Nehemiah 06 ENEMIES: SANBALLAT, TOBIAH, AND GESHEM

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INTRODUCTION TO NEHEMIAH CHAPTER 6

More opposition—more opposition—more opposition—His enemies are filled with opposition, schemes and secrecy.  They were engaged in a letter writing campaign—next they try to intimidate Nehemiah by threatening assassination—He could see thru these so called prophets like looking thru water in a gold fish bowl.

EXPOSITION TO NEHEMIAH CHAPTER 6

Further Opposition to the Rebuilding

1 When word came to Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem the Arab and the rest of our enemies that I had rebuilt the wall and not a gap was left in it—though up to that time I had not set the doors in the gates-

This project was moving at a fast pace—all the breaches in the wall had been closed.  Anchor bolts for door hinges; building of the doors and bars was ahead of schedule but had not been installed.

2 Sanballat and Geshem sent me this message: “Come, let us meet together in one of the villages on the plain of Ono.” But they were scheming to harm me;

Sanballet and his gang are as wily as a fox in the henhouse.  With a new scheme up their sleeve they are contriving an artful plan to do physical harm to Nehemiah.

3 so I sent messengers to them with this reply: “I am carrying on a great project and cannot go down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and go down to you?”

Nehemiah was not about to fall for the hellish plan of these weasel’s.  Nehemiah is oblivious to their plan—so he sends back a message that he is too busy to meet with them.  Nehemiah was as wary as a wildcat.

4 Four times they sent me the same message, and each time I gave them the same answer.

Four times—four failures by his enemies their messages were futile.  Nehemiah was as prudent as spotting a row number in a shopping mall parking lot.  He was as discreet as a diplomat.

5 Then, the fifth time, Sanballat sent his aide to me with the same message, and in his hand was an unsealed letter

Five times—and five failures—now he writes a letter on parchment and rolls it up but does not seal it  he wants this to be read by others and then they can sow the seed of discord among the workers.

6 in which was written: “It is reported among the nations—and Geshem [b] says it is true—that you and the Jews are plotting to revolt, and therefore you are building the wall. Moreover, according to these reports you are about to become their king

They plan on worrying Nehemiah by circulating a story that an insurrection is planned by the Jews against the Persian king Artaxerxes.  Nehemiah remains indifferent to their call for a meeting.

7 and have even appointed prophets to make this proclamation about you in Jerusalem: ‘There is a king in Judah!’ Now this report will get back to the king; so come, let us confer together.”

Sanballet is as crafty as a crow in the cornfield—he is playing the Devil’s advocate.  He is threatening Nehemiah with a “wanted poster.”

8 I sent him this reply: “Nothing like what you are saying is happening; you are just making it up out of your head.”

Nehemiah shoots back a brilliant reply—you made it all up—Nehemiah lets them know that they are acting like a berserk bedbug.

9 They were all trying to frighten us, thinking, “Their hands will get too weak for the work, and it will not be completed.” But I prayed, “Now strengthen my hands.”

Sanballet was using psychological warfare—the artful strategy of planting fear in the mind of Nehemiah.  He is trying to frighten Nehemiah into the depths of despair.

10 One day I went to the house of Shemaiah son of Delaiah, the son of Mehetabel, who was shut in at his home. He said, “Let us meet in the house of God, inside the temple, and let us close the temple doors, because men are coming to kill you—by night they are coming to kill you.”

Nehemiah’s  pretended friend Shemaiah concocts a new plan—hiding in the temple—Nehemiah could smell a rat and knew that Shemaiah’s plan was as loco as a loon.

11 But I said, “Should a man like me run away? Or should one like me go into the temple to save his life? I will not go!”

Nehemiah was as brave as captain Kangaroo at Suribachi.  He was as courageous as Daniel at the Lion’s den.

12 I realized that God had not sent him, but that he had prophesied against me because Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him.

It didn’t take long for the “wisdom of Solomon” to germinate in the head of Nehemiah—he could see thru their plan—he knew that Shemaiah was getting paid to say these things.

13 He had been hired to intimidate me so that I would commit a sin by doing this, and then they would give me a bad name to discredit me.

What a lying hypocrite—dirty politics at its worst—bankrupt morals—he just bought a ticket to Hell.

14 Remember Tobiah and Sanballat, O my God, because of what they have done; remember also the prophetess Noadiah and the rest of the prophets who have been trying to intimidate me.

Remember Tobiah—Sanballet—Noadiah the prophetess—and the rest of the prophets.  Nehemiah had to deal with these cut throats throughout the entire building project.  But they ended up like Watergate.  This bunch of cornered rats will get what’s coming to them.

The Completion of the Wall

15 So the wall was completed on the twenty-fifth of Elul, in fifty-two days.

This event was as breathless as a sudden death overtime win. Tor this wall to be built in 52 days was like a hundred year old man winning a marathon race.

16 When all our enemies heard about this, all the surrounding nations were afraid and lost their self-confidence, because they realized that this work had been done with the help of our God.

The work progressed—the wall was built—everyone knew that this super-human effort was none other than an act of God.

17 Also, in those days the nobles of Judah were sending many letters to Tobiah, and replies from Tobiah kept coming to them.

A letter writing campaign followed—these letters concealed the secrets of their campaign to halt the work of Nehemiah.

18 For many in Judah were under oath to him, since he was son-in-law to Shecaniah son of Arah, and his son Jehohanan had married the daughter of Meshullam son of Berekiah.

