Nehemiah 4:11
And our adversaries said, They shall not know, neither see, till we come in the midst among them, and slay them, and cause the work to cease.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(11) They shall not know.—As to the adversaries, their plan was evidently to watch and surprise, instead of making the threatened attack.

Nehemiah 4:11. Our adversaries said, They shall not know, &c. — Their enemies resolved not to appear with an army before Jerusalem, but to march so secretly that the Jews should have no notice of their approach till they saw them in the city, armed and prepared to attack them suddenly, and put them to the sword.

4:7-15 The hindering good work is what bad men aim at, and promise themselves success in; but good work is God's work, and it shall prosper. God has many ways of bringing to light, and so of bringing to nought, the devices and designs of his church's enemies. If our enemies cannot frighten us from duty, or deceive us into sin, they cannot hurt us. Nehemiah put himself and his cause under the Divine protection. It was the way of this good man, and should be our way. All his cares, all his griefs, all his fears, he spread before God. Before he used any means, he made his prayer to God. Having prayed, he set a watch against the enemy. If we think to secure ourselves by prayer, without watchfulness, we are slothful, and tempt God; if by watchfulness, without prayer, we are proud, and slight God: either way, we forfeit his protection. God's care of our safety, should engage and encourage us to go on with vigour in our duty. As soon as a danger is over, let us return to our work, and trust God another time.Because of them - Or, "over against them," i. e. opposite to the place where they were encamped, probably on the north side of the city. Ne 4:7-23. He Sets a Watch.

7-21. But … when Sanballat … heard that the walls … were made up, and … the breaches … stopped—The rapid progress of the fortifications, despite all their predictions to the contrary, goaded the Samaritans to frenzy. So they, dreading danger from the growing greatness of the Jews, formed a conspiracy to surprise them, demolish their works, and disperse or intimidate the builders. The plot being discovered, Nehemiah adopted the most energetic measures for ensuring the common safety, as well as the uninterrupted building of the walls. Hitherto the governor, for the sake of despatch, had set all his attendants and guards on the work—now half of them were withdrawn to be constantly in arms. The workmen labored with a trowel in one hand and a sword in the other; and as, in so large a circuit, they were far removed from each other, Nehemiah (who was night and day on the spot, and, by his pious exhortations and example, animated the minds of his people) kept a trumpeter by his side, so that, on any intelligence of a surprise being brought to him, an alarm might be immediately sounded, and assistance rendered to the most distant detachment of their brethren. By these vigilant precautions, the counsels of the enemy were defeated, and the work was carried on apace. God, when He has important public work to do, never fails to raise up instruments for accomplishing it, and in the person of Nehemiah, who, to great natural acuteness and energy added fervent piety and heroic devotion, He provided a leader, whose high qualities fitted him for the demands of the crisis. Nehemiah's vigilance anticipated every difficulty, his prudent measures defeated every obstruction, and with astonishing rapidity this Jerusalem was made again "a city fortified."

We will come secretly and unexpectedly upon them so as they shall neither foresee their danger, nor be able to prevent it.

And our adversaries said, they shall not know,.... Our designs upon them:

neither see; or perceive what we are about to do:

till we come in the midst of them; with an army suddenly, at an unawares, and unexpected:

and slay them; they being unarmed, and not prepared to defend themselves:

and cause the work to cease; as it must in course, the builders being slain.

And our adversaries said, They shall not know, neither see, till we come in the midst among them, and slay them, and cause the work to cease.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
11. our adversaries said] ‘adversaries,’ cf. Ezra 4:1. After mentioning the source of weakness within the walls, Nehemiah describes the danger from without. ‘Said.’ He gives, as if in their own words, their secret project of a surprise attack upon Jerusalem, either reporting the information brought by spies or describing by imagination what the intentions of the enemy were.

in the midst among them] R.V. Into the midst of them.

Nehemiah 4:11(Nehemiah 4:5)

Their discouragement was increased by the words of their enemies, who said: They (the Jews) shall not know nor see, till we come in the midst among them, and slay them, and cause the work to cease.

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