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)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.Nehemiah 6:14, Nehemiah 6:17-19; Nehemiah 13:4-5, Nehemiah 13:28. 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.
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.
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