Progress in Spite of Opposition
Nehemiah 4:1-23 When Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall,” he became furious. He mocked the Jews
before his colleagues and the powerful men of Samaria, and said, “What are these pathetic Jews doing? Can they restore it by themselves? Will they offer sacrifices? Will they ever finish it? Can they bring these burnt stones back to life from the mounds of rubble?”
Then Tobiah the Ammonite, who was beside him, said, “Indeed, even if a fox climbed up what they were building, he would break down their stone wall!”
Listen, our God, for we are despised. Make their insults return on their own heads and let them be taken as plunder to a land of captivity.
Do not cover their guilt or let their sin be erased from your sight, because they have angered the builders.
So we rebuilt the wall until the entire wall was joined together up to half its height, for the people had the will to keep working.
When Sanballat, Tobiah, and the Arabs, Ammonites, and Ashdodites heard that the repair to the walls of Jerusalem was progressing and that the gaps were being closed, they became furious.
They all plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem and throw it into confusion.
So we prayed to our God and stationed a guard because of them day and night.
In Judah, it was said; The strength of the laborer fails, since there is so much rubble. We will never be able to rebuild the wall.
And our enemies said, “They won’t realize it until we’re among them and can kill them and stop the work.
When the Jews who lived nearby arrived, they said to us time and again, “Everywhere you turn, they attack us.”
So I stationed people behind the lowest sections of the wall, at the vulnerable areas. I stationed them by families with the swords, spears, and bows.
After I made an inspection, I stood up and said to the noble, the officials, and the rest of the people, “Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the great and awe-inspiring Lord, and fight for your countrymen, your sons and daughters, your wives and homes.”
Sword and Trowel
When our enemies heard that we knew their scheme and that God had frustrated it, every one of us returned to his own work on the wall.
From that day on, half of my men did the work while the other half held spears, shields, bows, and armor. Tye officers supported all the people of Judah,
who were rebuilding the wall. The laborers who carried the loads worked with one hand and held a weapon with the other.
Each of the builders had his sword strapped around his waist while he was building, and the trumpeter was beside me.
Then I said to the nobles, the officials, and the rest of the people, “The work is enormous and spread out, and we are separated far from one another along the wall.
Whenever you hear the trumpet sound, rally to us there. Our God will fight for us!”
So we continued the work. while half of the men were holding spears from daybreak until the stars came out.
At that time, I also said to the people, “Let everyone and his servant spend the night inside Jerusalem, so that they can stand guard by night and work by day.”
And I, my brothers, my servants, and the men of the guard with me never took off our clothes. Each carried his weapon, even when washing.”
Attempts to Discourage the Builders
Nehemiah 6:1-14 When Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem the Arab, and the rest of our enemies heard that I had rebuilt the wall and that no gap was left in it–though at that time I had not installed the doors in the city gates–
Sanballat and Geshem sent me a message; “Come, let’s meet together in the villages of the One Valley.” They were planning to harm me.
So I sent messengers to them, saying, “I am doing important work and cannot come down. Why should the work cease while I leave it and go down to you?”
Four times they sent me the same proposal, and I gave them the same reply.
Sanballat sent me this same message a fifth time by his aide, who had an open letter in his hand.
In it was written: It is reported among the nations==and Geshem agrees–that you and the Jews plan to rebel. This is the reason you are building the wall. According to these reports, you are to become their king
and have even set up the prophets in Jerusalem to proclaim on your behalf; “There is a king in Judah,” These rumors will be heard by the king. So come, let’s confer together.
Then I replied to him, “There is nothing to these rumors you are spreading; you are inventing them in your own mind.”
For they were all trying to intimidate us, saying, “They will drop their hands from the work, and it will never be finished.” But now, my God, strengthen my hands.
Attempts to Intimidate Nehemiah
I went to the house of Shemaiah son of Delaiah, son of Mehetabel, who was restricted to his house. He said; Let’s meet at the house of God, inside the temple. Let’s shut the temple doors because they’re coming to kill you. They’re coming to kill you tonight!’
But I said, “Should a man like me run away? How can someone like me enter the temple and live? I will not go.”
I realized that God had not sent him, because of the prophecy he spoke against me. Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him.
He was hired, so that I would be intimidated, do as he suggested, sin, and get a bad reputation, in order that they could discredit me.’
My God, remember Tobiah and Sanballat for what they have done, and also the prophetess Noadiah and the other prophets who wanted to intimidate me.