Verse 31. "For the wood-offering" - This was a most necessary regulation: without it the temple service could not have gone forward; and therefore Nehemiah mentions this as one of the most important services he had rendered to his nation. See chap. x. 34.
"Remember me, O my God, for good." - This has precisely the same meaning with, O my God, have mercy upon me! and thus alone it should be understood.
OF Nehemiah the Jews speak as one of the greatest men of their nation.
His concern for his country, manifested by such unequivocal marks, entitles him to the character of the first patriot that ever lived. In the course of the Divine providence, he was a captive in Babylon; but there his excellences were so apparent, that he was chosen by the Persian king to fill an office the most respectable and the most confidential in the whole court.
Here he lived in ease and affluence; he lacked no manner of thing that was good; and here he might have continued to live, in the same affluence and in the same confidence: but he could enjoy neither, so long as his people were distressed, the sepulchres of his fathers trodden under foot, the altars of his God overturned, and his worship either totally neglected or corrupted.
He sought the peace of Jerusalem; he prayed to God for it; and was willing to sacrifice wealth, ease, and safety, and even life itself, if he might be the instrument of restoring the desolations of Israel. And God, who saw the desire of his heart, and knew the excellences with which he had endowed him, granted his request, and gave him the high honour of restoring the desolated city of his ancestors, and the pure worship of their God. On this account he has been considered by several as an expressive type of Jesus Christ, and many parallels have been shown in their lives and conduct.
I have already, in several notes, vindicated him from all mercenary and interested views, as well as from all false notions of religion, grounded on human merit. For disinterestedness, philanthropy, patriotism, prudence, courage, zeal, humanity, and every virtue that constitutes a great mind, and proves a soul in deep communion with God, Nehemiah will ever stand conspicuous among the greatest men of the Jewish nation, and an exemplar worthy to be copied by the first patriots in every nation under heaven.
It has already been observed that, in the Jewish canon, Ezra and Nehemiah make but one book; and that both have been attributed, but without reason, to the same author: hence the Syriac version ends with this colophon-The end of the book of Ezra, the scribe, in which are contained two thousand three hundred and sixty-one verses.
MASORETIC NOTES. Ezra and Nehemiah contain six hundred and eighty-eight verses. Middle verse is chap. iii. 32. Sections, ten.