Nehemiah 6:13
Therefore was he hired, that I should be afraid, and do so, and sin, and that they might have matter for an evil report, that they might reproach me.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(13) An evil report.—Nehemiah perceived that not God, but Shemaiah himself, had uttered the prophecy “against me,” and that he was hired to bring the governor into discredit as a violator of law.

Nehemiah 6:13. That I should be afraid, and do so, and sin — By going into a place forbidden to me, and that in such a manner, which would have been both sinful and shameful. That they might reproach me — As a coward, and conscious of my own guilt, that they might make me contemptible and odious, both to my own people and to the king of Persia.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. That I should do so, and sin, by going into a place forbidden to me, and that in such a time and manner, and upon such an occasion; which would have been both sinful and shameful: See Poole "Nehemiah 6:11".

That they might reproach me as a coward, and conscious of my own guilt, that so they might make me contemptible and odious, both to my own people, and to the king of Persia. Therefore was he hired, that I should be afraid, and do so,

and sin,.... By distrusting the power and providence of God to protect him, and by going into such a part of the temple, which he, being no priest, had no right to go into:

and that they might have matter for an evil report, that they might reproach me; as a rebel and traitor against the king, which had been reported of him, and which would be strengthened by such a step.

Therefore was he hired, that I should be afraid, and do so, and sin, and that they might have matter for an evil report, that they might reproach me.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
13. Therefore] R.V. For this cause.

and sin] i.e. by transgressing ‘the law,’ by violating the sanctity of the House of God.

matter for an evil report] Literally, ‘and that it might be to them for an evil name.’ The Vulgate gives the sense generally ‘et haberent malum quod exprobrarent mihi.’ The LXX. goes wrong, καὶ γένωμαι αὐτοῖς εἰς ὄνομα πονηρόν. The phrase ‘an evil name’ occurs also in Deuteronomy 22:14; Deuteronomy 22:19 in the sense ‘an evil report.’

Nehemiah would incur ‘an evil name’ with the priestly class and the strict Jews for consulting his personal safety rather than the sanctity of the law. Such conduct would weaken his hold upon the best people of the nation. Cf. Psalm 38:16, ‘For I said, Lest they rejoice over me: when my foot slippeth, they magnify themselves against me.’Verse 13. - Therefore was he hired, etc. Their motive for bribing him was, that I might be induced by-fear to do as Shemaiah suggested, and so to commit sin; whereby they would have a just ground for spreading an evil report concerning me, and making my misconduct a constant reproach to me. Nehemiah's influence depended greatly on the weight of his moral character. One false step, and he would have been lost; his influence would have been gone; and the work on which his heart was set would have come to nought. It was further said in the letter: "Thou hast also appointed prophets to proclaim concerning thee in Jerusalem, saying, King of Judah; and now it will be reported to the king according to these words (or things). Come, therefore, and let us take counsel together," sc. to refute these things as groundless rumours. By such accusations in an open letter, which might be read by any one, Sanballat thought to oblige Nehemiah to come and clear himself from suspicion by an interview.
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