Nehemiah 3:1-4:23 Comments by Stephen Ricker
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Build the Walls of Jerusalem
Comments for Study 2

Nehemiah 3:1-4:23
Memory Verse: 4

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I. The Workers (3:1-32)

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>1. As work began on the walls and gates what did the nobles of Tekoa do? (1-5)

* Nehemiah 3:1-5 "Nehemiah 3:1-5 "Eliashib the high priest and his fellow priests went to work and rebuilt the Sheep Gate. They dedicated it and set its doors in place, building as far as the Tower of the Hundred, which they dedicated, and as far as the Tower of Hananel. The men of Jericho built the adjoining section, and Zaccur son of Imri built next to them. The Fish Gate was rebuilt by the sons of Hassenaah. They laid its beams and put its doors and bolts and bars in place. Meremoth son of Uriah, the son of Hakkoz, repaired the next section. Next to him Meshullam son of Berekiah, the son of Meshezabel, made repairs, and next to him Zadok son of Baana also made repairs. The next section was repaired by the men of Tekoa, but their nobles would not put their shoulders to the work under their supervisors."

* The wall rebuilding work continued. Everyone had a spot chosen for them to work. Everything was going to plan until the surrounding territories plotted to stop the project. They were going to attack. They hurled insults to the workers.

Nehemiah and those working had to decide what to do. They were desperate. The first response was to ask God for help. Then they continued to work. When an attack seemed immanent they split the group in half. Some protected and some worked. When their strength was giving out they prayed some more and continued.

Almost every time when I resolve to do what is needed, right, and good something happens to make it even harder, difficult and hopeless than I originally thought and planned. Suddenly, something or someone comes along that I never expected. I could give up saying, "Must not be God's will."

However, it may be that God is testing my resolve and he is planning to build my faith if I don't give up. When obstacles come and I want to give up and all I can do is cry out to God for help, when I do so and the project is over and completed than I can say that what was done was truly done by God. I was only permitted to partake in the effort.

What I have planned to do today and tomorrow, is it truly good, right, and needed? Then, no matter what happens, I should rely on God and not give up. When it is completed I must accept it was God who made it possible and give glory to God.

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>Who helped the ruler of a half-district of Jerusalem? (6-12)

* Nehemiah 3:6-12 "The Jeshanah Gate was repaired by Joiada son of Paseah and Meshullam son of Besodeiah. They laid its beams and put its doors and bolts and bars in place. Next to them, repairs were made by men from Gibeon and Mizpah--Melatiah of Gibeon and Jadon of Meronoth--places under the authority of the governor of Trans-Euphrates. Uzziel son of Harhaiah, one of the goldsmiths, repaired the next section; and Hananiah, one of the perfume-makers, made repairs next to that. They restored Jerusalem as far as the Broad Wall. Rephaiah son of Hur, ruler of a half-district of Jerusalem, repaired the next section. Adjoining this, Jedaiah son of Harumaph made repairs opposite his house, and Hattush son of Hashabneiah made repairs next to him. Malkijah son of Harim and Hasshub son of Pahath-Moab repaired another section and the Tower of the Ovens. Shallum son of Hallohesh, ruler of a half-district of Jerusalem, repaired the next section with the help of his daughters."

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>What is noted about Baruch's work? (13-21)

* Nehemiah 3:13-21 "The Valley Gate was repaired by Hanun and the residents of Zanoah. They rebuilt it and put its doors and bolts and bars in place. They also repaired five hundred yards of the wall as far as the Dung Gate. 14 The Dung Gate was repaired by Malkijah son of Recab, ruler of the district of Beth Hakkerem. He rebuilt it and put its doors and bolts and bars in place. 15 The Fountain Gate was repaired by Shallun son of Col-Hozeh, ruler of the district of Mizpah. He rebuilt it, roofing it over and putting its doors and bolts and bars in place. He also repaired the wall of the Pool of Siloam, by the King's Garden, as far as the steps going down from the City of David. 16 Beyond him, Nehemiah son of Azbuk, ruler of a half-district of Beth Zur, made repairs up to a point opposite the tombs of David, as far as the artificial pool and the House of the Heroes. 17 Next to him, the repairs were made by the Levites under Rehum son of Bani. Beside him, Hashabiah, ruler of half the district of Keilah, carried out repairs for his district. 18 Next to him, the repairs were made by their countrymen under Binnui son of Henadad, ruler of the other half-district of Keilah. 19 Next to him, Ezer son of Jeshua, ruler of Mizpah, repaired another section, from a point facing the ascent to the armory as far as the angle. 20 Next to him, Baruch son of Zabbai zealously repaired another section, from the angle to the entrance of the house of Eliashib the high priest. 21 Next to him, Meremoth son of Uriah, the son of Hakkoz, repaired another section, from the entrance of Eliashib's house to the end of it."

