Now it came to pass, when Sanballat, and Tobiah, and Geshem the Arabian,
and the rest of our enemies, heard that I had builded the wall, and that
there was no breach left therein; (though at that time I had not set up
the doors upon the gates;)
2 That Sanballat and Geshem sent unto me, saying, Come, let us meet together in some one of the villages in the plain of Ono. But they thought to do me mischief.
3 And I sent messengers unto them, saying, I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down: why should the work cease, whilst I leave it, and come down to you?
4 Yet they sent unto me four times after this sort; and I answered them after the same manner.
- Sanballat ... Tobiah ... Gershem For more about the leaders
of this opposition, see ne0210, ne0219.
2 - Ono "A town of Benjamin, near Lydda, 1Ch 8:12; Ezr 2:33. The "plain of Ono" is supposed to denote a portion of the Plain of Sharon near Ono, Ne ... 11:35." (ATS Dict.) See Lydda in the SW part of map. Ono is north of Lydda.
3 - I am doing - A good verse to remember when tempted to leave the work God has given us.
|"The wall about Jerusalem was rapidly approaching completion. When it should be finished and its gates set up, these enemies of Israel could not hope to force an entrance into the city. They were the more eager, therefore, to stop the work without further delay. At last they devised a plan by which they hoped to draw Nehemiah from his station, and while they had him in their power, to kill or imprison him. Pretending to desire a compromise of the opposing parties, they sought a conference with Nehemiah, and invited him to meet them in a village on the plain of Ono. But enlightened by the Holy Spirit as to their real purpose, he refused 'I sent messengers unto them,' he writes, 'saying, I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down: why should the work cease, whilst I leave it, and come down to you?' But the tempters were persistent. Four times they sent a message of similar import, and each time they received the same answer." (Prophets and Kings, pp. 653, 654)|
Then sent Sanballat his servant unto me in like manner the fifth time with
an open letter in his hand;
6 Wherein was written, It is reported among the heathen, and Gashmu saith it, that thou and the Jews think to rebel: for which cause thou buildest the wall, that thou mayest be their king, according to these words.
7 And thou hast also appointed prophets to preach of thee 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.
8 Then I sent unto him, saying, There are no such things done as thou sayest, but thou feignest them out of thine own heart.
.9 For they all made us afraid, saying, Their hands shall be weakened from the work, that it be not done. Now therefore, O God, strengthen my hands.
- An open letter So all could read about the supposed rebellion
5 -It is reported Evil people often do this. Compare mt0511.
7 - Appointed prophets Sanballat himself had paid so-called prophets to speak against Nehemiah verses 12, 14. True prophets wouldn't be employed or sent by humans am0713.
9 - Work ... be not done Sanballat may have seen the prophecies of Zechariah but evil people generally reject whatever is different from the plan they want. The words, "O God" are not in the Hebrew but were appropriately supplied.
A false prophet advises Nehemiah
¶ Afterward I came unto the house of Shemaiah the son of Delaiah the
son of Mehetabeel, who was shut up; and he said, Let us meet together in
the house of God, within the temple, and let us shut the doors of the temple:
for they will come to slay thee; yea, in the night will they come to slay
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.
- Shemaiah Five others in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah
had this name but they are other individuals.
10 - Who was shut up This phrase cannot mean that Nehemiah was constrained to visit Shemaiah in his house on account of that latter's being either ceremonially unclean or restrained or for another reason. The falsehood was clear when he advised Nehemiah to flee with him into the temple. Such an action would displease God and the priests. This would have discredited Nehemiah.
14 - My God Compare ne0404.
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 Therefore 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 thou 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.
- Perceived ... not sent The message itself was evidence.
Compare the story of the "old prophet" 1ki1311-19.
13 - Evil report ... reproach Nehemiah could not desecrate the temple. Also the people would be discouraged.
14 - Noadiah She was false, among the false prophets. Her name appears only here.
¶ So the wall was finished in the twenty and fifth day of the month
Elul, in fifty and two days.
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 the nobles of Judah sent many letters unto Tobiah, and the letters of Tobiah came unto them.
18 For there were many in Judah sworn unto him, because he was the son in law of Shechaniah the son of Arah; and his son Johanan had taken the daughter of Meshullam 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.
15- Wall was finished This would have been the 20th year of Artaxerxes. Nehemiah had been given permisson to go to Jerusalem where he was governor. ne0514, ne1306.
19 Leaders who follow God's plan are often opposed.