Nehemiah 2:6 MEANING

Nehemiah 2:6
(6) The queen also sitting by him.--Probably Damaspia, the one legitimate queen: Shegal, as in Ps. 14:13, where, however, she stands as in the presenco of her Divine-human Lord. This was not a public feast, as in that case the queen would not be present (Esther 1:9-12).

I set him a time.--Whatever that was, circumstances afterwards prolonged it.

Verse 6. - The queen. It appears from Ctesias ('Exc. Pers.,' § 44) that Artaxerxes Longimanus had but one legitimate wife - a certain Damaspia. Nothing more is known of her besides this mention, and the fact that she died on the same day as her husband. (The Septuagint rendering of hashegal by ἡ παλλακὴ is wrong.) Sitting by him. Not an unusual circumstance. Though, when the monarch entertained guests, the queen remained in her private apartments (Esther 1:9-12), yet on other occasions she frequently took her meals with him ('Ancient Monarchies,' vol. 3. p. 214). I set him a time. Nehemiah probably mentioned some such time as a year, or two years - such a space as would suffice for the double journey, and the restoration of the fortifications. He stayed away, however, as he tells us (Nehemiah 5:14), twelve years, obtaining no doubt from time to time an extension of his leave (Bertheau).

2:1-8 Our prayers must be seconded with serious endeavours, else we mock God. We are not limited to certain moments in our addresses to the King of kings, but have liberty to go to him at all times; approaches to the throne of grace are never out of season. But the sense of God's displeasure and the afflictions of his people, are causes of sorrow to the children of God, under which no earthly delights can comfort. The king encouraged Nehemiah to tell his mind. This gave him boldness to speak; much more may the invitation Christ has given us to pray, and the promise that we shall speed, encourage us to come boldly to the throne of grace. Nehemiah prayed to the God of heaven, as infinitely above even this mighty monarch. He lifted up his heart to that God who understands the language of the heart. Nor should we ever engage in any pursuit in which it would be wrong for us thus to seek and expect the Divine direction, assistance, and blessing. There was an immediate answer to his prayer; for the seed of Jacob never sought the God of Jacob in vain.And the king said unto me, the queen also sitting by him,.... Which it seems was not very common for the queens of Persia to dine with the kings their husbands; though this may be observed, not so much for the singularity of it, as for the providence of God in it, that so it should be, she having a good respect for Nehemiah, and the Jewish nation, and forwarded the king in his grant to him: if this king was Darius Hystaspis, this his queen was Atossa, daughter of Cyrus (q), who might be the more friendly to the Jews, on account of her father's great regard unto them:

for how long shall thy journey be? and when wilt thou return? what time would he ask to do this business in? this shows the king had a great respect for him, and was loath to part with him, at least for any great length of time:

so it pleased the king to send me, when he promised to return unto him, not in twelve years, which was the time of his government in Judea, but in a lesser space, perhaps a year at most, since in less than two months the wall of Jerusalem was finished; and it may be that he then returned to the king of Persia, who sent him again under the character of a governor, finding it was for his interest to have such a man in those parts.

(q) Herodot. Polymnia, sive l. 7. c. 1.

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