9 Nov. Nehemiah 4:1-23

9 Nov. The walls of Jerusalem are rebuilt

“When Sanballat heard we were rebuilding the wall, he was very angry, even furious. He made fun of the Jewish people. He said to his friends and those with power in Samaria, ‘What are these weak Jews doing? Will they rebuild the wall? Will they offer sacrifices?’…”

“Tobiah the Ammonite, who was next to Sanballat, said, ‘If a fox climbed up on the stone wall they are building, it would break down.’”

“I prayed, ‘Hear us, our God. We are hated. Turn the insults of Sanballat and Tobiah back on their own heads. Let them be captured and stolen like valuables. Do not hide their guilt or take away their sins so that you can’t see them, because they have insulted the builders.’”

“So we rebuilt the wall to half its height, because the people were willing to work. But Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites and the people from Ashdod were very angry when they heard that the repairs to Jerusalem’s walls were continuing and that the holes in the wall were being closed. So they made plans to come to Jerusalem and fight and stir up trouble. But we prayed to our God and appointed guards to watch for them day and night…"

“Then the Jewish people who lived near our enemies came and told us ten times, ‘Everywhere you turn, the enemy will attack us.’ So I put people behind the lowest places along the wall – the open places – and I put families together with their swords, spears and bows…”

“Then our enemies heard that we knew about their plans and that God had ruined their plans. So we all went back to the wall, each to his own work.”

“From that day on, half my people worked on the wall. The other half was ready with spears, shields, bows and armour. The officers stood behind the people of Judah who were building the wall. Those who carried materials did their work with one hand and carried a weapon with the other. Each builder wore his sword at his side as he worked. The man who blew the trumpet to warn the people stayed next to me…”

“So we continued to work with half the men holding spears from sunrise till the stars came out. At that time I also said to the people, ‘Let every man and his helper stay inside Jerusalem at night. They can be our guards at night and workmen during the day.’ Neither I, my brothers, my workers nor the guards with me ever took off our clothes. Each person carried his weapon even when he went for water.”

          (Nehemiah 4:1-23)

 

 

As the work progressed and the gaps in the walls of Jerusalem were filled, Sanballat the Horonite (probably the Governor of Samaria) and Tobiah the Ammonite (possibly the Governor of Amman) persuaded the Samaritans to make armed raids against the city.

They perceived that a restored Jerusalem would be a threat to their power and influence in the region, so they endeavoured to make life for the Jewish inhabitants of Judah as difficult as possible.

In response to these threats, Nehemiah re-organised the work rotas so that half the men continued re-building the walls while half of them guarded the workers with spears, bows and shields. Family members were recruited to reinforce the guards where the walls were at their lowest and most vulnerable.

Those working on the walls did so fully armed. Many of them held building materials in one hand and a sword in the other. They carried their weapons with them everywhere, and were ready for a surprise attack both during the day and at night.

The photo shows an excavated section of Nehemiah's wall near the City of David.

You can read more about Nehemiah’s leadership @ https://www.thebiblejourney.org/biblejourney2/35-the-exiles-return-to-judah/nehemiah-becomes-governor-of-judah/


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