Nehemiah 6:6
Wherein was written, It is reported among the heathen, and Gashmu said it, that you and the Jews think to rebel: for which cause you build the wall, that you may be their king, according to these words.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(6) It is reported among the heathen, and Gashmu saith it.—Nehemiah can quote the very letter, with its dialectical change of Geshem into Gashmu. Sanballat sends Tobiah in his own name, and represents Geshem as circulating a report which, reaching the distant king, would be interpreted as rebellion. It is hinted that the heathen, or the nations, would take the part of the king. And the words of the prophets concerning the future King are referred to as likely to be attributed to Nehemiah’s ambition. Finally, the letter suggests the desirableness of friendly counsel to avert the danger.

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 letter was "open," in order that the contents might be generally known, and that the Jews, alarmed at the threats contained in it, might refuse to continue the work. 5-9. Then sent Sanballat his servant … the fifth time with an open letter in his hand—In Western Asia, letters, after being rolled up like a map, are flattened to the breadth of an inch; and instead of being sealed, they are pasted at the ends. In Eastern Asia, the Persians make up their letters in the form of a roll about six inches long, and a bit of paper is fastened round it with gum, and sealed with an impression of ink, which resembles our printers' ink, but it is not so thick. Letters were, and are still, sent to persons of distinction in a bag or purse, and even to equals they are enclosed—the tie being made with a colored ribbon. But to inferiors, or persons who are to be treated contemptuously, the letters were sent open—that is, not enclosed in a bag. Nehemiah, accustomed to the punctillious ceremonial of the Persian court, would at once notice the want of the usual formality and know that it was from designed disrespect. The strain of the letter was equally insolent. It was to this effect: The fortifications with which he was so busy were intended to strengthen his position in the view of a meditated revolt: he had engaged prophets to incite the people to enter into his design and support his claim to be their native king; and, to stop the circulation of such reports, which would soon reach the court, he was earnestly besought to come to the wished-for conference. Nehemiah, strong in the consciousness of his own integrity, and penetrating the purpose of this shallow artifice, replied that there were no rumors of the kind described, that the idea of a revolt and the stimulating addresses of hired demagogues were stories of the writer's own invention, and that he declined now, as formerly, to leave his work. Among the heathen; the neighbouring people, whom you proudly and disdainfully call heathens or Gentiles. Gashmu, called Geshem, Nehemiah 6:1; who affirmed it and would prove it. According to these words, i.e. according to these reports; or, that thou mayst justify and verify these rumours. Others,

according to these things, i.e. when these things which thou art now doing shall be finished. But the first sense seems most agreeable to the use of the same words in the next verse. Wherein was written, it is reported among, the Heathen,.... Among the several neighbouring nations; it was an affair that was not whispered about among a few only; it was common talk, it was in every body's mouth in divers nations:

and Gashmu saith it; the same with Geshem the Arabian; he affirms it, and will abide by his assertion, and engages to make good what he says; he mentions him by name, who he knew would not be offended with him for making use of it, and who doubtless agreed that he should; that Nehemiah might not think this was the talk of some of the lower rank of the people, but even was averred by no less than the king's governor in Arabia:

that thou and the Jews think to rebel; that they had formed a scheme, and were taking measures to raise a rebellion against the king of Persia, and revolt from him:

for which cause thou buildest the wall; the wall of Jerusalem, for their security against any force that might be sent to quell them:

that thou mayest be their king, according to these words; written in this epistle, and reported among the Heathens.

Wherein was written, It is reported among the heathen, and Gashmu saith it, that thou and the Jews think to rebel: for which cause thou buildest the wall, that thou mayest be their king, according to these {c} words.

(c) As the same goes.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
6. among the heathen] R.V. among the nations, i.e. among the nations who surrounded the Jews, and were at this time combined against the Jews under Sanballat’s leadership.

and Gashmu saith it] i.e. it is no mere vague rumour. It is asserted by individuals of position and influence. ‘Gashmu’ is generally assumed to be identical with Geshem (ch. Nehemiah 2:19, Nehemiah 6:1-2). It is very probable that the difference of pronunciation preserves a variation of the Arabian dialect. Compare the interchange of ‘Jether’ (Exodus 4:18) with ‘Jethro’ (Exodus 3:1).

think to rebel] Cf. the charge in Ezra 4:12-16. ‘Think,’ cf. Nehemiah 6:2. This is the substance of the first rumour reported ‘among the nations.’

thou buildest the wall] This is the first indication of rebellion; and it is to be noted the blame is credited to Nehemiah alone (‘thou buildest,’ &c.), not to the people.

that thou mayest be their king] R.V. and thou wouldest be king. The words might be rendered ‘and thou art becoming their king.’ The A.V. is wrong in making the words depend upon the previous clause. They represent the second rumour reported ‘among the nations,’ that Nehemiah, if not actually king, was on the point of becoming so.

according to these words] A peculiar and unexpected termination to the sentence which recurs in the following verse. According to Rashi the expression refers back to the opening words of the letter, ‘It is reported;’ and the majority of commentators take the same view, considering it equivalent to ‘according to the tenour of these reports.’ Another explanation, which is more probable, regards it as a technical expression equivalent to ‘and so forth,’ ‘&c. &c.’, inserted to abbreviate the extract from the letter. If so, it should be compared with the phrase ‘and so forth’ in Ezra 4:10-11; Ezra 4:17. Accepting this explanation, the phrase may be Nehemiah’s, to save himself the transcript of a long letter. But it may also have been inserted by Sanballat himself in the original letter. A general ‘&c. &c.’ would suggest that there were other similar reports in the background, which he did not at present choose to particularize.Verse 6. - Gashmu saith it. "Gashmu" is probably the native Arabic form of the name which in a Hebrew mouth commonly became "Geshem." Thou and the Jews think to rebel. Compare Nehemiah 2:19, and Ezra 4:13, with the Comment. According to these words. i.e. "Agreeably to what is reported." "Think upon me, my God, for good, all that I have done for this people." Compare the repetition of this desire, Nehemiah 13:14 and Nehemiah 13:31. על עשׂה in the sense of ל עשׂה, for the sake of this people, i.e., for them.
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