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Nehemiah 1:4-6

Context

1:4 When I heard these things I sat down abruptly, 1  crying and mourning for several days. I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven. 1:5 Then I said, “Please, O LORD God of heaven, great and awesome God, who keeps his loving covenant 2  with those who love him and obey 3  his commandments, 1:6 may your ear be attentive and your eyes be open to hear the prayer of your servant that I am praying to you today throughout both day and night on behalf of your servants the Israelites. I am confessing the sins of the Israelites that we have committed 4  against you – both I myself and my family 5  have sinned.

1 tn Heb “sat down.” Context suggests that this was a rather sudden action, resulting from the emotional shock of the unpleasant news, so “abruptly” has been supplied in the present translation.

2 tn Heb “the covenant and loyal love.” The phrase is a hendiadys: the first noun retains its full nominal sense, while the second noun functions adjectivally (“loyal love” = loving). Alternately, the first might function adjectivally and the second noun function as the noun: “covenant and loyal love” = covenant fidelity (see Neh 9:32).

3 tn Heb “keep.” The Hebrew verb שָׁמַר (shamar, “to observe; to keep”) is often used as an idiom that means “to obey” the commandments of God (e.g., Exod 20:6; Deut 5:16; 23:24; 29:8; Judg 2:22; 1 Kgs 2:43; 11:11; Ps 119:8, 17, 34; Jer 35:18; Ezek 17:14; Amos 2:4). See BDB 1036 s.v. 3.c.

4 tn Heb “have sinned.” For stylistic reasons – to avoid redundancy in English – this was translated as “committed.”

5 tn Heb “the house of my father.”



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