Dave Burnette's Commentary

Nehemiah Chapter 6

Written By: God through Inspiration
Penned By: Nehemiah
Date Penned: (445-432 BC)
Overview:  The Return of the 3rd Group of Jewish Exiles (c 1-13)
Theme: The Rebuilding of the Wall (c 1-7)
Message: Continued Opposition To Building The Wall (1-19)

Nehemiah 6 Commentary 

(6:1) Nehemiah's Character Is Attacked - Sanballat and Tobiah were desperate. The wall was almost complete, and their efforts to stop its construction were failing. So they tried a new approach, centering their attacks on Nehemiah's character. They attacked him personally with rumors (6:6), deceit (6:10-13), and false reports (6:17). Personal attacks hurt, and when the criticism is unjustified, it is easy to despair. When you are doing God's work, you may receive attacks on your character. Follow Nehemiah's example by trusting God to accomplish the task and by overlooking unjustified insults. God is our ultimate Judge. What he thinks really matters.

(6:2) A Plan to Attack Nehemiah - The plain of Ono was about 20 miles northwest of Jerusalem. If Sanballat and Geshem could get Nehemiah to agree to meet them there, they could ambush him on the way.

(6:7) False Accusations - During these days, prophets such as Malachi proclaimed the coming of the Messiah (Malachi 3:1-3). Sanballat, with his usual flair for stirring up trouble, tried to turn Nehemiah's people against him by saying that Nehemiah was trying to set himself up as the king. Sanballat also tried to turn the local officials against Nehemiah by threatening to report to the king of Persia that Nehemiah was starting a revolt. The fact that Sanballat had an open (unsealed) letter delivered to Nehemiah shows that he wanted to make sure the letter's contents were made public. But Sanballat's accusations were all lies and did not divert Nehemiah from his task.

(6:9) Nehemiah Prays For Strength - When opposition builds up against us as we do God's work, we can be tempted to pray, "God, get us out of this situation." But Nehemiah prayed for strength. He showed tremendous determination and character to remain steadfast in his responsibility. When we pray for strength, God always answers. Nehemiah may have felt very alone, but God was with him as he is with us.

(6:10-13) Nehemiah Stands Against His Enemies - Nehemiah did not have the full support of the people. Shemaiah (6:10), Noadiah (6:14), and many of the officials (6:17) were working against him. When Nehemiah was attacked personally, he refused to give in to fear and flee to the temple. According to God's law, it would have been wrong for Nehemiah to go into the temple to hide because he wasn't a priest (Numbers 18:22). If he had run for his life, he would have undermined the courage he was trying to instill in the people. Leaders are targets for attacks. Make it a practice to pray for those in authority (1 Timothy 2:1-2), and humbly ask for prayer from others when you are in a position of leadership. Ask God to give strength to stand against personal attacks and temptation. Leaders need God-given courage to overcome fear.

(6:10) Testing Motives - Shemaiah warned Nehemiah of danger and told him to hide in the temple. Nehemiah wisely tested the message, exposing it as another trick of the enemy. People may misuse God's name by saying they know God's will when they have other motives. Examine self-proclaimed messengers from God to see if they stand up to the test of being consistent with what is revealed in God's Word.

(6:15) A Vision Fulfilled - Daniel, who was among the first group of captives taken from Jerusalem to Babylon (605 BC, predicted the rebuilding of the city (Daniel 9:25). Here his prophecy comes true. He, like Nehemiah, was a Jew who held a prominent position in the kingdom where he had been exiled (Daniel 5:29-6:3). Still, They said it couldn't be done. The job was too big, and the problems were too great. But God's men and women, joined together for special tasks, can solve huge problems and accomplish great goals. The vision that Nehemiah saw through humble tears in Persia became a reality with God's help every step of the way. Don't let the size of a task or the length of time needed to accomplish it keep you from doing it. With God's help, it can be done


Dave Burnette's Life Application

Jesus is Our Reputation

 Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter making an application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. Many applications can be made from each day's text. Today we continue in the book of Nehemiah with Chapter 6 and we see Nehemiah facing continued opposition to rebuilding the walls as the enemy attacks his character. The Lord prevailed though as the workers complete the walls. In making application we see that the enemy will attempt to attack us by any means. When we face this opposition we need to remember that "Jesus" is our reputation. He is our shield and buckler. We need not defend ourselves but simply stand behind the cross letting Him fight our battles. How about you? Do you allow Jesus to be you reputation? Let us learn from our text today to stand behind our Lord, letting Him fight our battles, making no apologies for following our Lord-Jesus because He is our reputation. 


Nehemiah 6

Nehemiah 6

 1Now it came to pass when Sanballat, and Tobiah, and Geshem the Arabian, and the rest of our enemies, heard that I had builded the wall, and that there was no breach left therein; (though at that time I had not set up the doors upon the gates;)

 2That Sanballat and Geshem sent unto me, saying, Come, let us meet together in some one of the villages in the plain of Ono. But they thought to do me mischief.

 3And I sent messengers unto them, saying, I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down: why should the work cease, whilst I leave it, and come down to you?

 4Yet they sent unto me four times after this sort; and I answered them after the same manner.

 5Then sent Sanballat his servant unto me in like manner the fifth time with an open letter in his hand;

 6Wherein 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 words.

 7And thou hast also appointed prophets to preach of thee at Jerusalem, saying, There is a king in Judah: and now shall it be reported to the king according to these words. Come now therefore, and let us take counsel together.

 8Then I sent unto him, saying, There are no such things done as thou sayest, but thou feignest them out of thine own heart.

 9For they all made us afraid, saying, Their hands shall be weakened from the work, that it be not done. Now therefore, O God, strengthen my hands.

 10Afterward I came unto the house of Shemaiah the son of Delaiah the son of Mehetabeel, who was shut up; and he said, Let us meet together in the house of God, within the temple, and let us shut the doors of the temple: for they will come to slay thee; yea, in the night will they come to slay thee.

 11And I said, Should such a man as I flee? and who is there, that, being as I am, would go into the temple to save his life? I will not go in.

 12And, lo, I perceived that God had not sent him; but that he pronounced this prophecy against me: for Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him.

 13Therefore was he hired, that I should be afraid, and do so, and sin, and that they might have matter for an evil report, that they might reproach me.

 14My God, think thou upon Tobiah and Sanballat according to these their works, and on the prophetess Noadiah, and the rest of the prophets, that would have put me in fear.

 15So the wall was finished in the twenty and fifth day of the month Elul, in fifty and two days.

 16And it came to pass, that when all our enemies heard thereof, and all the heathen that were about us saw these things, they were much cast down in their own eyes: for they perceived that this work was wrought of our God.

 17Moreover in those days the nobles of Judah sent many letters unto Tobiah, and the letters of Tobiah came unto them.

 18For there were many in Judah sworn unto him, because he was the son in law of Shechaniah the son of Arah; and his son Johanan had taken the daughter of Meshullam the son of Berechiah.

 19Also they reported his good deeds before me, and uttered my words to him. And Tobiah sent letters to put me in fear.