Nehemiah 4:4
Parallel Verses
New International Version
Hear us, our God, for we are despised. Turn their insults back on their own heads. Give them over as plunder in a land of captivity.

New Living Translation
Then I prayed, "Hear us, our God, for we are being mocked. May their scoffing fall back on their own heads, and may they themselves become captives in a foreign land!

English Standard Version
Hear, O our God, for we are despised. Turn back their taunt on their own heads and give them up to be plundered in a land where they are captives.

New American Standard Bible
Hear, O our God, how we are despised! Return their reproach on their own heads and give them up for plunder in a land of captivity.

King James Bible
Hear, O our God; for we are despised: and turn their reproach upon their own head, and give them for a prey in the land of captivity:

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Listen, our God, for we are despised. Make their insults return on their own heads and let them be taken as plunder to a land of captivity.

International Standard Version
"Listen, our God, because we are being mocked. Let their insults fall back on them, and let them be dragged away as captives into exile.

NET Bible
Hear, O our God, for we are despised! Return their reproach on their own head! Reduce them to plunder in a land of exile!

GOD'S WORD® Translation
[Nehemiah prayed,] "Our God, hear us. We are despised. Turn their insults back on them, and let them be robbed in the land where they are prisoners.

Jubilee Bible 2000
Hear, O our God; for we are despised; and turn their reproach upon their own head, and give them for a prey in the land of their captivity.

King James 2000 Bible
Hear, O our God; for we are despised: and turn their reproach upon their own head, and give them for a spoil in a land of captivity:

American King James Version
Hear, O our God; for we are despised: and turn their reproach on their own head, and give them for a prey in the land of captivity:

American Standard Version
Hear, O our God; for we are despised: and turn back their reproach upon their own head, and give them up for a spoil in a land of captivity;

Douay-Rheims Bible
Hear thou our God, for we are despised: turn their reproach upon their own head, and give them to be despised in a land of captivity.

Darby Bible Translation
Hear, our God, for we are despised, and turn their reproach upon their own head, and give them for a prey in a land of captivity!

English Revised Version
Hear, O our God; for we are despised: and turn back their reproach upon their own head, and give them up to spoiling in a land of captivity:

Webster's Bible Translation
Hear, O our God; for we are despised: and turn their reproach upon their own head, and give them for a prey in the land of captivity:

World English Bible
"Hear, our God; for we are despised; and turn back their reproach on their own head, give them up for a spoil in a land of captivity;

Young's Literal Translation
Hear, O our God, for we have been despised; and turn back their reproach on their own head, and give them for a spoil in a land of captivity;
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

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.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 4. - Hear, O our God. Compare Ezra's parenthetic burst of thanksgiving (Ezra 7:27, 28). That which in Ezra was a sudden impulse has become a settled habit with Nehemiah (comp. Nehemiah 5:19; Nehemiah 6:9, 14; Nehemiah 13:14, 22, 29, 31). Turn their reproach upon their own head. The imprecations of Nehemiah are no pattern to Christians, any more than are those of the Psalmists (Psalm 69:22-28; Psalm 79:12; Psalm 109:6-20, etc.); but it cannot be denied that they are imprecations. Before men were taught to "love their enemies," and "bless those that cursed them" (Matthew 5:44), they gave vent to their natural feelings of anger and indignation by the utterance of maledictions. Nehemiah's spirit was hot and hasty; and as he records of himself (Nehemiah 13:25) that he "cursed" certain Jews who had taken foreign wives, so it is not to be wondered at that he uttered imprecations against his persistent enemies.

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

Hear, O our God, for we are despised,.... Here begins the prayer of Nehemiah, who had been informed of what these men said in contempt of him, and his builders, and to whom he sent no answer, but applied to God:

and turn their reproach upon their own head; as they have despised and reproached us, let them be despised and reproached by their neighbours:

give them for a prey in the land of captivity; let them be carried captive, as we have been, and become a prey and booty to their enemies.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

4, 5. Hear, O our God; for we are despised—The imprecations invoked here may seem harsh, cruel, and vindictive; but it must be remembered that Nehemiah and his friends regarded those Samaritan leaders as enemies to the cause of God and His people, and therefore as deserving to be visited with heavy judgments. The prayer, therefore, is to be considered as emanating from hearts in which neither hatred, revenge, nor any inferior passion, but a pious and patriotic zeal for the glory of God and the success of His cause, held the ascendant sway.

Nehemiah 4:4 Additional Commentaries
Context
The Work is Ridiculed
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!" 4Hear, O our God, how we are despised! Return their reproach on their own heads and give them up for plunder in a land of captivity. 5Do not forgive their iniquity and let not their sin be blotted out before You, for they have demoralized the builders.…
Cross References
Nehemiah 5:9
So I continued, "What you are doing is not right. Shouldn't you walk in the fear of our God to avoid the reproach of our Gentile enemies?

Psalm 79:12
Pay back into the laps of our neighbors seven times the contempt they have hurled at you, Lord.

Psalm 123:3
Have mercy on us, LORD, have mercy on us, for we have endured no end of contempt.

Psalm 123:4
We have endured no end of ridicule from the arrogant, of contempt from the proud.

Lamentations 1:22
"Let all their wickedness come before you; deal with them as you have dealt with me because of all my sins. My groans are many and my heart is faint."
Treasury of Scripture

Hear, O our God; for we are despised: and turn their reproach on their own head, and give them for a prey in the land of captivity:

Hear

Psalm 123:3,4 Have mercy on us, O LORD, have mercy on us: for we are exceedingly …

despised. Heb. despite. turn

1 Samuel 17:26 And David spoke to the men that stood by him, saying, What shall …

Psalm 79:12 And render to our neighbors sevenfold into their bosom their reproach, …

Proverbs 3:34 Surely he scorns the scorners: but he gives grace to the lowly.

Hosea 12:14 Ephraim provoked him to anger most bitterly: therefore shall he leave …

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