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CHAPTER 4 Nov.17 
Opposition to the Work
But it happened that when Sanballat heard that we were building the wall, he was angry, and took great indignation, and mocked the Jews. 2He spoke before his brothers and the army of Samaria and said, What are these feeble Jews doing? Will they fortify themselves? Will they sacrifice? Will they finish in a day? Will they revive the stones out of the heaps of rubbish, since they are burned? 3Now Tobiah the Ammonite was by him, and he said, What they are building? If a fox climbed up it, he would break down their stone wall. 4Hear, our God; for we are despised. Turn back their reproach on their own head, give them up for a spoil in a land of captivity. 5Don’t cover their iniquity, and don’t let their sin be blotted out from before You; for they have insulted the builders. 6So we built the wall; and all the wall was joined together to half its height; for the people had a mind to work. 7But it happened that when Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabians, the Ammonites, and the Ashdodites heard that the repairing of the walls of Jerusalem went forward, and that the breaches began to be filled, then they were very angry. 8They conspired all of them together to come and fight against Jerusalem, and to cause confusion therein. 9But we made our prayer to our God, and set a watch against them day and night, because of them. 10Judah said, The strength of the bearers of burdens is fading, and there is much rubbish; so that we are not able to build the wall. 11Our adversaries said, They shall not know, neither see, until we come into their midst, and kill them, and cause the work to cease. 12It happened that when the Jews who lived by them came, they said to us ten times from all places, Wherever you turn, they will attack us. 13Therefore set I in the lowest parts of the space behind the wall, in the open places, I set the people after their families with their swords, their spears, and their bows. 14I looked, and rose up, and said to the nobles, and to the rulers, and to the rest of the people, Don’t be afraid of them! Remember the Lord, Who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, and your daughters, your wives, and your houses.
Opposition Is Overcome
15It happened, when our enemies heard that it was known to us, and God had brought their counsel to nothing, that we returned all of us to the wall, each one to his work. 16It happened from that time onwards, that half of my servants worked in the work, and half of them held the spears, the shields, and the bows, and the coats of mail; and the rulers were behind all the house of Judah. 17They all built the wall while those who bore burdens loaded themselves; each one with one of his hands toiled in the work, and with the other held his weapon; 18and the builders, each one wore his sword at his side, and so built. He who sounded the trumpet was by me. 19I said to the nobles, to the rulers and to the rest of the people, The work is great and large, and we are separated on the wall, one far from another. 20Wherever you hear the sound of the trumpet, rally there to us. Our God will fight for us. 21So we worked at rebuilding. Half of them held the spears from the rising of the morning until the stars appeared. 22Likewise at the same time said I to the people, Let each one with his servant lodge within Jerusalem, that in the night they may be a guard to us, and may labour in the day. 23So I, my brothers, my servants, and the men of the guard who followed me, did not take off our clothes except to wash.


4:4 Is. 51:3-11 is clearly in a restoration context: “For Yahweh shall comfort Zion: He will comfort all her waste places... Hearken unto me, you that know righteousness, the people in whose heart is My law; fear not the reproach of men [s.w. Neh. 1:3; 2:17; 4:4; 5:9 re. the reproach of the Gentiles against the partially rebuilt Jerusalem], neither be afraid of their reviling”. Insofar as Nehemiah and the Jews knew this prophecy, they would have taken great encouragement. But maybe they were unfamiliar with it, and yet still did the work, although lacking the encouragement which they could have had. Our familiarity with God’s word becomes of great value when in a difficult situation we suddenly perceive how we are being spoken to directly by God’s prophetic word.