Neh 4: Arab opposition. Cp Arab nations, who opposed the
rebuilding of Israel today: ie, Psa 83. The Jews' enemies used ridicule (vv 1-6)
as well as armed resistance (v 8) to oppose the work.
FEEBLE: The Hebrew root "amelal" -- used here to
ridicule the Jews -- is occasionally used in the OT to denote the fading or
withering of a plant (Isa 16:8; 24:7; etc). It is also used of people without
any hope (Isa 19:8; Hos 4:3).
THOSE HEAPS OF RUBBLE -- BURNED AS THEY ARE: These were
the remains of the very fires set by Nebuchadnezzar's army, during the sack of
Jerusalem over 100 years before (2Ch 36:19). The Jews built with the rubble of
the previous walls.
THEIR INSULTS: Not so much their insults of the Jews,
but their (implied) insults of God Himself, and their demeaning of His purpose
A cry to Yahweh, to take vengeance. This is His work, not the
work of Nehemiah or other believers (cf Deut 32:35; Rom 12:19). Cp Psa
FOR THE PEOPLE WORKED WITH ALL THEIR HEART: " 'The
people had a mind to work.' [Neh 4:6, KJV] When that is condensed into one word,
it spells cooperation. The same idea was expressed by the apostles in such terms
as 'one mind', 'like-minded', and 'with one accord'. This thought should impress
us deeply, because it is the only way possible for an ecclesia to
"If we do not work together, our love will grow cold;
bitterness and evil speaking will be generated, and if this is augmented by the
continual agitation of some crotchet which has been developed by our desire to
have our own way, the foundations of our ecclesia will disintegrate and the
whole structure will collapse. We must be on our guard at all times, and examine
our purpose and motives...." (GAG, Ber 59:354).
THE MEN OF ASHDOD: Whose language the children of the
alien marriages spoke (Neh 13:23-25).
THEY ALL PLOTTED TOGETHER: "Why do the nations conspire
[LXX 'rage'] and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth take their
stand and the rulers gather together against the LORD and against his Anointed
One" (Psa 2:1,2). Josephus wrote of this time that "they slew many Jews" (Ant
WE PRAYED TO OUR GOD AND POSTED A GUARD: "Watch AND
pray" (Mat 26:41; Mar 14:38; Luk 21:36). We must be "God's fellow workers" (2Co
6:1): neither doing everything ourselves nor expecting God to do everything for
"Nehemiah was sent to Jerusalem by the king to with the
authority to rebuild the wall. He is vehemently opposed by two individuals,
Sanballat and Tobiah, and their cronies. The returning Israelites are forced to
complete their work in odd fashion -- half of them work while half of them stand
"Perhaps you have struggled with the balance between faith and
practical action. When faced with a situation, do we take immediate action or
wait for an answer to our prayers?
"The amazing thing about this little verse is how practical it
is for all of us. We all face Sanballats and Tobiahs in life. We are trying to
do the best we can and for every block we built on the wall, they tear two down.
We are faced with the question of what we are to do about it. We can determine
ourselves to work twice as hard. We can sit back and pray that God will provide
and answer. Nehemiah provides us with a little key that it might not be one or
the other, but both.
"So many times when faced with life's adversity, we will try
to overcome with our own strength. We don't necessarily seek the Lord's guidance
in our endeavor, but depend on ourselves or others. On the other hand, we may be
tempted to wash our hands completely of the whole thing and simply ask God to
"Nehemiah didn't do just one, but both. He prayed and asked
God's guidance and then acted. His actions were not impetuous or prideful, but
an act of faith. We recall that the 'faith' chapter of Heb 11 is not just men
and women who sat around, but people of action. Abel offered. Noah prepared an
ark. Abraham obeyed and went out. Sarah conceived. Moses refused to be called
the son of Pharaoh's daughter and forsook Egypt. Rahab received the spies. Their
faith in God could not be confined to the mind alone.
"It would benefit us all to pray to God and post a guard. Ask
God for the strength, guidance and blessing of success in whatsoever we put our
hands to do and then get to work" (KT).
THERE IS SO MUCH RUBBLE THAT WE CANNOT REBUILD THE
WALL: We must clear away the "rubble" of our lives before we can truly begin
to build God's "city"!
ALSO OUR ENEMIES SAID...: We should never quote the
enemy! They seek only to undermine and destroy our faith.
THEREFORE I STATIONED...: Nehemiah gets personally
involved in organizing the defense of the city.
"Many a lesser disciple would have thrown up his hands in
despair and headed for the comforts of the Persian palace" (HAW).
I STOOD UP AND SAID TO THE NOBLES, THE OFFICIALS AND THE
REST OF THE PEOPLE...: Nehemiah -- though a layman -- assumes the
responsibility of the priests, in exhorting the armies of the LORD before they
go into battle (Deu 20:1-4).
DON'T BE AFRAID OF THEM. REMEMBER THE LORD: 'Just ask
yourselves, "Are THEY stronger than the God of Israel?" '
WHO IS GREAT AND AWESOME: Cp Neh 1:5.
MY MEN: Prob Nehemiah's personal servants -- now
organized into a special military unit.
WE ARE WIDELY SEPARATED FROM EACH OTHER ALONG THE WALL:
As the brothers and sisters today may be widely separated from one another, and
forced to exist spiritually in near or total isolation.
OUR GOD WILL FIGHT FOR US!: In citing Exo 14:14, they
were seeing their work as analogous to the escape from slavery in
HAVE EVERY MAN AND HIS HELPER STAY INSIDE JERUSALEM AT
NIGHT: This would also stop the intrigue of the disaffected, who might go
back and forth and consort with the enemy.
"I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep;
I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been
cold and naked" (2Co 11:27). "Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of
Christ Jesus" (2Ti 2:3).