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The Complete Jewish Bible with Rashi Commentary
   

Nechemiah - Nehemiah - Chapter 1

Nechemiah - Nehemiah - Chapter 1

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Rashi's Commentary:

Chapter 1

1. The words of Nehemiah the son of Hacaliah. And it came to pass in the month of Kislev [in] the twentieth year that I was in Shushan the capital.   א. דִּבְרֵי נְחֶמְיָה בֶּן חֲכַלְיָה וַיְהִי בְחֹדֶשׁ כִּסְלֵיו שְׁנַת עֶשְׂרִים וַאֲנִי הָיִיתִי בְּשׁוּשַׁן הַבִּירָה:
The words of Nehemiah, etc.: Nehemiah wrote this book from here on.  
the twentieth year: This refers to the twentieth year of King Darius, who is identical with Artaxerxes. In Tractate Rosh Hashanah (3a, b), we find that the phrase “the twentieth year” is mentioned twice using similar wording [to teach us that it is speaking of the identical year]. It states below (2:1), “And it came to pass in the month of Nissan of the twentieth year of Artaxerxes, etc.” The years were calculated from the month of Tishrei. It says here, “And it was in the month of Kislev of the twentieth year, etc.” This refers to the Kislev coming after Tishrei. Further down it says (2:1), “And it was in the month of Nissan of the twentieth year, etc.” This refers to the Nissan of the same year. And I cannot explain that they calculated their years from the month of Nissan and that the incident mentioned below: “And it was in the month of Nissan, etc.” occurred before this incident: “And it was in the month of Kislev, etc.” It is true that events [in the Torah] are not necessarily recorded in chronological order. Nevertheless, the chapters indicate that the second chapter took place only because of the events of the first chapter.  
2. There came Hanani, one of my brethren, he and men from Judea, and I asked them about the Jews who had escaped, who remained of the captivity, and about Jerusalem.   ב. וַיָּבֹא חֲנָנִי אֶחָד מֵאַחַי הוּא וַאֲנָשִׁים מִיהוּדָה וָאֶשְׁאָלֵם עַל הַיְּהוּדִים הַפְּלֵיטָה אֲשֶׁר נִשְׁאֲרוּ מִן הַשֶּׁבִי וְעַל יְרוּשָׁלִָם:
one of my brethren: one of my companions.  
and I asked them about the Jews: I asked them about the Jews who had escaped the Babylonian captivity and remained in Jerusalem.  
who had escaped: because they were saved from the Babylonian exile.  
and about Jerusalem: And I asked them about the city.  
3. And they said to me, "The remnant who remained of the captivity in the province are in great trouble and reproach; and the wall of Jerusalem is breached, and its gates were burned with fire."   ג. וַיֹּאמְרוּ לִי הַנִּשְׁאָרִים אֲשֶׁר נִשְׁאֲרוּ מִן הַשְּׁבִי שָׁם בַּמְּדִינָה בְּרָעָה גְדֹלָה וּבְחֶרְפָּה וְחוֹמַת יְרוּשָׁלִַם מְפֹרָצֶת וּשְׁעָרֶיהָ נִצְּתוּ בָאֵשׁ:
And they said to me: They answered my first question first and my latter question last; first, concerning the Jews and afterwards, concerning the wall and the gates.  
who remained: Those Jews who remained in the province of Jerusalem are in great trouble and reproach because the gentiles plunder and pillage them.  
and the wall of Jerusalem is breached: And the wall of the city is breached, and the gates are burned with fire as they were before, for Israel had not built the wall of the city or its gates, only the Temple.  
were burned: Heb. נִצְתוּ, like נֻצְתוּ.  
4. And it came to pass when I heard these words that I sat and wept, and I mourned for days, and I fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.   ד. וַיְהִי כְּשָׁמְעִי | אֶת הַדְּבָרִים הָאֵלֶּה יָשַׁבְתִּי וָאֶבְכֶּה וָאֶתְאַבְּלָה יָמִים וָאֱהִי צָם וּמִתְפַּלֵּל לִפְנֵי אֱלֹהֵי הַשָּׁמָיִם:
for days: Heb. יָמִים, many days.  