Wow!  Remember Shemaiah of verse 10—He was the son-in-law of Tobiah.   There was more to the story—pier pressure from the family —this was like a gas leak in a sealed room.

19 Moreover, they kept reporting to me his good deeds and then telling him what I said. And Tobiah sent letters to intimidate me.

The spy network is now discovered—the source of the leaks to Tobiah was coming from his in-laws.  All the while Nehemiah was careful and discreet with his words as a statement from the state department.

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Nehemiah 01 FROM PERSIA TO JERUSALEM

After interceding with God Nehemiah will intercede with Artaxerxes and sets out to build a wall and ends up leaving an enduring legacy of leadership. He was an organizer and a pragmatic leader who had a top position of trust in the grandest empire of world history. He put his career on hold and took on a job that was as improbable as operating on a gnat.

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Nehemiah 02 TEMPLE BUILT BUT NO WALL

Arrival―inspection―exhortation ―answering his enemies. Nehemiah had probably never seen this city before―100 years have passed since the first settlers had returned. The temple had been rebuilt but the city was barely occupied, most people lived in outlying villages. They were mixing with foreigners and were in danger of losing their identity.

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Nehemiah 03 BUILDING THE WALL.

This chapter presents a record of the builders and their achievements they are busy building a wall, to many this may seem unimportant. But think of it this way—what if there was no wall on the border between Mexico and the state of Texas soon there would be no distinction between the two. It was because of not wall that the Jews were facing assimilation into the culture of their pagan neighbors. In those days a city without a wall was easy pickings for any robber band. Jew’s concerned for security, had scattered among other nationalities in small villages outside Jerusalem. There they were intermarrying and gradually losing their own language, culture and most important their own religion. A wall would give them a chance to make Jerusalem a truly Jewish city, keeping it safe and controlling who came and went.

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Nehemiah 04 LOCAL RESISTANCE FROM POWERFUL POLITICIANS.

opposition—opposition—opposition—What had kept them from doing anything about the broken-down wall for nearly 100 years? One obstacle was local resistance: powerful politicians were determined to keep the Jews down. Perhaps another reason was the lack of a leader like Nehemiah. In his memoirs, which fill most of this book, he shows remarkable qualities of leadership: impassioned speech, prayer, organization, resolve, trust in God, quick and determined response to problems, unselfishness. Perhaps his years in the Persian court had been preparing him. Organizing a difficult building project and handling fierce opposition seemed to come easily to him. Nehemiah was more than a good business manager. He was a man of God. He did not act without prayer, and he did not pray without acting. His prayers punctuate the book. He recognized God’s role in all that happened and never forgot to give him credit. He was not looking for earthly status—if he had been he never would have left Persia.

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Nehemiah 05 HIGH INTEREST RATES AND FORECLOSURES

protest—protest—protest—This great protest by people including women was against fellow Jews because of high interest rates, foreclosures, lack of food—they had sold everything including their daughters. Nehemiah was angry as a shopper arriving too late for the bargains. He called them on the carpet and put the fear of God in them. He made them promise to stop their gouging and give back their homes and farms—details are in the exposition.

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Nehemiah 06 ENEMIES: SANBALLAT, TOBIAH, AND GESHEM

More opposition—more opposition—more opposition—His enemies are filled with opposition, schemes and secrecy. They were engaged in a letter writing campaign—next they try to intimidate Nehemiah by threatening assassination—He could see thru these so called prophets like looking thru water in a gold fish bowl.

Read Online »

Nehemiah 07 GOVERNMENT ORGANIZATION

Organization—plan—leaders—Unless you are an advanced student these lists may be uninteresting. However, they play an important role in history of Judaism. Guard detail—singers—Levites appointed and his brother appointed captain of the citadel. Orders regarding opening and closing gates— the fate of those who couldn’t find their family records. All this and more awaits you in the exposition.

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Nehemiah 08 Ezra Reads the Law

Reading—celebration—commitment—Ezra and Nehemiah worked in tandem like a four wheel drive truck with a positive lock rear-end—but each had a different style. Nehemiah was an activist and Ezra was a student, Nehemiah was outspoken, Ezra was more withdrawn. Together they were an unbeatable team.

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Nehemiah 09 WEARING SACKCLOTH AND FASTING AND PRAISE

Spiritual preparation—God’s deliverance—During this spiritual retreat they are wearing burlap and udges of dirt on their faces. They stood and confessed their sins and read from the book 3 hours a day. Everyone engaged in a long—long praise marathon then they drew up a sealed document and each signed it.

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Nehemiah 10 Signing of the Covenant

Ratifiers of the covenant—stipulations of the covenant—The document now ratified and signed—it was a binding oath—to keep and carry out all the commandments of God. This document with all of its regulations and stipulations will be discussed in detail in the exposition.

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Nehemiah 11 The New Residents of Jerusalem

Resettlement plan—A lottery was used to determine who would live in Jerusalem. In 1990 the U.S. census revealed that for the first time a majority of Americans lived in cities having more than a million in population. Worldwide, people are flocking to mega-cities. Not so in Nehemiah’s day. The Israelites had learned that big cities like Jerusalem made prime targets for invading armies. In order to repopulate the city, leaders had to resort to a lottery system.

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Nehemiah 12 Dedication of the Wall of Jerusalem

Register of priests and Levites—dedication of the wall—Two large choirs marched on the wall around Jerusalem.  One proceeded towards the Dung gate while the other went to the left.  They marched the entire wall and finally took their place in the Temple of God.  Under the direction of Jezrahiah they made the rafters ring.  It was a time of great jubilation.

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