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Bible Commentaries
Nehemiah 6

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-19

Chapter 6

Now his enemies weren't yet through; they still continued to seek to hinder the work and discourage him. And so when Sanballat and Tobiah saw that the work was going on and the walls were getting up there, and there were just a few breaches left in the walls, that they sent a message to him saying, "Come on down into one of the cities, one of the villages, that we might talk with you, and that we might talk about détente and peaceful co-existence and all." And Nehemiah said, "I knew that they were intending mischief on me." And they kept sending these notes, "Come on down. We need to have a counsel. We need to meet together. We need to talk things over so that we can have an understanding." Four times they sent this kind of a message, but Nehemiah just ignored it. He said, "I'm too busy doing the work of God to take time out to talk." And he did not slow up the work, but just continued.

And then they sent the message and they said, "Now the rumor is that as soon as you get the walls built, you're going to proclaim yourself king and you're going to rebel against the king of Persia. And this is the message that is going to be sent to the king of Persia, so you better come down and so that we can get things straightened out." And so here is a little bit of extortion kind of a thing or blackmail. "If you don't come down and talk, we're going to send this message to the king of Persia that you are intending. Word is the rumor's out that you're intending as soon as the walls are up, you're going to proclaim yourself king and rebel against him." Of course, remember Nehemiah was in very good terms with Artaxerxes and he was a trusted servant to Artaxerxes. But when a fellow is gone for a while, you never know what might be upon his mind or heart, and such news going back to the king could be very bad. And yet, Nehemiah still refused to go down. He said there is no truth to it whatsoever and just affirmed the fact that it was a lie and that he was just going to go on continuing in the building. And he just said, "There's no truth to it." And he dismissed it.

Now he was willing to allow God to be his defense against the lies that were being circulated. And it's an important thing for us that we learn to allow God to become our defense. Now, if you seek to defend yourself, God often will not defend you. "You want to try to defend yourself, all right, go to it." But you know, you can get yourself so involved in trying to defend yourself from all of the attacks and all of the things that are being said that your whole life is just trying to go around and straighten out all the stories that are being told.

You'll be amazed at the stories that I have heard that are being told about me. My jets, and my yachts. My little grandson has a little yacht that he, with battery powered propeller that he puts in the swimming pool, but that's the closest thing to a yacht I have. And that's my grandson's. And I had a jet sweep one time, but never a jet airplane or never an airplane. But the Jehovah Witnesses have their story about me that they tell the people when they go door to door. The Mormons have their story that they tell the people about me when they go door to door, because we're one of the greatest threats to the Mormons and the Jehovah Witnesses in the county. Because we teach the Word of God and the truth is always the greatest threat to the lie.

Light is always the worst enemy of darkness. And because we just teach the Word of God, they have a difficult time with us. Because we don't have any Babylonish hang-ups. It makes it tough for them. And of course, you people do, too, because they've gotten wiped out so many times when they come to your doors they get skittish when they see a fish sign around or on the bumper. So a lot of times they'll just skip your house. And if you begin to challenge them with any kind of biblical intelligence at all, they'll usually say, "You go to Calvary Chapel? Well, Chuck Smith, you know," and then they got all kinds of interesting little stories of, "Well, someone talked to Chuck Smith and he said... " And this kind of stuff.

Now if I sought to go around defending myself from all of these things, "Who told you that?" I'm trying to trace it down. Get to the origin. I would be spending all my time trying to run down these stories. How the enemy would love that. Then I wouldn't have any time to study the Word of God, to prepare my heart before the Lord in order that I might feed you. He would love very much to detract us from our purpose of serving God. Detract you from your serving of the Lord. Getting you to try to build your defense and defend yourself against the attacks and the challenges or the lies or whatever.

He tried to distract Nehemiah. "This story has been told about you. It's going to be sent to the king. You better come down. We better talk about this." He said, "Nothing to it. It's a lie. I won't come down. I'm too busy doing the work of God. Busy in this work."

And so then they sent to him a fellow who came sort of in the guise of a prophet. "Thus saith the Lord, 'They're out to get you, Nehemiah. You better go into the temple and sleep at night so you'll be safe. Because they're apt to slip into the city at night and they're out to get you. And so you better get in the temple where you can get behind the closed doors and be safe in there.'" And Nehemiah said that he realized that this was an attempt to strike fear in his heart and to create a reaction out of fear.

Now so often our reactions out of fear are wrong. Fear can motivate us to wrong movement. And they were trying to strike fear in his heart. Trying to create this assailant. "Assassins are going to get you. You better go into the temple of God and close the doors and sleep in there at night lest you become assassinated." And he said, "I realize that he was not from God. That this was a lie. That they have paid him and put him up to this thing in order to strike fear in my heart." And he said, "Should such a one as I do this thing?" "Should such a one as I. I'm God's servant. God is watching over me. God is protecting me. Should I try to find refuge by hiding in the temple?"

My God, think upon Tobiah and Sanballat according to their works, and the prophecy, and the rest of the prophets, that would have put me in fear ( Nehemiah 6:14 ).

Satan tries to use fear so often because fear is an enemy of faith. I believe that fear and faith are mutually exclusive. If you have fear, you don't have faith. If you have faith, you don't have fear. Where fear is allowed to take over, faith departs. Where you have that strong faith and confidence in God, and of course, again, he encouraged the people not to be afraid, to remember God. And putting it into practice in his own life, remembering that God was watching over him.

Now again we do those things which are wise and prudent, but not motivated by fear or the fear of the enemy's attacks. And so he would not through fear seek to find shelter within the temple. If God wants to protect him, God can protect him out on the walls. And he doesn't have to hide in the temple.

So the wall was finished in the twenty-fifth day of the month of Elul, in fifty-two days ( Nehemiah 6:15 ).

They completed this project of the rebuilding of the wall. It was many years before the city was completely rebuilt. The houses within the city were still pretty much rubble, but now, at least, they had protection from their enemies. The walls have now been built, and now, of course, is just the setting up of the gate that is left there in the walls. But in fifty-two days they had finished the building of the wall.

Now there were even some Jews that weren't totally loyal to Nehemiah, and he makes mention of them. And they were reporting on him to Tobiah and Sanballat. And again, the idea was to put him into fear, but Nehemiah was not the kind of a man that would be brought down by fear. "

Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Nehemiah 6". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/nehemiah-6.html. 2014.
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