S X 1. Occasion. Y 2-8. First stratagem. Compromise. Z 9-. Fear. A -9. Prayer. X 10-. Occasion. Y -10-12. Second stratagem. Frightening. Z 13. Fear. A 14. Prayer.
1 Now it came to pass when Sanballat, and Tobiah (see 2:19; 4:7), and Geshem (another spelling in Sanballat's [v.6], Gashmu) the Arabian, and the rest of our enemies, heard that I had built the wall, and that there was no breach left therein; (though at that time I had not set up the doors upon the gates;)
Y a1 2. Application. Made. b1 3. Nehemiah. Refusal. a2 4-. Application. Repeated. 4 times. b2 -4. Nehemiah. Refusal repeated. 4 times. a3 5-7. Accusation. b3 8. Nehemiah. Denial.
2 That Sanballat (= strength) and Geshem (= filthy) sent to me, saying, "Come, let us meet together in some one of the villages (= Cephērīm [7:29. Ezra 2:25]; now Kefr'Ama, 25 miles from Jerusalem; 8 miles east of Jaffa; 6 miles north of Lydda) in the plain of Ono." (now Kefr'Ama, 5 miles north of Lydda) But they thought to do me mischief. (To kill or capture Nehemiah. Cp. Prov. 26:24)
3 And I sent messengers to them, saying, "I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down: why should the work cease, while I leave it, and come down to you?"
4 Yet they sent to me four times (the enemy takes no denial) after this sort;
and I answered them after the same manner. (The only sure and safe procedure. Cp. 1 Sam. 17:30)
5 Then sent Sanballat his servant to me in like manner the fifth time with an open letter in his hand;
6 Wherein was written, "It is reported among the nations, and Gashmu said it, that you and the Jews think to rebel: for which cause you built the wall, that you may be their king, according to these words.
7 And you have also appointed prophets to preach of you at Jerusalem, saying, 'There is a king in Judah:' and now shall it be reported to the king according to these words. Come now therefore, and let us take counsel together." (The object still compromise)
8 Then I sent to him, saying, "There are no such things done as you say, but you feign (only here and 1 Kings 12:33 [devise) them out of your own heart."
9 For they all made us afraid (sought to make the afraid, but Nehemiah had no fear. See. v.11), saying, "Their hands shall be weakened from the work, that it be not done."
Now therefore, O God, strengthen my hands.
10 Afterward I came to the house of Shemaiah (a professed friend, but a false prophet. See v.12) the son of Delaiah the son of Mehetabeel, who was confined; (as in prison. See Jer. 33:1; 36:5; 39:15)
Y c -10-. Stratagem. Made. d -10. Pretense. Feigned. c 11. Stratagem. Failure. d 12. Pretense. Discovered.
and he said, "Let us meet together in the house of the [true] God (this must have been a temporary structure. Nehemiah could not be without some place wherein to worship. The Altar not yet erected. The Temple yet not built. See 7:4), within the temple, and let us close the doors of the temple: (as to conceal)
for they will come to slay you; yes, in the night will they come to slay you."
11 And I said, Should such a man as I flee? and who is there, that, being as I am, would go into the temple to save his life? I will not go in.
12 And, lo, I perceived that God had not sent him; but that he pronounced this prophecy against me: for Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him.
13 To this end was he hired, that I should be afraid, and do so, and sin, and that they might have matter for an evil report, that they might reproach me.
14 My God, think You upon Tobiah and Sanballat according to these their works, and on the prophetess Noadiah, and the rest of the prophets, that would have put me in fear.
15 So the wall was finished in the twenty and fifth day of the month Elul, in fifty and two days. (It finished on the 25 Elul, and work took 52 days, it must have commenced on the 3rd of Ab [5th month]. Work rapid, because all materials there: and God's good hand was there upon him.)
16 And it came to pass, that when all our enemies heard thereof, and all the heathen that were about us saw these things, they were much cast down in their own eyes: for they perceived that this work was wrought of our God.
17 Moreover in those days certain nobles (not necessarily all) of Judah sent many letters to Tobiah, and the letters of Tobiah came to them.
18 For there were many in Judah sworn to him, because he was the son in law of Shechaniah (connected also with a high priest Eliashib. Cp. 13:4) the son of Arah; and his son Johanan had taken the daughter of Meshullam (cp. 3:3,30) the son of Berechiah.
19 Also they reported his good deeds before me, and uttered my words to him. And Tobiah sent letters to put me in fear.