Nehemiah 1:6
Let thine ear now be attentive, and thine eyes open, that thou mayest hear the prayer of thy servant, which I pray before thee now, day and night, for the children of Israel thy servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel, which we have sinned against thee: both I and my father's house have sinned.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Nehemiah 1:6. Which I pray before thee night and day — He refers to all the prayers which he had for some time been addressing to God, during his sorrow for the desolations of 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.The God of heaven - This title of the Almighty, which is Persian rather than Jewish (see 2 Chronicles 36:23; Ezra 1:2 note; Ezra 6:10; Ezra 7:12, Ezra 7:21), is a favorite one with Nehemiah, who had been born and brought up in Persia. 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.

No text from Poole on this verse.

Let thine ear be now attentive,.... To his prayer, as in Nehemiah 1:11,

and thine eyes open; to behold with pity and compassion the distressed case of Jerusalem, and the Jews in it:

I pray before thee now, day and night, for the children of Israel thy servants; this he had continued to do ever since he heard of their trouble and calamity:

and confess the sins of the children of Israel, which we have sinned against thee: both I and my father's house have sinned; he considered sin as the cause of all this evil that had befallen his people, and confesses it with sorrow and humiliation, and not their sins only, but his own personal and family sins.

Let thine ear now be attentive, and thine eyes open, that thou mayest hear the prayer of thy servant, which I pray before thee now, day and night, for the children of Israel thy servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel, which we have sinned against thee: both I and my father's house have sinned.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
6. The humble access leading to the confession of sin.

let thine ear now be attentive] The word ‘attentive’ is not very common in the original. It occurs again in Nehemiah 1:11, in Psalm 130:2. And with the rendering ‘attent’ (A.V. and R.V.) in 2 Chronicles 6:40; 2 Chronicles 7:15. The LXX. renders πρόσεχον.

and thine eyes open] We should expect this clause to come first, as in 2 Chronicles 6:40; 2 Chronicles 7:15. We need not however supply the words ‘to the misery of thy people’ or ‘to him that prayeth.’ A similar passage in 1 Kings 8:52, ‘that thine eyes may be open unto the supplication of thy servant,’ shows that the metaphor is not to be pressed too literally.

hear] R.V. hearken unto. An alteration due to the wish to give the full force of the Hebrew. ‘Thy servant.’ Compare 1 Samuel 3:9-10; 1 Samuel 23:10; 2 Samuel 7:20.

now, day and night] R.V. at this time, day and night. Literally, ‘this day, day and night,’ cf. Nehemiah 1:11. ‘At this time’ then refers to the ‘certain days’ mentioned in Nehemiah 1:4 : it does not mean that he went into the presence of the king on the day of this prayer.

The Vulgate ‘hodie nocte et die.’ Cf. Acts 20:31 ‘night and day with tears.’

for the children of Israel thy servants] i.e. in their behalf. In spite of their sin and disobedience, the children of Israel are still God’s servants, cf. Leviticus 25:55; Isaiah 63:17. The exact phrase used here does not occur elsewhere. But the permanent ideal relation, in spite of all failure or rebellion, is frequently expressed in the prophets; cf. ‘Jacob, my servant,’ used in Isaiah (Isaiah 41:8; Isaiah 44:2 &c.), Jeremiah (Jeremiah 30:10; Jeremiah 46:27-28), Ezekiel 37:25.

and confess] R.V. while I confess. The A.V. is not grammatical.

‘Confess.’ See on Ezra 10:1.

the sins of the children of Israel, which we &c.] Nehemiah identifies himself with the guilt of the people. Cf. Moses in Exodus 34:9 ‘Pardon our iniquity and our sin.’

both I and my father’s house] i.e. Neither the individual nor the family being free from the responsibility of national sin. It has been remarked that, if Nehemiah belonged to the house of David, there would be a special appropriateness in these words. According to one tradition (Euseb.), he was of the tribe of Judah.

Verse 6. - Both I and my father's house have sinned. Ewald well observes, "In the prayer of Nehemiah the keynote is struck in the words, 'I and my father's house have sinned'" ('History of Israel,' vol. 5. p. 149, note 1). The desolation which he mourns is the result of the people's sins, and in those sins are included his own, and those of his ancestors. His own may not have been very grievous, but those of his fathers weigh upon him as if his own, and oppress his spirit. Nehemiah 1:6"Let Thine ear be attentive, and Thine eyes open," like 2 Chronicles 6:40; 2 Chronicles 7:15 - לשׁמע, that Thou mayest hearken to the prayer of Thy servant, which I pray, and how I confess concerning ... מתדּה still depends upon אשׁר in the sense of: and what I confess concerning the sins. היּום does not here mean to-day, but now, at this time, as the addition "day and night" compared with ימים in Nehemiah 1:4 shows. To strengthen the communicative form לך חטאנוּ, and to acknowledge before God how deeply penetrated he was by the feeling of his own sin and guilt, he adds: and I and my father's house have sinned.
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