Nehemiah 2:16
And the rulers knew not where I went, or what I did; neither had I as yet told it to the Jews, nor to the priests, nor to the nobles, nor to the rulers, nor to the rest that did the work.
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(16) The rest that did the work, that is, afterwards. The caution of this procedure is justified by subsequent events: the city teemed with elements of danger. The nobles and rulers were possessed of no substantial repressive authority.

2:9-18 When Nehemiah had considered the matter, he told the Jews that God had put it into his heart to build the wall of Jerusalem. He does not undertake to do it without them. By stirring up ourselves and one another to that which is good, we strengthen ourselves and one another for it. We are weak in our duty, when we are cold and careless.The rulers - The principal authorities of the city, in the absence of the special governor.

The rest that did the work - i. e. "the laboring class that (afterward) actually built the wall."

16-18. the rulers knew not—The following day, having assembled the elders, Nehemiah produced his commission and exhorted them to assist in the work. The sight of his credentials, and the animating strain of his address and example, so revived their drooping spirits that they resolved immediately to commence the building, which they did, despite the bitter taunts and scoffing ridicule of some influential men. Or, were to do, or should do, i.e. whom he intended to employ in the work here following, of building the walls. And the rulers knew not whither I went, or what I did..... The rulers of the city of Jerusalem, who seem to be officers of the king of Persia, since they are distinguished from Jewish rulers in the next clause:

neither had I as yet told it to the Jews; what he came about and designed to do:

nor to the priests, nor to the nobles, nor to the rulers; the principal men among the Jews, both ecclesiastical and civil:

nor to the rest that did the work; of building and repairing; neither those that were employed in it, nor those that overlooked it.

And the rulers knew not whither I went, or what I did; neither had I as yet told it to the Jews, nor to the priests, nor to the nobles, nor to the rulers, nor to the rest that did the work.
16–18. The Nation’s Resolve

16. the rulers] R.V. marg. Or deputies. ‘S’ganim’ is the title used in Ezra 9:2, and in this book (Nehemiah 4:8; Nehemiah 4:13, Nehemiah 5:7, Nehemiah 7:5, Nehemiah 12:40) for the chief magistrates and officials of the city.

whither I went, or what I did] More literally ‘whither I had gone and what I was doing.’

neither had I as yet told it] i.e. the prospect of rebuilding the walls.

the Jews … the work] A remarkable division of the inhabitants of Jerusalem: ‘the Jews’ here are the great mass of the lay population, as distinguished from (a) the priests, (b) ‘the nobles’ ‘Khôrim’, the aristocracy, heads of houses, &c. (cf. Nehemiah 4:13-14, Nehemiah 5:7, Nehemiah 6:17, Nehemiah 7:5, Nehemiah 13:17), (c) ‘the rulers,’ the official element (segânim), (d) ‘the rest that did the work,’ referring by anticipation to the large body who were shortly afterwards employed on ‘the work’ of building the walls.Verse 16. - The rulers. On Nehemiah's arrival at Jerusalem he found no single individual exercising authority, but a number of persons, a sort of town-council, whom he calls khorim and saganim. It is not clear that he made his commission known to them at first, or indeed that he divulged it before the interview mentioned in vers. 17 and 18. The rest that did the work This seems to be said by anticipation, and to mean those who subsequently built the wall. When Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite heard of his coming, it caused them great annoyance (להם ירע is strengthened by גּדולה רעה, as in Jonah 4:1) that a man (as Nehemiah expresses himself ironically from their point of view) was come to seek the welfare of the children of Israel. Sanballat is called the Horonite either after his birthplace or place of residence, yet certainly not from Horonaim in Moab, as older expositors imagined (Isaiah 15:5; Jeremiah 48:34), since he would then have been called a Moabite, but from either the upper or nether Beth-horon, formerly belonging to the tribe of Ephraim (Joshua 16:3, Joshua 16:5; Joshua 18:13), and therefore in the time of Nehemiah certainly appertaining to the region of the Samaritans (Berth.). Tobiah the Ammonite is called העבד, the servant, probably as being a servant or official of the Persian king. These two individuals were undoubtedly influential chiefs of the neighbouring hostile nations of Samaritans and Ammonites, and sought by alliances with Jewish nobles (Nehemiah 6:17; Nehemiah 13:4, Nehemiah 13:28) to frustrate, whether by force or stratagem, the efforts of Ezra and Nehemiah for the internal and external security of Judah. Nehemiah mentions thus early their annoyance at his arrival, by way of hinting beforehand at their subsequent machinations to delay the fortifying of Jerusalem.
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