Nehemiah 6:12
And, see, I perceived that God had not sent him; but that he pronounced this prophecy against me: for Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Nehemiah 6:12. I perceived that God had not sent him — Partly by considering the sinful nature and pernicious consequences of this counsel; partly by the suggestion of God’s Spirit, whose direction I sought in this matter; and partly by the event, which manifested that there was no such danger from the approach of the enemy as was pretended.6:10-14 The greatest mischief our enemies can do us, is, to frighten us from our duty, and to lead us to do what is sinful. Let us never decline a good work, never do a bad one. We ought to try all advice, and to reject what is contrary to the word of God. Every man should study to be consistent. Should I, a professed Christian, called to be a saint, a child of God, a member of Christ, a temple of the Holy Ghost, should I be covetous, sensual, proud, or envious? Should I yield to impatience, discontent, or anger? Should I be slothful, unbelieving, or unmerciful? What effects will such conduct have upon others? All that God has done for us, or by us, or given to us, should lead us to watchfulness, self-denial, and diligence. Next to the sinfulness of sin, we should dread the scandal.The existence of a party among the Jews who sided with Sanballat and lent themselves to his schemes, is here for the first time indicated. Compare Nehemiah 6:14, Nehemiah 6:17-19; Nehemiah 13:4-5, Nehemiah 13:28. 10-14. Afterward I came unto the house of Shemaiah, &c.—This man was the son of a priest, who was an intimate and confidential friend of Nehemiah. The young man claimed to be endowed with the gift of prophecy. Having been secretly bribed by Sanballat, he, in his pretended capacity of prophet, told Nehemiah that his enemies were that night to make an attempt upon his life. He advised him, at the same time, to consult his safety by concealing himself in the sanctuary, a crypt which, from its sanctity, was strong and secure. But the noble-minded governor determined at all hazards to remain at his post, and not bring discredit on the cause of God and religion by his unworthy cowardice in leaving the temple and city unprotected. This plot, together with a secret collusion between the enemy and the nobles of Judah who were favorably disposed towards the bad Samaritan in consequence of his Jewish connections (Ne 6:18), the undaunted courage and vigilance of Nehemiah were enabled, with the blessing of God, to defeat, and the erection of the walls thus built in troublous times (Da 9:25) was happily completed (Ne 6:15) in the brief space of fifty-two days. So rapid execution, even supposing some parts of the old wall standing, cannot be sufficiently accounted for, except by the consideration that the builders labored with the ardor of religious zeal, as men employed in the work of God. I perceived; partly, by considering the sinful nature and pernicious consequence of this counsel; partly, by the suggestion of God’s Spirit, whose counsel and help I sought in this matter; and partly, by the event, which discovered that there was no such danger from the approach of the enemy as was pretended. And, lo, I perceived that God had not sent him,.... Because he advised to that which was against the cause of God and true religion:

but that he pronounced the prophecy against me; for by fleeing, as he advised, it would seem that he was guilty of the crimes of rebellion and treason he was charged with; and leaving the people, as they would in course break up, he himself could not be long in safety, no, not in the temple:

for Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him; this he found out afterwards, on purpose to intimidate him, and take such measures as that thereby he would lose his character and his influence.

And, lo, I perceived that God had not sent him; but that he pronounced this prophecy against me: for Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
12. And lo, I perceived that] R.V. And I discerned, and, lo. The R.V. gives the verb the requisite sense of ‘recognition’ as in Genesis 27:23, ‘he discerned him not.’ Not as some commentators ‘I considered.’ Of a sudden, as it were, Nehemiah distinguishes the man’s object. The interjection ‘and, lo,’ follows after the recognition of Shemaiah’s character and intent.

God had not sent him] The emphasis lies on ‘God,’ i.e. it was not God that sent him, but Sanballat and his party. Cf. Jeremiah 23:21, ‘I sent not these prophets, yet they ran: I spake not unto them, yet they prophesied.’ Nehemiah’s words probably refer to the Deuteronomic law about the false prophet that ‘speaketh rebellion against God’ and seeketh ‘to draw thee away from the Lord thy God’ (Deuteronomy 13:5; Deuteronomy 13:10).

he pronounced this prophecy against me] i.e. his prophecy was not on behalf of God to declare a divine message, but to oppose Nehemiah.

for (R.V. And) Tobiah and Sanballat] The clause is not a parenthetical explanation, but gives the third point which Nehemiah ‘discerned’ in Shemaiah’s action. He had ‘discerned’ (1) that Shemaiah’s message was not of God, (2) that its purpose was hostile to himself, (3) that it was the result of bribery on the part of Tobiah and Sanballat.

This is the first statement that Tobiah and Sanballat were in communication with a party in Jerusalem itself hostile to Nehemiah, cf. Nehemiah 6:17-19; Nehemiah 13:4; Nehemiah 13:28. ‘Tobiah and Sanballat.’ The usual order of the names is inverted, it has been suggested, because ‘Tobiah was the immediate briber, Sanballat only finding the funds’ (Pulpit Comm.). More probably, however, his name stands first in this passage because in intrigues with the Jews of Jerusalem (Nehemiah 13:4 ff.) he was the more active and dangerous.

hired] Cf. Ezra 4:5.Verse 12. - And, lo, I perceived, etc. Rather, "And I considered; and lo! God had not sent him." I reflected on the whole matter, and came to the conclusion that, though he might be a prophet, he had not on this occasion exercised his prophetical office - he had not declared to me God's will (compare the case of the "old prophet," 1 Kings 13:11-18). And I was right, "for (in fact) he had pronounced this prophecy against me, because Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him." "Tobiah and Sanballat" here - not "Sanballat and Tobiah," as elsewhere (Nehemiah 2:10, 19; Nehemiah 4:7; Nehemiah 6:1), because Tobiah was no doubt the immediate briber, Sanballat merely furnishing the funds. Then Sanballat sent his servant in this manner, the fifth time, with an open letter, in which was written: "It is reported (נשׁמע, it is heard) among the nations, and Gashmu saith, (that) thou and the Jews intend to rebel; for which cause thou buildest the wall, and thou wilt be their king, according to these words." "The nations" are naturally the nations dwelling in the land, in the neighbourhood of the Jewish community. On the form Gashmu, comp. rem. on Nehemiah 2:19. הוה, the particip., is used of that which any one intends or prepares to do: thou art intending to become their king. על־כּן, therefore, for no other reason than to rebel, dost thou build the wall.
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