The rebuilding of the walls and gates of Jerusalem is underway. “Now it happened, when Sanballat, Tobiath, the Arabs, the Ammonites, and the Ashdodites heard that the walls of Jerusalem were being restored and the gaps were beginning to be closed, that they became very angry, and all of them conspired together to come and attack Jerusalem and create confusion. Nevertheless we made our prayer to our God, and because of them we set a watch against them day and night.”
Nehemiah positions men around the wall to guard and protect the new construction and the people. “And I looked, and arose and said to the nobles, to the leaders, and to the rest of the people, ‘Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, great and awesome, and fight for your brethren, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your houses.’”
“And it happened, when our enemies heard that it was known to us, and that God had brought their plot to nothing, that all of us returned to the wall, everyone to his work. So it was, from that time on, that half of my servants worked at construction, while the other half held the spears, the shields, the bows, and wore armor; and the leaders were behind all the house of Judah.”
However, there is another interruption in the rebuilding of the wall due to unrest among the weary people of Judah. Nehemiah hears the cries of the poor, hungry, enslaved, and oppressed and he calls on the leaders to free their debts and release the people. “And I said to them, ‘According to our ability we have redeemed our Jewish brethren who were sold to the nations. Now indeed, will you even sell your brethren? Or should they be sold to us?’” The leaders respond saying they will release the burdens and restore the people. “And all the assembly said, ‘Amen!’ and praised the Lord. Then the people did according to this promise.”
After Nehemiah addresses the internal issues hindering the rebuilding, he once again faces external opposition. “Sanballat and Geshem sent to me, saying, ‘Come, let us meet together among the villages in the plain of Ono.’ But they thought to do me harm. So I sent messengers to them, saying, ‘I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down. Why should the work cease while I leave it and go down to you?’”
Although the opposition continues and Nehemiah’s life is threatened, Nehemiah refuses to be distracted from the work given to him by the Lord. Nehemiah trusts God will complete the work He began; and we see that the Lord is faithful – “So the wall was finished on the twenty-fifth day of Elul, in fifty-two days. And it happened, when all our enemies heard of it, and all the nations around us saw these things, that they were very disheartened in their own eyes; for they perceived that this work was done by our God.”
The wall was rebuilt in such a miraculously short time which can not be explained by the efforts of man; this wall must have been rebuilt by the hand of God! Keep reading because tomorrow Ezra is going to read the Book of the Law to all of Judah, ensuring that the people know and understand their mighty God as He reveals Himself through His Word.