2:1 Then in the month of Nisan, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was brought to me, 1 I took the wine and gave it to the king. Previously 2 I had not been depressed 3 in the king’s presence. 4 2:2 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.
1 tc The translation reads with the LXX וְיַיִן לְפָנַי (vÿyayin lÿfanay, “and wine before me”) rather than יַיִן לְפָנָיו (yayin lÿfanayv, “wine before him”) of the MT. The initial vav (ו) on original וְיַיִן probably dropped out due to haplograpy or orthographic confusion with the two yods (י) which follow. The final vav on לְפָנָיו in the MT was probably added due to dittography with the vav on the immediately following word.
2 tc The translation reads לְפָנֵים (lÿfanim, “formerly”) rather than לְפָנָיו (lÿfanayv, “to his face”) of the MT. The MT seems to suggest that Nehemiah was not sad before the king, which is contrary to what follows.
3 tn Or “showed him a sullen face.” See HALOT 1251 s.v. רַע, רָע 9.
4 tn This expression is either to be inferred from the context, or perhaps one should read לְפָנָיו (lÿfanayv, “before him”; cf. the MT) in addition to לְפָנִים (lÿfanim, “formerly”). See preceding note on the word “previously.”