Nehemiah 4:2
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New International Version
and in the presence of his associates and the army of Samaria, he said, "What are those feeble Jews doing? Will they restore their wall? Will they offer sacrifices? Will they finish in a day? Can they bring the stones back to life from those heaps of rubble--burned as they are?"

New Living Translation
saying in front of his friends and the Samarian army officers, "What does this bunch of poor, feeble Jews think they're doing? Do they think they can build the wall in a single day by just offering a few sacrifices? Do they actually think they can make something of stones from a rubbish heap--and charred ones at that?"

English Standard Version
And he said in the presence of his brothers and of the army of Samaria, “What are these feeble Jews doing? Will they restore it for themselves? Will they sacrifice? Will they finish up in a day? Will they revive the stones out of the heaps of rubbish, and burned ones at that?”

New American Standard Bible
He spoke in the presence of his brothers and the wealthy men of Samaria and said, "What are these feeble Jews doing? Are they going to restore it for themselves? Can they offer sacrifices? Can they finish in a day? Can they revive the stones from the dusty rubble even the burned ones?"

King James Bible
And he spake before his brethren and the army of Samaria, and said, What do these feeble Jews? will they fortify themselves? will they sacrifice? will they make an end in a day? will they revive the stones out of the heaps of the rubbish which are burned?

Christian Standard Bible
before his colleagues and the powerful men of Samaria, and said, "What are these pathetic Jews doing? Can they restore it by themselves? Will they offer sacrifices? Will they ever finish it? Can they bring these burnt stones back to life from the mounds of rubble?"

Contemporary English Version
In front of his friends and the Samaritan army he said, "What is this feeble bunch of Jews trying to do? Are they going to rebuild the wall and offer sacrifices all in one day? Do they think they can make something out of this pile of scorched stones?"

Good News Translation
In front of his companions and the Samaritan troops he said, "What do these miserable Jews think they're doing? Do they intend to rebuild the city? Do they think that by offering sacrifices they can finish the work in one day? Can they make building stones out of heaps of burnt rubble?"

Holman Christian Standard Bible
before his colleagues and the powerful men of Samaria, and said, "What are these pathetic Jews doing? Can they restore it by themselves? Will they offer sacrifices? Will they ever finish it? Can they bring these burnt stones back to life from the mounds of rubble?"

International Standard Version
He addressed his allies and the Samaritan officials, saying "What are these pathetic Jews doing? Are they intending to rebuild it by themselves? Do they intend to offer sacrifices? Will they finish in a single day? Can they make stones from this burned out rubble?"

NET Bible
and in the presence of his colleagues and the army of Samaria he said, "What are these feeble Jews doing? Will they be left to themselves? Will they again offer sacrifice? Will they finish this in a day? Can they bring these burnt stones to life again from piles of dust?"

New Heart English Bible
And he spoke before his brothers and the army of Samaria, and said, "What are these feeble Jews doing? Will they restore it for themselves? Will they sacrifice? Will they finish in a day? Will they revive the stones out of the heaps of rubbish, which are burned?"

GOD'S WORD® Translation
In front of his allies and the army from Samaria, he said, "What do these miserable Jews think they're doing? Can they rebuild it by themselves? Are they going to offer sacrifices? Can they finish it in a day? Will they get the stones out of the rubbish heaps, burned as these stones are, and give them new strength?"

JPS Tanakh 1917
And he spoke before his brethren and the army of Samaria, and said: 'What do these feeble Jews? will they restore at will? will they sacrifice? will they make an end this day? will they revive the stones out of the heaps of rubbish, seeing they are burned?'

New American Standard 1977
And he spoke in the presence of his brothers and the wealthy men of Samaria and said, “What are these feeble Jews doing? Are they going to restore it for themselves? Can they offer sacrifices? Can they finish in a day? Can they revive the stones from the dusty rubble even the burned ones?”

Jubilee Bible 2000
And he spoke before his brethren and the army of Samaria and said, What are these feeble Jews doing? Is this to be permitted them? Will they sacrifice? Will they finish on time? Will they resurrect the stones out of the heaps of the rubbish which were burned?

