Nehemiah 6 Commentary

The wall completed (6:1-7:73)

With the wall nearing completion, the enemies saw that their only hope lay in getting rid of Nehemiah himself. They tried to draw him out into the country where they could murder him, but Nehemiah was aware of their tricks (6:1-4). They then spread rumours, by means of an open letter, that Nehemiah was planning a revolt against Persia, but their efforts came to nothing (5-9).

The enemies thought of yet another plan. They tried to make Nehemiah act in a way that would ruin his reputation for fearlessness before opponents and reverence for the temple. Again they failed (10-14). Even the spies and traitors whom the enemies had planted in Jerusalem were unable to stop Nehemiah from completing the wall (15-19).

Jerusalem was now surrounded with a solid wall of defence. But as usual Nehemiah took no risks. The city was only thinly populated and special precautions were necessary. In case of a surprise early morning attack, Nehemiah ordered that the city gates remain closed until all the people were awake and about their daily business. In addition he formed a city-wide guard, arranged so that each household supervised an area close to it (7:1-4).

Nehemiah then made a register of all those living in Jerusalem. It was based on lists that went back to the very first group of returned exiles, who had come to Jerusalem with Zerubbabel almost a century earlier (5-73; see notes on Ezra 2:1-70, where the same list is given).

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