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Series Theme: FRAMEWORKS: Nehemiah

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FRAMEWORKS: Nehemiah 1: Nehemiah Prays


v.1-3 Nehemiah told of the broken-down state of Jerusalem

v.4-11 Nehemiah makes prayer of confession and petition



v.1-3 Nehemiah told of the broken down state of Jerusalem


v.1 The words of Nehemiah son of Hakaliah: In the month of Kislev [Nov/Dec] in the twentieth year, while I was in the citadel of Susa, 

v.2 Hanani, one of my brothers, came from Judah with some other men, and I questioned them about the Jewish remnant that had survived the exile, and also about Jerusalem. 

v.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.” 


[Notes: It is probably 446/5BC - the ‘twentieth year' being that of the reign of Artaxerxes – see 2:1. Susa in Elam in the mountains, some distance to the east of Babylon, the winter retreat of the Persian kings, is where we first find Nehemiah. He receives a visit from some who have come from Judah and so he questions them and finds them painting a poor picture of the state of Jerusalem.]



v.4-11 Nehemiah makes prayer of confession and petition


v.4 When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven. 


v.5,6 Nehemiah pleads with the Lord for Him to listen

v.5 Then I said: “LORD, the God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, 

v.6 let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night for your servants, the people of Israel.


v.6,7 He confesses their sin

I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father's family, have committed against you. 

v.7 We have acted very wickedly toward you. We have not obeyed the commands, decrees and laws you gave your servant Moses. 


v.8,9 But he also reminds the Lord that He promised restoration of there was repentance

v.8 “Remember the instruction you gave your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations, 

v.9 but if you return to me and obey my commands, then even if your exiled people are at the farthest horizon, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place I have chosen as a dwelling for my Name.' 


v.10,11 He appeals to the Lord to hear in that these are still His people

v.10 “They are your servants and your people, whom you redeemed by your great strength and your mighty hand. 

v.11 Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name. Give your servant success today by granting him favour in the presence of this man.” I was cupbearer to the king.


[Notes: The thing that perhaps distinguished Nehemiah from others who might have known about Jerusalem is that he feels very strongly about the city of David that had had such a history with God. The fact that is it now still in ruins, some 140 years since Nebuchadnezzar had destroyed it, devastates Nehemiah. His response is to weep, fast and pray and pour his heart out to the Lord. Note the parts of his prayer above.]