Nehemiah Chapter 6
1 Now when it was reported to Sanballat, Tobiah, and to Geshem the Arabian, and to the rest of our enemies, that I had built the wall, and that there was no breach left in it (though even to that time I had not set up the doors in the gates)
2 Sanballat and Geshem sent to me, saying, "Come! Let's meet together in the villages in the plain of Ono." But they intended to harm me.
3 I sent messengers to them, saying, "I am doing a great work, so that I can't come down. Why should the work cease, while I leave it, and come down to you?"
4 They sent to me four times like this; and I answered them the same way.
5 Then Sanballat sent his servant to me the same way the fifth time with an open letter in his hand,
6 in which was written, "It is reported amongst the nations, and Gashmu says it, that you and the Jews intend to rebel. Because of that, you are building the wall. You would be their king, according to these words.
7 You have also appointed prophets to proclaim of you at Jerusalem, saying, 'There is a king in Judah!' Now it will be reported to the king according to these words. Come now therefore, and let's take counsel together."
8 Then I sent to him, saying, "There are no such things done as you say, but you imagine them out of your own heart."
9 For they all would have made us afraid, saying, "Their hands will be weakened from the work, that it not be done." But now, strengthen my hands.
10 I went to the house of Shemaiah the son of Delaiah the son of Mehetabel, who was shut in at his home; and he said, "Let us meet together in God's house, within the temple, and let's shut the doors of the temple; for they will come to kill you. Yes, in the night they will come to kill you."
11 I said, "Should a man like me flee? Who is there that, being such as I, would go into the temple to save his life? I will not go in."
12 I discerned, and behold, God had not sent him; but he pronounced this prophecy against me. Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him.
13 He hired so that I would be afraid, do so, and sin, and that they might have material for an evil report, that they might reproach me.
14 "Remember, my God, Tobiah and Sanballat according to these their works, and also 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-fifth day of Elul, in fifty-two days.
16 When all our enemies heard of it, all the nations that were around us were afraid, and they lost their confidence; for they perceived that this work was done by our God.
17 Moreover in those days the nobles of Judah sent many letters to Tobiah, and Tobiah's letters came to them.
18 For there were many in Judah sworn to him, because he was the son-in-law of Shecaniah the son of Arah; and his son Jehohanan had taken the daughter of Meshullam the son of Berechiah as wife.
19 Also they spoke of his good deeds before me, and reported my words to him. Tobiah sent letters to put me in fear.
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Nehemiah Chapter 6 Guide
In this chapter we have the account of the continuity of opposition to the work of Nehemiah. It moved, however, on to a new plane. Having begun in contempt, and proceeded through conspiracy, it now attempted to accomplish its end by subtlety. Affecting friendship, the enemies of Nehemiah four times proposed conference with him, which he resolutely declined, and pressed forward with his work. This was followed by a slanderous open letter, which he was urged to consider. Again, with singular directness, he denied the slander, and carried on his building.
Finding that he was not to be seduced, they attempted a new method, to fill him with fear, and he was advised to hide. This advice he scorned, and continued to urge the workers. Through the whole period he was harassed by the complicity of certain of the nobles with Tobiah. He was constantly compelled to listen to their stories concerning the excellence of this man.
This whole chapter is a wonderful revelation of the true attitude of the servant of God toward his work. Nothing must be allowed to slacken endeavour or to turn the mind aside from the main purpose. Each of these methods illustrates a peril. Conferences with the enemies of the King about His work are always to be avoided. Slanders concerning the workers and their purpose may be denied, but the work must never cease, even for vindication by argument. With the consciousness of the divine purpose in the heart, no man can secure his own safety by hiding, even in the Temple of God. The perpetual wear of reiterated stories concerning the excellence of those who would hinder the building, must be resisted zealously. In all these things Nehemiah was a conspicuous success.
From "An Exposition of the Whole Bible" by G. Campbell Morgan.