As we mentioned last week, the incident before us took place in the 20th year of King Artaxerxes which would be around 446-445 BC. Nehemiah was in the Persian capital at Shushan or Susa, a winter residence of the Persian kings near the Persian Gulf. One of Nehemiah’s brethren, a man by the name of Hanani, brought news back to Susa from the city of Jerusalem. This news, we see, caused Nehemiah great turmoil and distress. He had perhaps hoped to receive a favorable response to his inquiry. After all, the Israelites had been back in Jerusalem for close to a hundred years by this point. So what happened? How did Israel end up in exile in the first place, and why weren’t things improved by Nehemiah’s day?