Nehemiah 2:3
Parallel Verses
New International Version
but I said to the king, "May the king live forever! Why should my face not look sad when the city where my ancestors are buried lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire?"

New Living Translation
but I replied, "Long live the king! How can I not be sad? For the city where my ancestors are buried is in ruins, and the gates have been destroyed by fire."

English Standard Version
I said to the king, “Let the king live forever! Why should not my face be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers’ graves, lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire?”

New American Standard Bible
I 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?"

King James Bible
And said unto the king, Let the king live for ever: why should not my countenance be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers' sepulchres, lieth waste, and the gates thereof are consumed with fire?

Holman Christian Standard Bible
and replied to the king, "May the king live forever! Why should I not be sad when the city where my ancestors are buried lies in ruins and its gates have been destroyed by fire?"

International Standard Version
I replied to the king, "May the king live forever. Why shouldn't I be troubled, since the city where my ancestral sepulchers are located lies waste, with its gates burned by fire?"

NET Bible
I replied to the king, "O king, live forever! Why would I not appear dejected when the city with the graves of my ancestors lies desolate and its gates destroyed by fire?"

GOD'S WORD® Translation
"May the king live forever!" I said to the king. "Why shouldn't I look sad when the city, the place where my ancestors are buried, is in ruins and its gates are burned down?"

Jubilee Bible 2000
and said unto the king, Let the king live for ever; why should not my countenance be sad, when the city, the house of my fathers' sepulchres, lies waste, and its gates are consumed with fire?

King James 2000 Bible
And said unto the king, Let the king live forever: why should not my countenance be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers' sepulchers, lies waste, and the gates thereof are consumed with fire?

American King James Version
And said to the king, Let the king live for ever: why should not my countenance be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers' sepulchers, lies waste, and the gates thereof are consumed with fire?

American Standard Version
And I said unto the king, Let the king live for ever: why should not my countenance be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers'sepulchres, lieth waste, and the gates thereof are consumed with fire?

Douay-Rheims Bible
And I said to the king: O king, live for ever: why should not my countenance be sorrowful, seeing the city of the place of the sepulchres of my fathers is desolate, and the gates thereof are burnt with fire?

Darby Bible Translation
And I said to the king, Let the king live for ever! Why should not my countenance be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers' sepulchres, lies waste, and its gates are consumed with fire?

English Revised Version
And I said unto the king, Let the king live for ever: why should not my countenance be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers' sepulchres, lieth waste, and the gates thereof are consumed with fire?

Webster's Bible Translation
And said to the king, Let the king live for ever: why should not my countenance be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers' sepulchers, lieth waste, and its gates are consumed with fire?

World English Bible
I said to the king, "Let the king live forever! Why shouldn't my face be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers' tombs, lies waste, and its gates have been consumed with fire?"

Young's Literal Translation
and say to the king, 'Let the king to the age live! wherefore should not my face be sad, when the city, the place of the graves of my fathers, is a waste, and its gates have been consumed with fire?'
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 3. - May the king live for ever. A common form of Oriental compliment (1 Kings 1:31; Daniel 2:4; Daniel 3:9, etc. ), but said now with special intention to conciliate, and meant to express a deep interest in the royal life and person. The city, the place of my fathers' sepulchres. We see by this that Nehemiah's family must have belonged to the capital. The Persians, like the Jews, had a great respect for the tomb, and regarded its violation with horror. Artaxerxes would naturally sympathise with the wish of his follower to give security to the city where his ancestors were interred. It would seem that the Persians generally at this time (Herod., 1:140), the kings certainly ('Ancient Monarchies,' vol. 3. p. 231, second edition), buried their dead. Lieth waste. Nehemiah's warmth of feeling exaggerates the fact; but he may have been unconscious of the exaggeration. He repeats the phrase to the chief men of Jerusalem after making his survey of the wall (ver. 17).

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

And I said unto the king, let the king live for ever,.... Which some think he said to take off the king's suspicion of his having a design upon his life, though it seems to be a common salutation of the kings in those times, see Daniel 6:6,

why should not my countenance be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers' sepulchres, lieth waste, and the gates thereof are consumed with fire? a man's native place, and where his ancestors lie interred, being always reckoned near and dear, the king and his nobles could not object to his being concerned for the desolations thereof.



Nehemiah 2:3 Additional Commentaries
Context
Nehemiah Sent to Jerusalem
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?" 4Then the king said to me, "What would you request?" So I prayed to the God of heaven.…
Cross References
Leviticus 26:31
I will turn your cities into ruins and lay waste your sanctuaries, and I will take no delight in the pleasing aroma of your offerings.

2 Kings 25:8
On the seventh day of the fifth month, in the nineteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, Nebuzaradan commander of the imperial guard, an official of the king of Babylon, came to Jerusalem.

2 Chronicles 36:19
They set fire to God's temple and broke down the wall of Jerusalem; they burned all the palaces and destroyed everything of value there.

Nehemiah 1:3
They said to me, "Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire."

Nehemiah 2:13
By night I went out through the Valley Gate toward the Jackal Well and the Dung Gate, examining the walls of Jerusalem, which had been broken down, and its gates, which had been destroyed by fire.

Psalm 137:6
May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth if I do not remember you, if I do not consider Jerusalem my highest joy.

Jeremiah 52:12
On the tenth day of the fifth month, in the nineteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, Nebuzaradan commander of the imperial guard, who served the king of Babylon, came to Jerusalem.

Daniel 2:4
Then the astrologers answered the king, "May the king live forever! Tell your servants the dream, and we will interpret it."

Daniel 6:6
So these administrators and satraps went as a group to the king and said: "May King Darius live forever!
Treasury of Scripture

And said to the king, Let the king live for ever: why should not my countenance be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers' sepulchers, lies waste, and the gates thereof are consumed with fire?

Let the king (Far from wishing ill to my master, I wish him to live for ever.)

1 Kings 1:31 Then Bathsheba bowed with her face to the earth, and did reverence …

Daniel 2:4 Then spoke the Chaldeans to the king in Syriack, O king, live for …

Daniel 3:9 They spoke and said to the king Nebuchadnezzar, O king, live for ever.

Daniel 5:10 Now the queen by reason of the words of the king and his lords came …

Daniel 6:6,21 Then these presidents and princes assembled together to the king, …

the city

Nehemiah 1:3 And they said to me, The remnant that are left of the captivity there …

Psalm 102:14 For your servants take pleasure in her stones, and favor the dust thereof.

Psalm 137:6 If I do not remember you, let my tongue stick to the roof of my mouth; …

Lamentations 2:9 Her gates are sunk into the ground; he has destroyed and broken her …

the place

2 Chronicles 21:20 Thirty and two years old was he when he began to reign, and he reigned …

2 Chronicles 28:27 And Ahaz slept with his fathers, and they buried him in the city, …

2 Chronicles 32:33 And Hezekiah slept with his fathers, and they buried him in the most …

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