Sanballat and Tobiah were jeering and trying to make mockery of the rebuilding efforts (verses 1-3). But Nehemiah just prayed, and left it to God to deal with them. Verse 6 shows that great progress was being made on the wall, and verses 7-8 allow that the opposition was growing because of the progress. Nehemiah led them in prayer, and they set a guard by night and day. Verse 10 shows that the overwhelming size of the effort to rebuild the wall among this danger was discouraging some of the people, and their lives were being threatened (verse 11). This prompted the people who lived nearby to try to get them to abandon the work and come home (verse 12).
But Nehemiah showed great leadership, standing firm and telling them not to be afraid, setting people by their own clans armed with swords and spears (verses 13-14). The work continued with some men building with one hand while having the other on their weapons. Then Nehemiah had half of the people working, and half of them standing guard over them (verses 21-23). In verse 20, Nehemiah (aware of their vulnerability being stretched out along the wall) has them ready to sound a trumpet if attacks comes at some point, so everyone could rally to their defense at that location. This was God’s work, and it would get done!
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers
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