Nehemiah 6:1
Now 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;)
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(1) And the rest of our enemies.—The Three always have the pre-eminence.

The doors upon the gates.Within the gates. This parenthesis is a note of historical accuracy, and intimates that what had been before said as to the setting up of the doors (see Nehemiah 3) was by way of anticipation.

Nehemiah 6:1-2. I had not set up the doors — Not all of them. Come, let us meet together — To consult about the common service of our master the king of Persia, or to make a friendly accommodation. In one of the villages in the plain of Ono — A city in the tribe of Benjamin, of which see Nehemiah 11:35; 1 Chronicles 8:12. But they thought to do me mischief — It is likely they intended to kill him, of which, perhaps, he had received some private intelligence.

6:1-9 Let those who are tempted to idle merry meetings by vain companions, thus answer the temptation, We have work to do, and must not neglect it. We must never suffer ourselves to be overcome, by repeated urgency, to do anything sinful or imprudent; but when attacked with the same temptation, must resist it with the same reason and resolution. It is common for that which is desired only by the malicious, to be falsely represented by them as desired by the many. But Nehemiah knew at what they aimed, he not only denied that such things were true, but that they were reported; he was better known than to be thus suspected. We must never omit any known duty for fear it should be misconstrued; but, while we keep a good conscience, let us trust God with our good name. God's people, though loaded with reproach, are not really fallen so low in reputation as some would have them thought to be. Nehemiah lifted up his heart to Heaven in a short prayer. When, in our Christian work and warfare, we enter upon any service or conflict, this is a good prayer, I have such a duty to do, such a temptation to grapple with; now, therefore, O God, strengthen my hands. Every temptation to draw us from duty, should quicken us the more to duty.Upon the gates - Rather, "in the gates." This work would naturally be delayed until the last phase. CHAPTER 6

Ne 6:1-19. Sanballat Practises against Nehemiah by Insidious Attempts.Sanballat and Tobiah, sending to Nehemiah to meet them, intend to do him mischief, Nehemiah 6:1,2. Nehemiah’s answer, Nehemiah 6:3. They charge him with rebellion, Nehemiah 6:4-7. His answer to it, Nehemiah 6:8,9. Shemaiah’s false prophecies to discourage Nehemiah, Nehemiah 6:10. His reply, Nehemiah 6:11-14. The work is finished to the terror of the enemies, Nehemiah 7:15,16. Secret correspondence between the nobles of Judah and Tobiah, Nehemiah 6:17,18.

I had not set up the doors; not all of them. See Poole "Nehemiah 3:1-3".

Now 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,.... Quite finished it:

and that there was no breach left therein; but all was made up firm and strong:

though at that time I had not set up the doors upon the gates; not upon all of them, though some might by the particular builders of them; and they all of them might be ready made, though not as yet put upon the hinges.

Now 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 {a} breach left therein; (though at that time I had not set up the doors upon the gates;)

(a) That is, that they were joined together, as in Ne 4:6.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
1. when S.… and the rest of our enemies, heard] R.V. when it was reported to S.…, and unto the rest of our enemies. The R.V. is more literal; the passive verb ‘to be reported’ occurs in Nehemiah 6:6-7, and possibly in chap. Nehemiah 13:27. For the spread of previous rumours, cf. Nehemiah 2:19, Nehemiah 4:1. ‘The rest of our enemies,’ probably the representatives of hostile neighbouring communities, cf. Nehemiah 4:7, where ‘the Arabians and the Ammonites and the Ashdodites’ are associated with Sanballat and Tobiah.

no breach left] referring to the description in Nehemiah 1:3, Nehemiah 2:13, Nehemiah 4:7.

though at that time] R.V. though even unto that time. Nehemiah introduces this saving clause for the sake of accuracy. The report was not quite true; the walls were indeed finished, but as yet the gates were not in their places.

upon the gates] R.V. in the gates, i.e. in the great fortified gateways. The construction of ‘the doors’ is mentioned in chap. Nehemiah 3:3; Nehemiah 3:6; Nehemiah 3:14-15. Why had the doors not yet been ‘set in the gates?’ Perhaps we are to infer that in the hurry of rebuilding the wall the delicate operation of swinging the heavy metal-covered city doors had been postponed. Temporary barricades would be sufficient to block the approaches. When the work on the wall was finished, the doors would be ‘set up’ by skilled workmen. To have set them up before would have caused delay in the repair of the walls. In the Assyrian Room (Upper Floor, Case A) of the British Museum are to be seen the bronze coverings of gates found by Mr Rassam at Balawa in 1879, and the pivots on which these gates turned.

