Nechemyah 6

1 Now it came to pass when Sanvalat, and Toviyah, and Geshem the Arab, and the rest of oyveinu (our enemies), heard that I had rebuilt HaChomah, and that there was no peretz (gap) left therein (though at that time I had not set up the dalatot in the she’arim),
2 That Sanvalat and Geshem sent unto me, saying, Come, let us meet together in one of the villages in the plain of Ono. But they were choshevim (the ones scheming) to do me ra’ah (harm).
3 And I sent malachim unto them, saying, I am doing a melachah gedolah, so that I cannot come down. Why should the melachah cease, whilst I leave it, and come down to you?
4 Yet they sent unto me this message arbah pe’amim; and I answered them after the same manner.
5 Then sent Sanvalat his aid unto me in like manner the fifth time with an unsealed iggeret in his hand;
6 Wherein was written, It is reported among the Goyim, and Gashmu saith it, that thou and the Yehudim are choshevim (the ones scheming) revolt, for which cause thou buildest the Chomah, that thou mayest be their Melech, according to these reports.
7 And thou hast also appointed nevi’im to make this proclamation about thee at Yerushalayim, saying, There is a Melech in Yehudah! Now this report will get back to HaMelech. Come now therefore, and let us take counsel together.
8 Then I sent unto him, saying, There are no such devarim (things) done as thou sayest, but thou inventest them out of thine own lev.
9 For they all were trying to make us afraid, saying, Their hands shall get too weakened for the melachah, that it be not completed. Now therefore, strengthen my hands!
10 Afterward I came unto the bais Shemayah ben Delayah ben Mehetave’el, who was confined; and he said, Let us meet together in the Bais HaElohim, within the Heikhal, and let us close the dalatot of the Heikhal, for they will come to slay thee; yea, tonight they come to slay thee.
11 And I said, Should such a man as I flee? And who is there, that, being as I am, would go into the Heikhal to save his life? I will not go in.
12 And, hinei, I perceived that Elohim had not sent him; but that he pronounced this nevu’ah (prophecy) against me, for Toviyah and Sanvalat had hired him.
13 Therefore was he hired, that I should be afraid, and do so, and sin, and that they might have given me a shem rah (bad name), that they might discredit me.
14 Remember, Elohai, Toviyah and Sanvalat according to these their ma’asim, and also the neviah (prophetess) Noadyah, and the rest of the nevi’im, that would have intimidated me.
15 So the Chomah was finished in the twenty and fifth day of the month Elul, in fifty and two days.
16 And it came to pass, that when all oyveinu (our enemies) heard thereof, and all the Goyim around us saw these things, they were much cast down in their own eyes, for they perceived that this melachah was accomplished by Eloheinu.
17 Moreover in those days the nobles of Yehudah sent many iggerot unto Toviyah, and the iggrot of Toviyah were making reply unto them.
18 For there were many ba’alei shevuah in Yehudah unto him, because he was the choson (son-in-law) of Shechanyah ben Arach, and his son Yehochanan had taken the bat Meshullam ben Berechyah.
19 Also they reported his [Toviyah’s supposed] merits before me, and uttered my words to him. And Toviyah sent letters with the intent of intimidating me. [T.N. We see that the work of G-d had to be accomplished, not in a vacuum of peace and tranquility, but against the backdrop of manipulation and intimidation. Nehemiah gives G-d the credit and the glory for his escaping every snare.]

Nechemyah 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.

Nechemyah 6 Commentaries

The Orthodox Jewish Bible fourth edition, OJB. Copyright 2002,2003,2008,2010, 2011 by Artists for Israel International. All rights reserved.