King James 2000 Bible
And he spoke before his brethren and the army of Samaria, and said, What do these feeble Jews? will they fortify themselves? will they sacrifice? will they finish in a day? will they revive the stones out of the heaps of the rubbish which are burned?

American King James Version
And he spoke before his brothers and the army of Samaria, and said, What do these feeble Jews? will they fortify themselves? will they sacrifice? will they make an end in a day? will they revive the stones out of the heaps of the rubbish which are burned?

American Standard Version
And he spake before his brethren and the army of Samaria, and said, What are these feeble Jews doing? will they fortify themselves? will they sacrifice? will they make an end in a day? will they revive the stones out of the heaps of rubbish, seeing they are burned?

Douay-Rheims Bible
And said before his brethren, and the multitude of the Samaritans: What are the silly Jews doing? Will the Gentiles let them alone? will they sacrifice and make an end in a day? are they able to raise stones out of the heaps of the rubbish, which are burnt?

Darby Bible Translation
And he spoke before his brethren and the army of Samaria, and said, What do these feeble Jews? shall they be permitted to go on? Will they offer sacrifices? Will they finish in a day? Will they revive the stones out of the heaps of rubbish, when they are burned?

English Revised Version
And he spake before his brethren and the army of Samaria, and said, What do these feeble Jews? will they fortify themselves? will they sacrifice? will they make an end in a day? will they revive the stones out of the heaps of rubbish, seeing they are burned?

Webster's Bible Translation
And he spoke before his brethren, and the army of Samaria, and said, What do these feeble Jews? will they fortify themselves? will they sacrifice? will they make an end in a day? will they revive the stones out of the heaps of the rubbish which are burned?

World English Bible
He 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?"

Young's Literal Translation
and saith before his brethren and the force of Samaria, yea, he saith, 'What are the weak Jews doing? are they left to themselves? do they sacrifice? do they complete in a day? do they revive the stones out of the heaps of the rubbish? -- and they burnt!'
Study Bible
The Work is Ridiculed
1Now it came about that when Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, he became furious and very angry and mocked the Jews. 2He spoke in the presence of his brothers and the wealthy men of Samaria and said, "What are these feeble Jews doing? Are they going to restore it for themselves? Can they offer sacrifices? Can they finish in a day? Can they revive the stones from the dusty rubble even the burned ones?" 3Now Tobiah the Ammonite was near him and he said, "Even what they are building-- if a fox should jump on it, he would break their stone wall down!"…
Cross References
Ezra 4:9
then wrote Rehum the commander and Shimshai the scribe and the rest of their colleagues, the judges and the lesser governors, the officials, the secretaries, the men of Erech, the Babylonians, the men of Susa, that is, the Elamites,

Ezra 4:10
and the rest of the nations which the great and honorable Osnappar deported and settled in the city of Samaria, and in the rest of the region beyond the River. Now

Nehemiah 4:10
Thus in Judah it was said, "The strength of the burden bearers is failing, Yet there is much rubbish; And we ourselves are unable To rebuild the wall."

Nehemiah 6:15
So the wall was completed on the twenty-fifth of the month Elul, in fifty-two days.

Jeremiah 26:18
"Micah of Moresheth prophesied in the days of Hezekiah king of Judah; and he spoke to all the people of Judah, saying, 'Thus the LORD of hosts has said, "Zion will be plowed as a field, And Jerusalem will become ruins, And the mountain of the house as the high places of a forest."'

Jeremiah 33:24
"Have you not observed what this people have spoken, saying, 'The two families which the LORD chose, He has rejected them'? Thus they despise My people, no longer are they as a nation in their sight.

