Nehemiah 4:1-9

Opposition to the Rebuilding

1 When Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, he became angry and was greatly incensed. He ridiculed the Jews,
2 and in the presence of his associates and the army of Samaria, he said, “What are those feeble Jews doing? Will they restore their wall? Will they offer sacrifices? Will they finish in a day? Can they bring the stones back to life from those heaps of rubble—burned as they are?”
3 Tobiah the Ammonite, who was at his side, said, “What they are building—even a fox climbing up on it would break down their wall of stones!”
4 Hear us, our God, for we are despised. Turn their insults back on their own heads. Give them over as plunder in a land of captivity.
5 Do not cover up their guilt or blot out their sins from your sight, for they have thrown insults in the face of[a] the builders.
6 So we rebuilt the wall till all of it reached half its height, for the people worked with all their heart.
7 But when Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites and the people of Ashdod heard that the repairs to Jerusalem’s walls had gone ahead and that the gaps were being closed, they were very angry.
8 They all plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem and stir up trouble against it.
9 But we prayed to our God and posted a guard day and night to meet this threat.

Nehemiah 4:1 in Other Translations

KJV
1 But it came to pass, that when Sanballat heard that we builded the wall, he was wroth, and took great indignation, and mocked the Jews.
ESV
1 Now when Sanballat heard that we were building the wall, he was angry and greatly enraged, and he jeered at the Jews.
NLT
1 Sanballat was very angry when he learned that we were rebuilding the wall. He flew into a rage and mocked the Jews,
MSG
1 When Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall he exploded in anger, vilifying the Jews.
CSB
1 When Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, he became furious. He mocked the Jews

Nehemiah 4:1-9 Meaning and Commentary

INTRODUCTION TO NEHEMIAH 4

This chapter relates, how the Jews, while building, were mocked by their enemies, to which no answer was returned but by prayer to God, and they went on notwithstanding in their work, Ne 4:1-6 and how that their enemies conspired against them, to hinder them by force of arms, Ne 4:7-12 to oppose which, both spiritual and temporal weapons were made use of, so that the work was still carried on, Ne 4:13-23.

Nehemiah 4:1-9 In-Context

1 When Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, he became angry and was greatly incensed. He ridiculed the Jews,
2 and in the presence of his associates and the army of Samaria, he said, “What are those feeble Jews doing? Will they restore their wall? Will they offer sacrifices? Will they finish in a day? Can they bring the stones back to life from those heaps of rubble—burned as they are?”
3 Tobiah the Ammonite, who was at his side, said, “What they are building—even a fox climbing up on it would break down their wall of stones!”
4 Hear us, our God, for we are despised. Turn their insults back on their own heads. Give them over as plunder in a land of captivity.
5 Do not cover up their guilt or blot out their sins from your sight, for they have thrown insults in the face of the builders.
6 So we rebuilt the wall till all of it reached half its height, for the people worked with all their heart.
7 But when Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites and the people of Ashdod heard that the repairs to Jerusalem’s walls had gone ahead and that the gaps were being closed, they were very angry.
8 They all plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem and stir up trouble against it.
9 But we prayed to our God and posted a guard day and night to meet this threat.
10 Meanwhile, the people in Judah said, “The strength of the laborers is giving out, and there is so much rubble that we cannot rebuild the wall.”
11 Also our enemies said, “Before they know it or see us, we will be right there among them and will kill them and put an end to the work.”
12 Then the Jews who lived near them came and told us ten times over, “Wherever you turn, they will attack us.”
13 Therefore I stationed some of the people behind the lowest points of the wall at the exposed places, posting them by families, with their swords, spears and bows.

Cross References 10

  • 1. S Nehemiah 2:10
  • 2. S Ezra 4:9-10
  • 3. Psalms 79:1; Jeremiah 26:18
  • 4. S Nehemiah 2:10
  • 5. Job 13:12; Job 15:3
  • 6. Psalms 44:13; Psalms 79:12; Psalms 123:3-4; Jeremiah 33:24
  • 7. Isaiah 2:9; Lamentations 1:22
  • 8. 2 Kings 14:27; Psalms 51:1; Psalms 69:27-28; Psalms 109:14; Jeremiah 18:23
  • 9. S Nehemiah 2:10
  • 10. Psalms 2:2; Psalms 83:1-18

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. Or "have aroused your anger before"
Scripture quoted by permission.  Quotations designated (NIV) are from THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®.  NIV®.  Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica.  All rights reserved worldwide.