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Nehemiah 4:17

17 who were building the wall. Those who carried materials did their work with one hand and held a weapon in the other,

Read Nehemiah 4:17 Using Other Translations

They which builded on the wall, and they that bare burdens, with those that laded, every one with one of his hands wrought in the work, and with the other hand held a weapon.
who were building on the wall. Those who carried burdens were loaded in such a way that each labored on the work with one hand and held his weapon with the other.
who were building the wall. The laborers carried on their work with one hand supporting their load and one hand holding a weapon.

What does Nehemiah 4:17 mean?

John Gill's Exposition of the Bible
Ver. 17 They which builded on the wall
That laid the mortar and stones upon it, and timber where it was necessary:

and they that bore burdens;
that carried the mortar, stones, and timber to the builders, and served them:

with those that laded;
which prepared the above for them, and laid them on their shoulders:

everyone with one of his hands wrought in the work, and with the other
hand held a weapon;
which is not to be understood strictly and literally, for without both hands they could not well perform either of the above works; but proverbially, signifying that they were intent on both working and fighting, and were ready and prepared to do the latter, as well as the former, having weapons lying by them, or girt about them, as is explained in the following verse.

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