Wesley's Notes on the Bible
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;)
6:1 The doors - Not all of them.
That 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.
6:2 Meet - To consult about the common service of our master the king of Persia, or to make a friendly accommodation.
And 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?
Yet they sent unto me four times after this sort; and I answered them after the same manner.
6:4 Four times, and c. - We must never be overcome by the greatest importunity, to do anything ill or imprudent: but when we are attacked with the same temptation, still resist it with the same reason and resolution.
Then sent Sanballat his servant unto me in like manner the fifth time with an open letter in his hand;
6:5 Open letter - As speaking of a thing commonly known.
Wherein 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.
And 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.
6:7 A king - We have now a king of our nation. Counsel - That we may impartially examine the matter, that thy innocency may be cleared.
Then I sent unto him, saying, There are no such things done as thou sayest, but thou feignest them out of thine own heart.
For 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.
6:9 Strengthen my hands - A good prayer, when we are entering on any particular services or conflicts in our Christian warfare.
Afterward 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.
6:10 Shut up - In his chamber adjoining to the temple, upon pretence of singular devotion, and communion with God, and withal upon pretence of certain knowledge, by the Spirit of God concerning their approaching danger, from which thy could be safe nowhere but in the temple. For if Nehemiah had done this, the people would have left their work, and every one have shifted for his own safety.
And 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.
6:11 As I - I the chief governor, upon whose presence, the very life of the whole city and nation in a great measure depends: I who have professed such resolution, and courage, and confidence in God. I, who have had such eminent experience of God's assistance, of his calling me to this employment, and carrying me through it when our danger was greater than now it is. Shall I now dishonour God and religion, and betray the people and city of God by my cowardice? Go in - Tho' his life depended upon it.
And, lo, I perceived that God had not sent him; but that he pronounced this prophecy against me: for Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him.
Therefore 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.
6:13 And sin - By going into a place forbidden to me, and that in such a manner, which would have been both sinful and shameful. Reproach - As a coward, and conscious of my own guilt, that they might make me contemptible and odious both to my own people, and to the king of Persia.
My 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.
6:14 My God, and c. - This prayer we are not to imitate.
So the wall was finished in the twenty and fifth day of the month Elul, in fifty and two days.
6:15 Elul - Answering part to our August, and part to September.
And 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.
Moreover in those days the nobles of Judah sent many letters unto Tobiah, and the letters of Tobiah came unto them.
For 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.
Also they reported his good deeds before me, and uttered my words to him. And Tobiah sent letters to put me in fear.