Nehemiah 6

1 Now when word was given to Sanballat and Tobiah and to Geshem the Arabian and to the rest of our haters, that I had done the building of the wall and that there were no more broken places in it (though even then I had not put up the doors in the doorways);
2 Sanballat and Geshem sent to me saying, Come, let us have a meeting in one of the little towns in the lowland of Ono. But their purpose was to do me evil.
3 And I sent men to them saying, I am doing a great work, so that it is not possible for me to come down: is the work to be stopped while I go away from it and come down to you?
4 And four times they sent to me in this way, and I sent them the same answer.
5 Then Sanballat sent his servant to me a fifth time with an open letter in his hand;
6 And in it these words were recorded: It is said among the nations, and Geshem says so, that you and the Jews are hoping to make yourselves free from the king's authority; and that this is why you are building the wall: and they say that it is your purpose to be their king;
7 And that you have prophets preaching about you in Jerusalem, and saying, There is a king in Judah: now an account of these things will be sent to the king. So come now, and let us have a discussion.
8 Then I sent to him, saying, No such things as you say are being done, they are only a fiction you have made up yourself.
9 For they were hoping to put fear in us, saying, Their hands will become feeble and give up the work so that it may not get done. But now, O God, make my hands strong.
10 And I went to the house of Shemaiah, the son of Delaiah, the son of Mehetabel, who was shut up; and he said, Let us have a meeting in the house of God, inside the Temple, and let the doors be shut: for they will come to put you to death; truly, in the night they will come to put you to death.
11 And I said, Am I the sort of man to go in flight? what man, in my position, would go into the Temple to keep himself safe? I will not go in.
12 Then it became clear to me that God had not sent him: he had given this word of a prophet against me himself: and Tobiah and Sanballat had given him money to do so.
13 For this reason they had given him money, in order that I might be overcome by fear and do what he said and do wrong, and so they would have reason to say evil about me and put shame on me.
14 Keep in mind, O my God, Tobiah and Sanballat and what they did, and Noadiah, the woman prophet, and the rest of the prophets whose purpose was to put fear into me.
15 So the wall was complete on the twenty-fifth day of the month Elul, in fifty-two days.
16 And when our haters had news of this, all the nations round about us were full of fear and were greatly shamed, for they saw that this work had been done by our God.
17 And further, in those days the chiefs of Judah sent a number of letters to Tobiah, and his letters came to them.
18 For in Judah there were a number of people who had made an agreement by oath with him, because he was the son-in-law of Shecaniah, the son of Arah; and his son Jehohanan had taken as his wife the daughter of Meshullam, the son of Berechiah.
19 And they said much before me of the good he had done, and gave him accounts of my words. And Tobiah sent letters with the purpose of causing me fear.

Nehemiah 6 Commentary

Chapter 6

Sanballat's plot to hinder Nehemiah. (1-9) False prophets try to frighten Nehemiah. (10-14) The wall finished, Treachery of some among the Jews. (15-19)

Verses 1-9 Let those who are tempted to idle merry meetings by vain companions, thus answer the temptation, We have work to do, and must not neglect it. We must never suffer ourselves to be overcome, by repeated urgency, to do anything sinful or imprudent; but when attacked with the same temptation, must resist it with the same reason and resolution. It is common for that which is desired only by the malicious, to be falsely represented by them as desired by the many. But Nehemiah knew at what they aimed, he not only denied that such things were true, but that they were reported; he was better known than to be thus suspected. We must never omit any known duty for fear it should be misconstrued; but, while we keep a good conscience, let us trust God with our good name. God's people, though loaded with reproach, are not really fallen so low in reputation as some would have them thought to be. Nehemiah lifted up his heart to Heaven in a short prayer. When, in our Christian work and warfare, we enter upon any service or conflict, this is a good prayer, I have such a duty to do, such a temptation to grapple with; now, therefore, O God, strengthen my hands. Every temptation to draw us from duty, should quicken us the more to duty.

Verses 10-14 The greatest mischief our enemies can do us, is, to frighten us from our duty, and to lead us to do what is sinful. Let us never decline a good work, never do a bad one. We ought to try all advice, and to reject what is contrary to the word of God. Every man should study to be consistent. Should I, a professed Christian, called to be a saint, a child of God, a member of Christ, a temple of the Holy Ghost, should I be covetous, sensual, proud, or envious? Should I yield to impatience, discontent, or anger? Should I be slothful, unbelieving, or unmerciful? What effects will such conduct have upon others? All that God has done for us, or by us, or given to us, should lead us to watchfulness, self-denial, and diligence. Next to the sinfulness of sin, we should dread the scandal.

Verses 15-19 The wall was begun and finished in fifty-two days, though they rested on the sabbaths. A great deal of work may be done in a little time, if we set about it in earnest, and keep close to it. See the mischief of marrying with strangers. When men once became akin to Tobiah, they soon became sworn to him. A sinful love leads to a sinful league. The enemy of souls employs many instruments, and forms many projects, to bring reproach on the active servants of God, or to take them from their work. But we should follow the example of Him who laid down his life for the sheep. Those that simply cleave to the Lord and his work will be supported.

Chapter Summary


Sanballat and his brethren, hearing the wall was finished, sent to Nehemiah, to have a meeting with him at a place named, which he refused, Ne 6:1,2, then they sent him a terrifying letter, suggesting that he, and the Jews with him, would be treated as rebels, since their intention, as reported, was to make him king, which letter he regarded not, Ne 6:3-9, then they employed some that pretended to be prophets to advise him to flee to the temple for safety, which he rejected, Ne 6:10-14 and so the work went on and was finished, though there was a secret correspondence carried on between their enemies and some false brethren among themselves, Ne 6:15-19.

Nehemiah 6 Commentaries

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