Nehemiah 6:17
Moreover in those days the nobles of Judah sent many letters to Tobiah, and the letters of Tobiah came to them.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(17-19) A supplementary account is here introduced, explaining the intrigues within Jerusalem to which reference has been made.

(17) Many letters.—There was a large correspondence between Tobiah and the nobles of Judah.

Nehemiah 6:17-18. The nobles of Judah sent many letters unto Tobiah — Corresponding with him against Nehemiah, and against their own city and nation. So that, added to all the other wickedness of this people, there were false brethren among their great men, who favoured, aided, and abetted the designs of their enemies, Nehemiah 6:18. There were many in Judah sworn unto him — To be true to him in the prosecution of his wicked designs. Because his son had taken the daughter of Meshullam — This is mentioned to show the mischief of such unequal and forbidden marriages, and how reasonable and necessary Ezra’s action was in the dissolution of them.6:15-19 The wall was begun and finished in fifty-two days, though they rested on the sabbaths. A great deal of work may be done in a little time, if we set about it in earnest, and keep close to it. See the mischief of marrying with strangers. When men once became akin to Tobiah, they soon became sworn to him. A sinful love leads to a sinful league. The enemy of souls employs many instruments, and forms many projects, to bring reproach on the active servants of God, or to take them from their work. But we should follow the example of Him who laid down his life for the sheep. Those that simply cleave to the Lord and his work will be supported.Elul - The sixth month, corresponding to the latter part of August and the beginning of September.

In fifty and two days - Josephus states that the repairs of the wall occupied two years and four months. But Nehemiah's narrative is thoroughly consistent with itself, and contains in it nothing that is improbable. The walls everywhere existed at the time that he commenced his task, and only needed repairs. The work was partitioned among at least 37 working parties, who labored simultaneously, with material ready at hand; and, notwithstanding all menaces, uninterruptedly.

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. Corresponding with him against Nehemiah, and against their own city and nation. Moreover, in those days,.... While the wall was building:

the nobles of Judah sent many letters to Tobiah, and the letters of Tobiah came unto them; letters passed between them frequently, they informing him how things went on at Jerusalem, and he advising them to what was detrimental to the true interest of their nation; such false friends had Nehemiah about him, and yet the work succeeded under him; which showed it the more to be of God.

Moreover in those days the nobles of Judah sent many {k} letters unto Tobiah, and the letters of Tobiah came unto them.

(k) Thus the Church of God always has enemies within itself, which is more dangerous than outward and professed enemies.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
17. in those days] i.e. during the whole of this period a treasonable correspondence was carried on between Tobiah and the disaffected Jewish nobles. That these included the family of the High-priest is rendered probable by Chap. Nehemiah 13:4.Verse 17. - Moreover in those days. Ewald supposes that the circumstances here related (vers. 17-19) were subsequent to the completion of the wall ('History of Israel,' vol. 5. p. 157); but the expression "in those days" seems rather to throw back the events into the time during which the wall was in building. The passage is a sort of explanatory note, showing us how Tobiah came to be able to raise those intrigues inside Jerusalem which have been mentioned in vers. 12-14. And the letters of Tobiah came unto them. Rather, "and many were the letters of Tobiah which came to them." Nehemiah, however, was not to be alarmed thereby, but exclaimed: Should such a man as I flee? and what man like me could go into the holy place and live? I will not go in. וחי is the perf. with Vav consecutive: that he may live. This word is ambiguous; it may mean: to save his life, or: and save his life, not, expiate such a transgression of the law with his life. Probably Nehemiah used it in the latter sense, having in mind the command, Numbers 18:7, that the stranger that cometh nigh shall be put to death.
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