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Why would Nehemiah be afraid to ask the king for time off?

…so the king asked me, “Why does your face look so sad when you are not ill? This can be nothing but sadness of heart.”

I was very much afraid…Nehemiah 2:2

            His fear came from the power of the king who could emotionally respond anyway he wanted.  Even though Nehemiah built up trust with the king, the king could have Nehemiah killed, but God had worked on the king’s heart.  Also, his fear could have come from rejection.  Nehemiah wanted to see this project completed and a “no” from the king scared him.