up the wine and gave it to the king. Now I had not been sad in his presence.

King James Bible
And it came to pass in the month Nisan, in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes the king, that wine was before him: and I took up the wine, and gave it unto the king. Now I had not been beforetime sad in his presence.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
During the month of Nisan in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was set before him, I took the wine and gave it to the king. I had never been sad in his presence,

International Standard Version
It came about in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes, during the month of Nissan, the king was about to drink some wine that I was preparing for him. Now I had never looked troubled in his presence.

NET Bible
Then in the month of Nisan, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was brought to me, I took the wine and gave it to the king. Previously I had not been depressed in the king's presence.

New Heart English Bible
It happened in the month Nisan, in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes the king, when wine was before him, that I took up the wine, and gave it to the king. Now I had not been sad before in his presence.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
In the month of Nisan, in Artaxerxes' twentieth year as king, after some wine was brought for the king, I picked up the cup of wine and gave it to the king. I had never been sad in his presence before.

JPS Tanakh 1917
And it came to pass in the month Nisan, in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes the king, when wine was before him, that I took up the wine, and gave it unto the king. Now I had not been beforetime sad in his presence.

New American Standard 1977
And it came about in the month Nisan, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, that wine was before him, and I took up the wine and gave it to the king. Now I had not been sad in his presence.

Jubilee Bible 2000
And it came to pass in the month Nisan, in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes, the king, that as wine was before him, I took up the wine and gave it unto the king. And as I had not been sad before in his presence,

King James 2000 Bible
And it came to pass in the month Nisan, in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes the king, that wine was before him: and I took up the wine, and gave it unto the king. Now I had never been sad before in his presence.

American King James Version
And it came to pass in the month Nisan, in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes the king, that wine was before him: and I took up the wine, and gave it to the king. Now I had not been beforetime sad in his presence.

American Standard Version
And it came to pass in the month Nisan, in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes the king, when wine was before him, that I took up the wine, and gave it unto the king. Now I had not been beforetime'sad in his presence.

Douay-Rheims Bible
And it came to pass in the month of Nisan, in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes the king: that wine was before him, and I took up the wine, and gave it to the king: and I was as one languishing away before his face.

Darby Bible Translation
And it came to pass in the month Nisan, in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes the king, [that] wine was before him, and I took up the wine and gave it to the king. Now, I had never been sad in his presence.

English Revised Version
And it came to pass in the month Nisan, in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes the king, when wine was before him, that I took up the wine, and gave it unto the king. Now I had not been beforetime sad in his presence.

Webster's Bible Translation
And it came to pass in the month Nisan, in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes the king, that wine was before him: and I took up the wine, and gave it to the king. Now I had not before been sad in his presence.

World English Bible
It happened in the month Nisan, in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes the king, when wine was before him, that I took up the wine, and gave it to the king. Now I had not been [before] sad in his presence.

Young's Literal Translation
And it cometh to pass, in the month of Nisan, the twentieth year of Artaxerxes the king, wine is before him, and I lift up the wine, and give to the king, and I had not been sad before him;
Study Bible
Nehemiah Sent to Jerusalem
1And it came about in the month Nisan, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, that wine was before him, and I took up the wine and gave it to the king. Now I had not been sad in his presence. 2So the king said to me, "Why is your face sad though you are not sick? This is nothing but sadness of heart." Then I was very much afraid.…
Cross References
Ezra 7:1
Now after these things, in the reign of Artaxerxes king of Persia, there went up Ezra son of Seraiah, son of Azariah, son of Hilkiah,

Nehemiah 1:1
The words of Nehemiah the son of Hacaliah. Now it happened in the month Chislev, in the twentieth year, while I was in Susa the capitol,

Nehemiah 1:11
"O Lord, I beseech You, may Your ear be attentive to the prayer of Your servant and the prayer of Your servants who delight to revere Your name, and make Your servant successful today and grant him compassion before this man." Now I was the cupbearer to the king.

Daniel 9:25
"So you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; it will be built again, with plaza and moat, even in times of distress.
Treasury of Scripture

And it came to pass in the month Nisan, in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes the king, that wine was before him: and I took up the wine, and gave it to the king. Now I had not been beforetime sad in his presence.

Nisan

Esther 3:7 In the first month, that is, the month Nisan, in the twelfth year …

the twentieth

Nehemiah 1:1 The words of Nehemiah the son of Hachaliah. And it came to pass in …

Ezra 7:1,7 Now after these things, in the reign of Artaxerxes king of Persia, …

I took up

Nehemiah 1:11 O LORD, I beseech you, let now your ear be attentive to the prayer …

Genesis 40:11,21 And Pharaoh's cup was in my hand: and I took the grapes, and pressed …

II.

