Nehemiah 6:8
Then I sent to him, saying, There are no such things done as you say, but you feign them out of your own heart.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
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.The letter was "open," in order that the contents might be generally known, and that the Jews, alarmed at the threats contained in it, might refuse to continue the work. 5-9. Then sent Sanballat his servant … the fifth time with an open letter in his hand—In Western Asia, letters, after being rolled up like a map, are flattened to the breadth of an inch; and instead of being sealed, they are pasted at the ends. In Eastern Asia, the Persians make up their letters in the form of a roll about six inches long, and a bit of paper is fastened round it with gum, and sealed with an impression of ink, which resembles our printers' ink, but it is not so thick. Letters were, and are still, sent to persons of distinction in a bag or purse, and even to equals they are enclosed—the tie being made with a colored ribbon. But to inferiors, or persons who are to be treated contemptuously, the letters were sent open—that is, not enclosed in a bag. Nehemiah, accustomed to the punctillious ceremonial of the Persian court, would at once notice the want of the usual formality and know that it was from designed disrespect. The strain of the letter was equally insolent. It was to this effect: The fortifications with which he was so busy were intended to strengthen his position in the view of a meditated revolt: he had engaged prophets to incite the people to enter into his design and support his claim to be their native king; and, to stop the circulation of such reports, which would soon reach the court, he was earnestly besought to come to the wished-for conference. Nehemiah, strong in the consciousness of his own integrity, and penetrating the purpose of this shallow artifice, replied that there were no rumors of the kind described, that the idea of a revolt and the stimulating addresses of hired demagogues were stories of the writer's own invention, and that he declined now, as formerly, to leave his work. No text from Poole on this verse. Then I sent unto him,.... Whether a letter, or a messenger, is not said:

saying there are no such things done as thou sayest; that there was any scheme formed to rebel, and make him king, or that prophets were appointed to declare him such:

but thou feignest them out of thine own heart; in short, that they were no other than lies of his own inventing.

Then I sent unto him, saying, There are no such things done as thou sayest, but thou feignest them out of thine own heart.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
8. There are no such things done] Literally, ‘it has not happened or it has not been done according to these words.’ Nehemiah contents himself with curtly retorting that there is no sort of foundation for Sanballat’s words. The letters of Artaxerxes to ‘the governor beyond the river’ (Nehemiah 2:9) were well known to all; Nehemiah could not be a rebel; he had royal and official support for his work. And the assertion that he was currently rumoured to be engaged in an insurrectionary movement was a mere pretence. The very rumour, he replies, is of Sanballat’s own making; and such as it is, it has nothing to go upon.

Nehemiah saw that the object of the letter was to damage him in the eyes of the people. Compare Sennacherib’s messengers, 2 Chronicles 32:18.

thou feignest them out of thine own heart] i.e. your assertion that a rumour of this kind is being circulated is as much your own invention as the statements which you graft upon it. ‘Feignest.’ The Hebrew word so rendered only occurs elsewhere in the O. T. in 1 Kings 12:33, ‘in the month which he had devised of his own heart.’The 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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