Verse 1. - When Sanballat, and Tobiah, and Geshem the Arabian heard. Literally, "When it was heard by Sanballat and Tobiah, and by Geshem the Arabian." The preposition ל is repeated with Geshem, but not with Tobiah, probably because Tobiah was Sanballat's subordinate, but Geshem an independent chief. Hence, too, it was not proposed that Tobiah should be at the conference. At that time I had not set up the doors. This may appear to contradict Nehemiah 3:1, 3, 6, 13, etc. But the account of the building in ch. 3. is carried on to the completion of the whole work, the object there being to state by whom the different parts were done, and not at what time. Chronologically, chs. 4, 5, and 6. are parallel to ch. 3, relating events that happened while the wall was being built. The hanging of the doors in the gateways was, naturally, the last thing done. Upon the gates. Rather, "in the gateways." Nehemiah 6:1The attempts of Sanballat and his associates to ruin Nehemiah. - Nehemiah 6:1, Nehemiah 6:2. When Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem the Arabian, and the rest of the enemies, heard that the wall was built, and that no breaches were left therein, though the doors were then not yet set up in the gates, he sent, etc. לו נשׁמע, it was heard by him, in the indefinite sense of: it came to his ears. The use of the passive is more frequent in later Hebrew; comp. Nehemiah 6:6, Nehemiah 6:7, Nehemiah 13:27; Esther 1:20, and elsewhere. On Sanballat and his allies, see remarks on Nehemiah 2:19. The "rest of our enemies" were, according to Nehemiah 4:1 (Nehemiah 4:7, A.V.), Ashdodites, and also other hostile individuals. וגו העת עד גּם introduces a parenthetical sentence limiting the statement already made: Nevertheless, down to that time I had not set up the doors in the gates. The wall-building was quite finished, but doors to the gates were as yet wanting to the complete fortification of the city. The enemies sent to him, saying, Come, let us meet together (for a discussion) in the villages in the valley of Ono. - In Nehemiah 6:7, נוּערה of the present verse. The form כּפרים, elsewhere only כּפר, 1 Chronicles 27:25, or כּפר, village, 1 Samuel 6:18, occurs only here. כּפירה, however, being found Ezra 2:25 and elsewhere as a proper name, the form כּפיר seems to have been in use as well as כּפר. There is no valid ground for regarding כּפרים as the proper name of a special locality. To make their proposal appear impartial, they leave the appointment of the place in the valley of Ono to Nehemiah. Ono seems, according to 1 Chronicles 8:12, to have been situate in the neighbourhood of Lod (Lydda), and is therefore identified by Van de Velde (Mem. p. 337) and Bertheau with Kefr Ana (Arab. kfr ‛ânâ) or Kefr Anna, one and three-quarter leagues north of Ludd. But no certain information concerning the position of the place can be obtained from 1 Chronicles 8:12; and Roediger (in the Hallische Lit. Zeitung, 1842, No. 71, p. 665) is more correct, in accordance both with the orthography and the sense, in comparing it with Beit Unia (Arab. byt ûniya), north-west of Jerusalem, not far from Beitin (Bethel); comp. Rob. Pal. ii. p. 351. The circumstance that the plain of Ono was, according to the present verse, somewhere between Jerusalem and Samaria, which suits Beit Unia, but not Kefr Ana (comp. Arnold in Herzog's Realenc. xii. p. 759), is also in favour of the latter view. "But they thought to do me harm." Probably they wanted to make him a prisoner, perhaps even to assassinate him.
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