But it came to pass, that when Sanballat heard that we built the wall, he was wroth, and took great indignation, and mocked the Jews.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Mocked the Jews.—The mockery comes afterwards. Here, as often in Nehemiah, a general statement is made which is afterwards expanded.Nehemiah 4:1-2. And mocked the Jews — Pretending contempt in his words, when he had grief, anger, and vexation in his heart. And he spake before his brethren — Before Tobiah, Geshem, and others, whom Nehemiah calls his brethren, because of their conjunction with him in office and interest. And the army in Samaria — Whom he hereby designed to incense against them, or, at least, whose minds he thought thus to learn. What do these feeble Jews? Will they fortify, &c. — Do they intend to begin and finish the work, and keep the feast of dedication by sacrifice, all in one day? For if they spend any long time about it, they cannot think that we and the rest of their neighbours will suffer them to do it. Thus he persuaded himself and his companions that their attempt was ridiculous; and this mistake kept him from giving them any disturbance till it was too late. So did God infatuate him to his own grief and shame, and to the advantage of the Jews. Will they revive the stones out of the heaps of rubbish? — Will they pick up their broken stones out of the ruins, and patch them together? Which are burned — Which stones were burned, and broken by the Chaldeans, when they took the city.
Ne 4:1-6. While the Enemies Scoff, Nehemiah Prays to God, and Continues the Work.
1. when Sanballat heard that we builded the wall, he was wroth—The Samaritan faction showed their bitter animosity to the Jews on discovering the systematic design of refortifying Jerusalem. Their opposition was confined at first to scoffs and insults, in heaping which the governors made themselves conspicuous, and circulated all sorts of disparaging reflections that might increase the feelings of hatred and contempt for them in their own party. The weakness of the Jews in respect of wealth and numbers, the absurdity of their purpose apparently to reconstruct the walls and celebrate the feast of dedication in one day, the idea of raising the walls on their old foundations, as well as using the charred and mouldering debris of the ruins as the materials for the restored buildings, and the hope of such a parapet as they could raise being capable of serving as a fortress of defense—these all afforded fertile subjects of hostile ridicule.The enemies scoff, and are angry, Nehemiah 4:1-3. Nehemiah prayeth against them and continueth the work, Nehemiah 4:4-6. Understanding the wrath and design of their enemies, he setteth a watch, Nehemiah 4:7-12. He armeth and encourageth the labourers, Nehemiah 4:3-18; and giveth military precepts, Nehemiah 4:9-23.
he was wroth, and took great indignation; inwardly, though outwardly he pretended to treat the work with contempt, as if it never would be accomplished, which yet he feared:But it came to pass, that when Sanballat heard that we builded the wall, he was wroth, and took great indignation, and mocked the Jews.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Nehemiah 4:1-23. The Opposition to the Work. (a) 1–6. The ridicule of the Samaritans. (b) 7–23. The menaces of the foe, and the precautions taken by Nehemiah
1. The IVth Chapter in ordinary editions of the Hebrew text does not begin till Nehemiah 4:7.
and took great indignation] The form of the word here used in the original is of rare occurrence and is found only in late Hebrew, 2 Chronicles 16:10, ‘was in a rage;’ Ezekiel 16:42, ‘be angry;’ Psalm 112:10, ‘be grieved,’ Ecclesiastes 5:17; Ecclesiastes 7:9. For the common use of the word in its causative sense, ‘provoke to anger’ see Nehemiah 4:5.2 Chronicles 27:3); and Manasseh had surrounded Ophel with a very high wall (2 Chronicles 33:14), i.e., carried the wall round its western, southern, and eastern sides. On the north no wall was needed, Ophel being protected on this side by the southern wall of the temple area.
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