Nehemiah 2:2
Parallel Verses
New International Version
so the king asked me, "Why does your face look so sad when you are not ill? This can be nothing but sadness of heart." I was very much afraid,

New Living Translation
So the king asked me, "Why are you looking so sad? You don't look sick to me. You must be deeply troubled." Then I was terrified,

English Standard Version
And the king said to me, “Why is your face sad, seeing you are not sick? This is nothing but sadness of the heart.” Then I was very much afraid.

New American Standard Bible
So 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.

King James Bible
Wherefore the king said unto me, Why is thy countenance sad, seeing thou art not sick? this is nothing else but sorrow of heart. Then I was very sore afraid,

Holman Christian Standard Bible
so the king said to me, "Why are you sad, when you aren't sick? This is nothing but depression." I was overwhelmed with fear

International Standard Version
The king asked me, "Why do you look so troubled, since you're not ill? This cannot be anything else but troubles of the heart." Then I was filled with fear.

NET Bible
So the king said to me, "Why do you appear to be depressed when you aren't sick? What can this be other than sadness of heart?" This made me very fearful.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
The king asked me, "Why do you look so sad? You aren't sick, are you? You must be troubled about something." (I was really afraid.)

Jubilee Bible 2000
the king said unto me, Why is thy countenance sad, seeing thou art not sick? This is nothing else but brokenness of heart. Then I was very sore afraid

King James 2000 Bible
Therefore the king said unto me, Why is your countenance sad, seeing you are not sick? this is nothing else but sorrow of heart. Then I was very much afraid,

American King James Version
Why the king said to me, Why is your countenance sad, seeing you are not sick? this is nothing else but sorrow of heart. Then I was very sore afraid,

American Standard Version
And the king said unto me, Why is thy countenance sad, seeing thou art not sick? this is nothing else but sorrow of heart. Then I was very sore afraid.

Douay-Rheims Bible
And the king said to me: Why is thy countenance sad, seeing thou dost not appear to be sick? this is not without cause, but some evil, I know not what, is in thy heart. And I was seized with an exceeding great fear:

Darby Bible Translation
And the king said to me, Why is thy face sad, seeing thou art not sick? this is nothing else but sadness of heart. And I was very sore afraid.

English Revised Version
And the king said unto me, Why is thy countenance sad, seeing thou art not sick? this is nothing else but sorrow of heart. Then I was very sore afraid.

Webster's Bible Translation
Wherefore the king said to me, Why is thy countenance sad, seeing thou art not sick? this is nothing but sorrow of heart. Then I was very greatly afraid,

World English Bible
The king said to me, "Why is your face sad, since you are not sick? This is nothing else but sorrow of heart." Then I was very much afraid.

Young's Literal Translation
and the king saith to me, 'Wherefore is thy face sad, and thou not sick? this is nothing except sadness of heart;' and I fear very much,
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

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.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 2. - The king said unto me, Why is thy countenance sad? This "kindly question" put by the great king to his humble retainer is his best claim to the favourable judgment of later ages. History puts him before us as a weak monarch, one who could compromise the royal dignity by making terms with a revolted subject, while he disgraced it by breaking faith with a conquered enemy. But if weak as a king, as a man he was kind-hearted and gentle. Few Persian monarchs would have been sufficiently interested in their attendants to notice whether they were sad or no; fewer still would have shown sympathy on such an occasion. A Xerxes might have ordered the culprit to instant execution. Longimanus feels compassion, and wishes to assuage the grief of his servant. Then I was very sore afraid. Notwithstanding the king's kind and compassionate words, Nehemiah feels his danger. He has looked sad in the king's presence. He is about to ask permission to quit the court. These are both sins against the fundamental doctrine of Persian court life, that to bask in the light of the royal countenance is the height of felicity. Will the king be displeased, refuse his request, dismiss him from his post, cast him into prison, or will he pardon his rudeness and allow his request?

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

Wherefore the king said unto me, why is thy countenance sad, seeing thou art not sick?.... He had no disorder upon him to change his countenance and make him sorrowful, and therefore asks what should be the reason of it:

this is nothing else but sorrow of heart; this is not owing to any bodily disease or pain, but some inward trouble of mind; or "wickedness of heart" (p), some ill design in his mind, which being conscious of, and thoughtful about, was discovered in his countenance; he suspected, as Jarchi intimates, a design to kill him, by putting poison into his cup:

then I was very sore afraid; lest the king should have suspicion of an ill design on him; or lest, since he must be obliged to give the true reason, he should not succeed in his request, it being so large, and perhaps many about the king were no friends to the Jews.

(p) , Sept. "malum nescio quod in corde tuo est", V. L.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

2-5. the king said unto me, Why is thy countenance sad?—It was deemed highly unbecoming to appear in the royal presence with any weeds or signs of sorrow (Es 4:2); and hence it was no wonder that the king was struck with the dejected air of his cupbearer, while that attendant, on his part, felt his agitation increased by his deep anxiety about the issue of the conversation so abruptly begun. But the piety and intense earnestness of the man immediately restored [Nehemiah] to calm self-possession and enabled him to communicate, first, the cause of his sadness (Ne 2:3), and next, the patriotic wish of his heart to be the honored instrument of reviving the ancient glory of the city of his fathers.

Nehemiah 2:2 Additional Commentaries
Context
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. 3I said to the king, "Let the king live forever. Why should my face not be sad when the city, the place of my fathers' tombs, lies desolate and its gates have been consumed by fire?"…
Cross References
Genesis 40:7
So he asked Pharaoh's officials who were in custody with him in his master's house, "Why do you look so sad today?"

Proverbs 15:13
A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit.
Treasury of Scripture

Why the king said to me, Why is your countenance sad, seeing you are not sick? this is nothing else but sorrow of heart. Then I was very sore afraid,

Why is thy

Genesis 40:7 And he asked Pharaoh's officers that were with him in the ward of …

sorrow

Proverbs 15:13 A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the …

Then I (Probably the king spoke as if he had some suspicion that Nehemiah harboured some bad design, and that his face indicated some conceived treachery, or remorse; and, indeed, the words rendered sad, and sorrow of heart, might be rendered evil, and wickedness of heart.)

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