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Nehemiah 1:2-7

Context
1:2 Hanani, who was one of my relatives, 1  along with some of the men from Judah, came to me, 2  and I asked them about the Jews who had escaped and had survived the exile, and about Jerusalem. 3 

1:3 They said to me, “The remnant that remains from the exile there in the province are experiencing considerable 4  adversity and reproach. The wall of Jerusalem lies breached, and its gates have been burned down!” 5 

1:4 When I heard these things I sat down abruptly, 6  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 7  with those who love him and obey 8  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 9  against you – both I myself and my family 10  have sinned. 1:7 We have behaved corruptly against you, not obeying the commandments, the statutes, and the judgments that you commanded your servant Moses.

1 tn Heb “brothers.”

2 tn The Hebrew text does not include the words “to me”; these words were supplied in the translation for the sake of clarity.

3 map For location see Map5 B1; Map6 F3; Map7 E2; Map8 F2; Map10 B3; JP1 F4; JP2 F4; JP3 F4; JP4 F4.

4 tn Heb “great.”

5 tn Heb “have been burned with fire” (so also in Neh 2:17). The expression “burned with fire” is redundant in contemporary English; the translation uses “burned down” for stylistic reasons.

6 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.

7 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).

8 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.

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

10 tn Heb “the house of my father.”



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