2 Esdras i.
Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. Words, or transactions written by Nehemias. (Menochius) — Helcias, or Hebrew and Septaugint, “Chelcias.” — Casleu, the third of the civil year, 1 Esdras x. 9. — Year of Artaxerxes, (Calmet) after he was associated with his father on the throne; (Tirinus) or rather the death of Xerxes. From this period the seventy weeks of Daniel are dated, (Du Hamel) or from the 23rd of Artaxerxes, and the 28th of Xerxes, (Tirinus) as above three years must have been consumed in making preparations for the walls, &c. (Josephus, [Antiquities?] xi. 5.) — The name of Nehemias, “comforter of God,” as well as his being sent by a king to build, &c., prefigured Jesus Christ, sent by God to comfort and establish his Church. (Ven. Bede) (Worthington) (Haydock) — Susa. Hebrew, “in Susa, the palace,” where the kings of Persia resided in the months of winter, (Athen. xii. 1.) and of spring. (Xenophon) (Cyr. viii.) (Curt. v. 8.) — Here Darius probably kept his court at other times, Esther i. 2. (Calmet) — Susa was situated on the river Coaspes, between the provinces of Babylon and Persia. (Du Hamel)
Ver. 2. Hanani, a relation, whom Nehemias brought back, chap. vii. 2. — Came. Some Latin copies add, “to me,” (Lyranus) as if a deputation had been sent; but of this the text is silent. (Calmet)
Ver. 3. Province of Judea, subject to the Persians, as it was afterwards to the Romans; though, at present, they were allowed to have governors of their own nation. (Menochius) — Reproach, on account of the surrounding enemies. (Haydock) — Fire, recently; (Menochius. See 1 Esdras iv. 12., and ix. 9.) or rather by Nabuchodonosor; as the kings of Persia would not suffer the city to be fortified, for fear of a fresh rebellion. (Lyranus) (Tirinus) — We find that little progress (chap. iii., and iv.; Calmet) had at least been made in the work, though the blame must rather be laid on the enemies of Israel, than on several of the kings of Persia, who seem to have authorized the undertaking, which Cambyses, or Smerdis, had for a time interrupted. They only specify, indeed, that leave was granted to build the temple. But they allowed them to erect houses for themselves, which could not have been done to any purpose, among so many enemies, unless they had been defended by some sort of fortifications. (Haydock)
Ver. 4. Days; about four months, till Nisan. (Calmet)
Ver. 6. They. Hebrew and Septuagint, “we have sinned.” (Menochius)
Ver. 7. Vanity. Hebrew, “we have been corrupted.” (Vatable) “we have dealt very corruptly.” (Protestants) (Haydock) — The author of the Vulgate has read e for é. (Calmet) — Septuagint, “we have been very dissolute, or weak.”
Ver. 9. World. Literally, “of heaven, or the sky,” (Haydock) which seems to the vulgar (Calmet) to rest upon the horizon. (Tirinus) See Deuteronomy xxx. 4.
Ver. 10. Redeemed, or liberated from great evils. (Menochius)
Ver. 11. Man; (virum) the great king, (Haydock) Artaxerxes. (Calmet) — Cup-bearer; Athersatha, 1 Esdras ii. 63., and 2 Esdras vii. 65.
Bible Text & Cross-references:
Nehemias, hearing of the miserable state of his countrymen in Judea, lamenteth, fasteth, and prayeth to God for their relief.
1 The *words of Nehemias, the son of Helchias. And it came to pass in the month of Casleu, in the twentieth year, as I was in the castle of Susa,
2 That Hanani, one of my brethren, came, he and some men of Juda; and I asked them concerning the Jews, that remained and were left of the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem.
3 And they said to me: They that have remained, and are left of the captivity there in the province, are in great affliction and reproach: and the wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and the gates thereof are burnt with fire.
4 And when I had heard these words, I sat down, and wept, and mourned for many days: and I fasted, and prayed before the face of the God of heaven.
5 And I said: *I beseech thee, O Lord God of heaven, strong, great, and terrible, who keepest covenant and mercy with those that love thee, and keep thy commandments:
6 Let thy ears be attentive, and thy eyes open, to hear the prayer of thy servant, which I pray before thee now, night and day, for the children of Israel, thy servants: and I confess the sins of the children of Israel, by which they have sinned against thee: I and my father’s house have sinned.
7 We have been seduced by vanity, and have not kept thy commandments, and ceremonies, and judgments, which thou hast commanded thy servant, Moses.
8 Remember the word that thou commandedst to Moses, thy servant, saying: If you shall transgress, I will scatter you abroad among the nations:
9 But if you return to me, and keep my commandments, and do them, though you should be led away to the uttermost parts of the world, I will gather you from thence, and bring you back to the place which I have chosen for my name to dwell there.
10 And these are thy servants, and thy people: whom thou hast redeemed by thy great strength, and by thy mighty hand.
11 I beseech thee, O Lord, let thy ear be attentive to the prayer of thy servant, and to the prayer of thy servants, who desire to fear thy name: and direct thy servant this day, and give him mercy before this man. For I was the king’s cup-bearer.
1: Year of the World 3550, Year before Christ 454.
5: Daniel ix. 4.