5. And I said, "I beseech You, O Lord God of heaven, the great and awesome God, Who keeps the Covenant and loving-kindness to those who love Him and to those who keep His commandments.   ה. וָאֹמַר אָנָּא יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵי הַשָּׁמַיִם הָאֵל הַגָּדוֹל וְהַנּוֹרָא שֹׁמֵר הַבְּרִית וָחֶסֶד לְאֹהֲבָיו וּלְשֹׁמְרֵי מִצְו‍ֹתָיו:
I beseech You: Heb. אָנָא, an expression of request and supplication.  
6. Let Your ear now be attentive and Your eyes open to listen to the prayer of Your servant, which I pray before You today, day and night, concerning the Children of Israel, Your servants, and I confess the sins of the Children of Israel, which we sinned against You; and I and my father's house have sinned.   ו. תְּהִי נָא אָזְנְךָ קַשֶּׁבֶת וְעֵינֶיךָ פְתוּחוֹת לִשְׁמֹעַ אֶל תְּפִלַּת עַבְדְּךָ אֲשֶׁר אָנֹכִי מִתְפַּלֵּל לְפָנֶיךָ הַיּוֹם יוֹמָם וָלַיְלָה עַל בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל עֲבָדֶיךָ וּמִתְוַדֶּה עַל חַטֹּאות בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל אֲשֶׁר חָטָאנוּ לָךְ וַאֲנִי וּבֵית אָבִי חָטָאנוּ:
attentive: Heb. קַשֶּׁבֶת, like קוֹשֶּׁבֶת, listening, for just as one says from אוֹהֵב, אָהַב, so does one say from קָשַּׁב, קוֹשֵּׁב and קוֹשֶּׁבֶת.  
7. We have dealt corruptly against You, and we have not kept the commandments, the statutes, and the ordinances that You commanded Moses, Your servant.   ז. חֲבֹל חָבַלְנוּ לָךְ וְלֹא שָׁמַרְנוּ אֶת הַמִּצְו‍ֹת וְאֶת הַחֻקִּים וְאֶת הַמִּשְׁפָּטִים אֲשֶׁר צִוִּיתָ אֶת מֹשֶׁה עַבְדֶּךָ:
We have dealt corruptly: Heb. חֲבֹל, a noun, an expression of corruption, since the “heth” is vowelized with a “hataf pattah,” and I cannot interpret it as a verb form, because in that case, it would have to be vowelized with a large “kamatz.”  
we have dealt corruptly: Heb. חָבַלְנוּ, an expression of corruption, as in Daniel (6:23): “I have done no harm.”  
8. Remember now the word that You commanded Moses, Your servant, saying, 'If you deal treacherously, I shall scatter you among the nations.   ח. זְכָר נָא אֶת הַדָּבָר אֲשֶׁר צִוִּיתָ אֶת מֹשֶׁה עַבְדְּךָ לֵאמֹר אַתֶּם תִּמְעָלוּ אֲנִי אָפִיץ אֶתְכֶם בָּעַמִּים:
9. And if you return to Me and keep My commandments and perform them-if your exile is at the end of the heaven, from there I shall gather them, and I shall bring them to the place that I chose to cause My Name to rest there.'   ט. וְשַׁבְתֶּם אֵלַי וּשְׁמַרְתֶּם מִצְו‍ֹתַי וַעֲשִׂיתֶם אֹתָם אִם יִהְיֶה נִדַּחֲכֶם בִּקְצֵה הַשָּׁמַיִם מִשָּׁם אֲקַבְּצֵם וַהֲבִיאוֹתִים אֶל הַמָּקוֹם אֲשֶׁר בָּחַרְתִּי לְשַׁכֵּן אֶת שְׁמִי שָׁם:
if your exile is: like the matter that is stated (Deut. 30:4): “If your exile is at the end of the heavens, etc.”  
10. Now they are Your servants and Your people, whom You redeemed with Your great strength and with Your strong hand.   י. וְהֵם עֲבָדֶיךָ וְעַמֶּךָ אֲשֶׁר פָּדִיתָ בְּכֹחֲךָ הַגָּדוֹל וּבְיָדְךָ הַחֲזָקָה:
11. I beseech You, O Lord, may Your ear now be attentive to the prayer of Your servant and to the prayer of Your servants, who wish to fear Your name, and cause Your servant to succeed today, and grant him mercy before this man." And I was the king's butler.   יא. אָנָּא אֲדֹנָי תְּהִי נָא אָזְנְךָ קַשֶּׁבֶת אֶל תְּפִלַּת עַבְדְּךָ וְאֶל תְּפִלַּת עֲבָדֶיךָ הַחֲפֵצִים לְיִרְאָה אֶת שְׁמֶךָ וְהַצְלִיחָה נָּא לְעַבְדְּךָ הַיּוֹם וּתְנֵהוּ לְרַחֲמִים לִפְנֵי הָאִישׁ הַזֶּה וַאֲנִי הָיִיתִי מַשְׁקֶה לַמֶּלֶךְ:
I beseech You, O Lord, may Your ear now be attentive: At the beginning of his prayer he used this expression, and so after his prayer.  
Your servant: This is what he prayed for himself.  
before this man: before the king.  
butler: Heb. מַשְּׁקֶה, like (Gen. 40:1): “… the butler of (מַשְּׁקֶה) the king of Egypt.” This is what I explained above (Ezra 2:63) according to the words of our Sages, that Hattirshatha is Nehemiah.  
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