Nehemiah 6:4
Yet they sent to me four times after this sort; and I answered them after the same manner.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Nehemiah 6:4. Yet they sent unto me four times after this sort — We must never be overcome by the greatest importunity to do any thing ill or imprudent: but when we are attacked with the same temptation, still resist it with the same reason and resolution.6:1-9 Let those who are tempted to idle merry meetings by vain companions, thus answer the temptation, We have work to do, and must not neglect it. We must never suffer ourselves to be overcome, by repeated urgency, to do anything sinful or imprudent; but when attacked with the same temptation, must resist it with the same reason and resolution. It is common for that which is desired only by the malicious, to be falsely represented by them as desired by the many. But Nehemiah knew at what they aimed, he not only denied that such things were true, but that they were reported; he was better known than to be thus suspected. We must never omit any known duty for fear it should be misconstrued; but, while we keep a good conscience, let us trust God with our good name. God's people, though loaded with reproach, are not really fallen so low in reputation as some would have them thought to be. Nehemiah lifted up his heart to Heaven in a short prayer. When, in our Christian work and warfare, we enter upon any service or conflict, this is a good prayer, I have such a duty to do, such a temptation to grapple with; now, therefore, O God, strengthen my hands. Every temptation to draw us from duty, should quicken us the more to duty.The choice made of Ono, on the skirts of Benjamin, 25 or 30 miles from Jerusalem, as the meeting-place, was, no doubt, in order to draw Nehemiah to a distance from his supporters, that so an attack might be made on him with a better chance of success. 2-4. Then Sanballat and Geshem sent unto me—The Samaritan leaders, convinced that they could not overcome Nehemiah by open arms, resolved to gain advantage over him by deceit and stratagem. With this in view, under pretext of terminating their differences in an amicable manner, they invited him to a conference. The place of rendezvous was fixed "in some one of the villages in the plain of Ono." "In the villages" is, Hebrew, "in Cephirim," or "Chephirah," the name of a town in the territory of Benjamin (Jos 9:17; 18:26). Nehemiah, however, apprehensive of some intended mischief, prudently declined the invitation. Though it was repeated four times, [Nehemiah's] uniform answer was that his presence could not be dispensed with from the important work in which he was engaged. This was one, though not the only, reason. The principal ground of his refusal was that his seizure or death at their hands would certainly put a stop to the further progress of the fortifications. No text from Poole on this verse. Yet they sent unto me four times after this sort,.... Being very desirous of getting him into their hands, and therefore were very pressing and importunate:

and I answered them after the same manner; every time as before, he being as much bent on finishing the work as they were to divert him from it.

Yet they sent unto me four times after this sort; and I answered them after the same manner.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
4. yet] R.V. And. The A.V. suggests the thought which the copula does not express, that in spite of such a rebuff Sanballat and his companions were not daunted.

after this sort … after the same manner] The Hebrew phrase is the same in both cases. As it occurs again in the next verse (Nehemiah 6:5, ‘in like manner’), though the nature of the message is different, we clearly must not press the words here to mean a literal repetition of the request and answer. It only indicates a general similarity in the character of the four applications, and in the answers which they elicited. Cf. for the use of this phrase 1 Samuel 17:27; 1 Samuel 17:30; 2 Samuel 15:6.But this was not all; for Nehemiah had also fed a considerable number of persons at his table, at his own expense. "And the Jews, both one hundred and fifty rulers, and the men who came to us from the nations round about us, were at my table," i.e., were my guests. The hundred and fifty rulers, comp. Nehemiah 2:16, were the heads of the different houses of Judah collectively. These were always guests at Nehemiah's table, as were also such Jews as dwelt among the surrounding nations, when they came to Jerusalem.
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