Cupbearer became governor

Nehemiah, a Jew born in Persia during the Exile, was a cupbearer to Persia's king Artaxerxes. (Neh. 2:1.)

The Dictionary of the Bible, published by Charles Scribner's Sons, offers this commentary on Nehemiah: "The position of Nehemiah as cupbearer to Artaxerxes was evidently high . . . and the narrative of Nehemiah shows the high esteem of the king, who is so solicitious for his welfare that he asks the cause of his sadness. (Neh. 2:2.)"Nehemiah's sadness resulted from the news he received that the Jews who earlier returned from exile to Jerusalem faced great affliction and reproach. Enemies surrounded them. Jerusalem's walls were demolished and its gates burned. After fasting and praying, Nehemiah received permission to go to Jerusalem. (Judah was then a subdivision of the Persian government.) The king also provided an escort and wrote letters to governors of provinces through which Nehemiah would pass. The letters gave Nehemiah authority to receive supplies from the governors. The king commissioned Nehemiah to act as governor of Jerusalem. (Neh. 2:6-9; 5:14.)

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