Zechariah 4:10
"For who has despised the day of small things? But these seven will be glad when they see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel-- these are the eyes of the LORD which range to and fro throughout the earth."
Treasury of Scripture

And he spoke before his brothers and the army of Samaria, and said, What do these feeble Jews? will they fortify themselves? will they sacrifice? will they make an end in a day? will they revive the stones out of the heaps of the rubbish which are burned?

the army

Ezra 4:9,10 Then wrote Rehum the chancellor, and Shimshai the scribe, and the …

feeble

1 Samuel 14:11,12 And both of them discovered themselves to the garrison of the Philistines: …

1 Samuel 17:43,44 And the Philistine said to David, Am I a dog, that you come to me …

Zechariah 12:8 In that day shall the LORD defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and …

1 Corinthians 1:27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise…

fortify themselves. Heb. leave to themselves. sacrifice

Nehemiah 12:27,43 And at the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem they sought the Levites …

revive

Nehemiah 4:10 And Judah said, The strength of the bearers of burdens is decayed, …

Ezekiel 37:3-13 And he said to me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, …

Habakkuk 3:2 O LORD, I have heard your speech, and was afraid: O LORD, revive …

(2) His brethren and the army of Samaria.--The counsellors and body-guard of Sanballat.

Will they fortify themselves?--Rather, will they leave them to themselves? The nations are referred to; but contempt is not scrupulous or precise.

Will they sacrifice?--This is the provocation of God mentioned in Nehemiah 4:5.

Verse 2. - Before his brethren. By "his brethren" would seem to be meant his chief counsellors - probably Tobiah among them. The army of Samaria. Some understand by this a Persian garrison, stationed in Samaria under its own commander, with which Sanballat had influence (Ewald, 'History of Israel,' vol. 5. p. 153), but there is no real ground for such a supposition. Psalm 83, belongs probably to David's time; and as Samaria had doubtless its own native force of armed citizens, who were Sanballat's subjects, it is quite unnecessary to suppose that he addressed himself to any other "army" than this. The Persians would maintain a force in Damascus, but scarcely in Samaria; and Persian soldiers, had there been any in that city, would have been more likely to support a royal cupbearer than a petty governor with no influence at court. We can really only explain the disturbed state of things and approach to open hostility which appears in Nehemiah's narrative, by the weakness of Persia in these parts, and the consequent power of the native races to act pretty much as they pleased - even to the extent of making war one upon another. Will they fortify themselves? No other rendering is tenable. Ewald ('History of Israel,' vol. 3. p. 154, note 5)defends it successfully. Will they sacrifice? Will they make an end in a day? The meaning seems to be, "Will they begin and make an end in a day?" It is assumed that they will begin by offering a sacrifice to inaugurate their work. Will they revive the stones out of the heaps of the rubbish which are burned? Rather, "Will they revive the burnt stones (the stones that are burned) out of the heaps of the rubbish?" Will they do what is im-possible-solidify and make into real stone the calcined and crumbling blocks which are all that they will find in the heaps of rubbish? If not, how are they to procure material? And he spake before his brethren,.... Tobiah the Ammonite, and Geshem the Arabian, and perhaps some other governors of the king of Persia in those parts:

and before the army of Samaria: which, and the inhabitants of it, were implacable enemies of the Jews:

and said, what do these feeble Jews? what do they pretend to do, or what can they do?

will they fortify themselves? by building a wall about their city; can they think they shall ever be able to do this, or that it will be allowed?

will they sacrifice? meaning not their daily sacrifice, as Jarchi, that they had done a long time, but for the dedication of their building, as Aben Ezra:

will they make an end in a day? they seem to be in as great a hurry and haste as if they meant it; and indeed, unless they can do it very quickly, they never will: they will soon be stopped:

will they revive the stones out of the heaps of the rubbish which are burnt? where will they find materials? do they imagine that they can make burnt stones firm and strong again, or harden the dust and rubbish into stones, or make that, which is as if dead, alive? to do this is the same as to revive a dead man, and they may as well think of doing the one as the other; burnt stones being reckoned as dead, as Eben Ezra observes. 4:1-6 Many a good work has been looked upon with contempt by proud and haughty scorners. Those who disagree in almost every thing, will unite in persecution. Nehemiah did not answer these fools according to their folly, but looked up to God by prayer. God's people have often been a despised people, but he hears all the slights that are put upon them, and it is their comfort that he does so. Nehemiah had reason to think that the hearts of those sinners were desperately hardened, else he would not have prayed that their sins might never be blotted out. Good work goes on well, when people have a mind to it. The reproaches of enemies should quicken us to our duty, not drive us from it.
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