The words of Nehemiah the son of Hachaliah. And it came to pass in the month Chisleu, in the twentieth year, as I was in Shushan the palace,
The words — Or rather, the acts, as the word often signifies.
Chisleu — Which is the ninth month, containing part of November, and part of December.
Year — Of Artaxerxes.
Shushan — The royal city of Persia.
 And they said unto me, The remnant that are left of the captivity there in the province are in great affliction and reproach: the wall of Jerusalem also is broken down, and the gates thereof are burned with fire.
The province — In Judea, now a province under the Persian monarchs.
The wall, … — The walls and gates continue as Nebuchadnezzar left them; the Jews not being in a condition to rebuild them, nor having commission from the kings of Persia to do so.
 And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven,
The God of heaven — Who seeth in secret; secret; having no opportunity of doing it openly.
 Let thine ear now be attentive, and thine eyes open, that thou mayest hear the prayer of thy servant, which I pray before thee now, day and night, for the children of Israel thy servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel, which we have sinned against thee: both I and my father's house have sinned.
Which I pray, … — He refers to all the prayers, which he had for some time been putting up.
 O Lord, I beseech thee, let now thine ear be attentive to the prayer of thy servant, and to the prayer of thy servants, who desire to fear thy name: and prosper, I pray thee, thy servant this day, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man. For I was the king's cupbearer.
To fear thy name — Those who truly desire to fear his name, shall be graciously accepted of God.
This man — The king: who is but a man and therefore his heart is wholly at thy disposal. Favour with men is then comfortable, when we see it springing from the mercy of God.
Cup-bearer — Whereby I had opportunity to speak to him, and some favour with him.