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Volume 34 - Page 127 of 261 Index | Zoom | |
"The words of Nehemiah the son of Hachaliah" (Neh. 1: 1).
It is evident that the intention of this opening statement is to intimate that Nehemiah
himself made this record, just as we understand that the expression "The words of Amos"
(Amos 1: 1), or "The words of Jeremiah" indicates that the prophet recorded the prophetic
utterances attributed to him. The name Nehemiah is of prophetic import; it means "The
Comforter (appointed by) the Lord", and contains the word translated "comfort" in
Isa. 40: 1, which verse stands at the head of a prophecy that speaks of the restoration of
Jerusalem in two aspects.
(1) The restoration carried out under the command of Cyrus (Isa. 46: 28; 45: 1-5), and
(2) The complete restoration yet to take place under the benign sway of the Messiah.
To those who sighed concerning the desolations of Jerusalem, and hoped for its
restoration, the very name of this man would give courage and cheer--"The Comforter
(appointed by) Jehovah".
From Neh. 10: 1, we gather that Nehemiah was one of the Princes of Israel, for
chapter 9: 38 tells us that "princes" as well as Levites and priests sealed the covenant
there made. Moreover, he is called "The Tirshatha", a title indicating "fear" or
"reverence" (compare the Persian torsh, severe, austere). In Neh. 12: 26 he is called
"the governor", where the word so translated is pechah, a foreign word common to the
Arabians and Persians. The note in the Companion Bible, "Governor-Pasha", must not
be taken to indicate that Pasha is derived from Pechah, as that would be false etymology.
A further reason for the supposition that Nehemiah was probably a prince of Judah, is the
fact that "the King's seed" and "princes" were taken prisoners to Babylon. The character
of this man of God shows him to be of fearless integrity, a firm believer in the promises
of his God, a fervent patriot, a man of prayer, and a splendid leader of the people, being
especially proof against intimidation or corruption. The need to-day is much the same,
and if the study of this book but manifests both the activities of the enemy and the way in
which these activities are to be met and overcome, it will be a blessing indeed.
"And it came to pass in the month Chisleu" (Neh. 1: 1).
Let us take this opportunity of recording the months of the Jewish year, commencing
with Abib, as indicated in Exod. 12: 1.
Abib or Nisan (April). Abib means "The ear month" Exod. 9: 31; 13: 4.
(In the books of Nehemiah and Esther, the name Abib is exchanged for the
Babylonian name of the god of "spring", Neh. 2: 1. Est. 3: 7).
Zif (May). Chaldee. "Brightness".
3: Sivan (June). Uncertain.
4: Thammuz (July).
Ab (August). In later Jewish writings.
6: Elul (September). "Gleaning".
7: Tisri or Ethanim (October). Tisri is found in later writings. Ethanim means
8: Bul (November). "Rain".