(1-8) Nehemiah's appeal to the king.

(1) Nisan.--The old Abib, the first month of the Jewish year, following the vernal equinox. As we are still in the twentieth year of the king, the beginning of his reign must be dated before Chisleu. The record adopts Persian dates, and the two months fell in one year.

Verse 1. - In the month Nisan. The fourth month after Chisleu, corresponding nearly to our April. How it came about that Nehemiah did not put the king's favour to the proof until more than three months had gone by we can only conjecture. Perhaps the court had been absent from Susa, passing the winter at Babylon, as it sometimes did, and he had not accompanied it. Perhaps, though present at the court, he had not been called on to discharge his office, his turn not having arrived. Possibly, though performing his duties from time to time, he had found no opportunity of unbosoming himself, the king not having noticed his grief. He. may even have done his best to conceal it, for Persian subjects were expected to be perfectly happy in the presence of their king. He had probably formed no plan, but waited in the confident hope that God's providence would so order events, that some occasion would arise whereof he might take advantage. In the twentieth year of Artaxerxes. Like Daniel, Zechariah, Haggai, and Ezra, Nehemiah dates events by the regnal year of the existing Persian king. His Artaxerxes is, by common consent, the same as Ezra's, and can scarcely be supposed to be any monarch but Longimanus, who reigned from B.C. 465 to B.C. 425. Now I had not been beforetime sad in his presence. Other renderings have been proposed, but this is probably the true meaning. Hitherto I had always worn a cheerful countenance before him - now it was otherwise - my sorrow showed itself in spite of me. And it came to pass in the month Nisan; in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes,.... It was still but in the twentieth year of his reign; for though Nisan or March was the first month of the year with the Jews, and from whence the reigns of their kings were dated (l); yet, with other nations, Tisri or September was the beginning of the reigns of their kings (m); so that Chisleu or November being since, see Nehemiah 1:1, it was no more in Nisan or March than the twentieth of the said king's reign, and was three or four months after Nehemiah had first heard of the distress of his people; which time he either purposely spent in fasting and prayer on that account, or until now his turn did not come about to exercise his office, in waiting upon the king as his cupbearer: but now it was

that wine was before him; the king; it was brought and set in a proper place, from whence it might be taken for his use:

and I took up the wine, and gave it to the king; according to Xenophon (n), the cupbearer with the Persians and Medes used to take the wine out of the vessels into the cup, and pour some of it into their left hand, and sup it up, that, if there was any poison in it, the king might not be harmed, and then he delivered it to him upon three fingers (o):

now I had not been before time sad in his presence; but always pleasant and cheerful, so that the sadness of his countenance was the more taken notice of.

(l) Misn. Roshhashanah, c. 1. sect. 3.((m) T. Bab. Rashhashanah, fol. 3. 1. (n) Cyropaedia, l. 1. c. 11. (o) Vid. Heliodor. Ethiopic. l. 7. c. 27. CHAPTER 2

Ne 2:1-20. Artaxerxes, Understanding the Cause of Nehemiah's Sadness, Sends Him with Letters and a Commission to Build Again the Walls of Jerusalem.

1. it came to pass in the month Nisan—This was nearly four months after he had learned the desolate and ruinous state of Jerusalem (Ne 1:1). The reasons for so long a delay cannot be ascertained.

I took up the wine, and gave it unto the king—Xenophon has particularly remarked about the polished and graceful manner in which the cupbearers of the Median, and consequently the Persian, monarchs performed their duty of presenting the wine to their royal master. Having washed the cup in the king's presence and poured into their left hand a little of the wine, which they drank in his presence, they then handed the cup to him, not grasped, but lightly held with the tips of their thumb and fingers. This description has received some curious illustrations from the monuments of Assyria and Persia, on which the cupbearers are frequently represented in the act of handing wine to the king.2:1-8 Our prayers must be seconded with serious endeavours, else we mock God. We are not limited to certain moments in our addresses to the King of kings, but have liberty to go to him at all times; approaches to the throne of grace are never out of season. But the sense of God's displeasure and the afflictions of his people, are causes of sorrow to the children of God, under which no earthly delights can comfort. The king encouraged Nehemiah to tell his mind. This gave him boldness to speak; much more may the invitation Christ has given us to pray, and the promise that we shall speed, encourage us to come boldly to the throne of grace. Nehemiah prayed to the God of heaven, as infinitely above even this mighty monarch. He lifted up his heart to that God who understands the language of the heart. Nor should we ever engage in any pursuit in which it would be wrong for us thus to seek and expect the Divine direction, assistance, and blessing. There was an immediate answer to his prayer; for the seed of Jacob never sought the God of Jacob in vain.
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