Sanballat practices by craft, by rumors, and by hired prophecies, to terrify Nehemiah, 1-14. The work is finished, to the terror of the enemies, 15, 16. Secret intelligence passes between the enemies and the nobles of Judah, 17-19.
1 Now it came to pass, when Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem the Arabian, and the rest of our enemies heard that I had built the wall and that there was no breach left in it (though at that time I had not set up the doors upon the gates), 2 That Sanballat and Geshem sent to me, saying, "Come, let us meet together in one of the villages in the plain of Ono." But they thought to do me mischief. 3 And I sent messengers to them, saying, "I am doing a great work and I cannot come down. Why should the work cease while I leave it and come down to you?" 4 Yet they sent to me four times after this sort, and I answered them after the same manner. 5 Then Sanballat sent his servant to me in like manner the fifth time with an open letter in his hand, 6 In which this was written: "It is reported among the heathen, and Gashmu says it, that you and the Jews think to rebel, for which cause you build the wall so that you may be their king, according to these words. 7 And you have also appointed prophets to preach of you at Jerusalem, saying, 'There is a king in Judah.' And now it shall be reported to the king according to these words. Come now therefore, and let us take counsel together." 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." 9 For they all made us afraid, saying, "Their hands shall be weakened from the work, so that it may not be done." Now therefore, O God, strengthen my hands.
10 Afterward, I came to 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 you. Indeed, in the night they will come to slay you." 11 And I said, "Should such a man as I flee? And who is there who, being as I am, would go into the temple to save his life? I will not go in." 12 And behold, I perceived that God had not sent him, but that he pronounced this prophecy against me, for Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him. 13 Therefore, he was hired, so that I should be afraid and do so and sin, and that they might have matter for an evil report, so that they might reproach me. 14 My God, think upon Tobiah and Sanballat according to these works of theirs, and on the prophetess Noadiah and the rest of the prophets who would have put me in fear.
15 So the wall was finished on the twenty-fifth day of the month Elul, in fifty-two days. 16 And it came to pass, that when all our enemies heard of it and all the heathen who were around us saw these things, they were much cast down in their own eyes, for they perceived that this work was wrought by our God. 17 Moreover, in those days the nobles of Judah sent many letters to Tobiah, and the letters of Tobiah came to them. 18 For there were many in Judah sworn to 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. 19 Also, they reported his good deeds before me and uttered my words to him. And Tobiah sent letters to put me in fear.
Matthew Henry Commentary - Nehemiah, Chapter 6[➚]