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>Where craft smiths and priests exempt from the word? (22-32)

* Nehemiah 3:22-32 "The repairs next to him were made by the priests from the surrounding region. 23 Beyond them, Benjamin and Hasshub made repairs in front of their house; and next to them, Azariah son of Maaseiah, the son of Ananiah, made repairs beside his house. 24 Next to him, Binnui son of Henadad repaired another section, from Azariah's house to the angle and the corner, 25 and Palal son of Uzai worked opposite the angle and the tower projecting from the upper palace near the court of the guard. Next to him, Pedaiah son of Parosh 26 and the temple servants living on the hill of Ophel made repairs up to a point opposite the Water Gate toward the east and the projecting tower. 27 Next to them, the men of Tekoa repaired another section, from the great projecting tower to the wall of Ophel. 28 Above the Horse Gate, the priests made repairs, each in front of his own house. 29 Next to them, Zadok son of Immer made repairs opposite his house. Next to him, Shemaiah son of Shecaniah, the guard at the East Gate, made repairs. 30 Next to him, Hananiah son of Shelemiah, and Hanun, the sixth son of Zalaph, repaired another section. Next to them, Meshullam son of Berekiah made repairs opposite his living quarters. 31 Next to him, Malkijah, one of the goldsmiths, made repairs as far as the house of the temple servants and the merchants, opposite the Inspection Gate, and as far as the room above the corner; 32 and between the room above the corner and the Sheep Gate the goldsmiths and merchants made repairs."

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>How is this an inspiration to us in the gospel work? (Phil. 1:27-30)

* Philippians 1:27-30 "Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved--and that by God. For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him, since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have."

* Philippians 2:1-4 "If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others."

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II. Opposition (4:1-15)

>2. Who was Sanballat and what did he do? (1-2)

* Nehemiah 4:1-2 "When Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, he became angry and was greatly incensed. He ridiculed the Jews, and in the presence of his associates and the army of Samaria, he said, "What are those feeble Jews doing? Will they restore their wall? Will they offer sacrifices? Will they finish in a day? Can they bring the stones back to life from those heaps of rubble--burned as they are?"

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>Who was Tobiah and what did he do? (3)

* Nehemiah 4:3 "Tobiah the Ammonite, who was at his side, said, "What they are building--if even a fox climbed up on it, he would break down their wall of stones!"

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>Why is it when we work for the Lord such people seem to appear? (Luke 21:12-19)

* Luke 21:12-19 "But before all this, they will lay hands on you and persecute you. They will deliver you to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name. This will result in your being witnesses to them. But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict. You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death. All men will hate you because of me. But not a hair of your head will perish. By standing firm you will gain life.

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>3. What did the workers do when opposition came? (4-5)

* Nehemiah 4:4-5 "Hear us, O our God, for we are despised. Turn their insults back on their own heads. Give them over as plunder in a land of captivity. Do not cover up their guilt or blot out their sins from your sight, for they have thrown insults in the face of the builders."

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>What is remarkable about the characteristic of their labor? (6)

* Nehemiah 4:6 "So we rebuilt the wall till all of it reached half its height, for the people worked with all their heart."

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>4. Was their enemies deterred? (7-8, 11)

* Nehemiah 4:7-8 "But when Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites and the men of Ashdod heard that the repairs to Jerusalem's walls had gone ahead and that the gaps were being closed, they were very angry. They all plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem and stir up trouble against it."

* Nehemiah 4:11 "Also our enemies said, "Before they know it or see us, we will be right there among them and will kill them and put an end to the work."

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>What other problem arouse? (10)

* Nehemiah 4:10 "Meanwhile, the people in Judah said, "The strength of the laborers is giving out, and there is so much rubble that we cannot rebuild the wall."

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>How did the workers respond? (9, 12-13)

* Nehemiah 4:9 "But we prayed to our God and posted a guard day and night to meet this threat."

* Nehemiah 4:12-13 "Then the Jews who lived near them came and told us ten times over, "Wherever you turn, they will attack us." Therefore I stationed some of the people behind the lowest points of the wall at the exposed places, posting them by families, with their swords, spears and bows."

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>What can be learned? (1 Cor. 15:58)

* 1 Corinthians 15:58 "Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain."

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>5. What did Nehemiah remind to people? (15)

* Nehemiah 4:14 "After I looked things over, I stood up and said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, "Don't be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes."

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>Who would they fight for?

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>How did the people respond?

* Nehemiah 4:15 "When our enemies heard that we were aware of their plot and that God had frustrated it, we all returned to the wall, each to his own work."

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III. Rebuilding the Walls (4:16-23)

>6. How did they split the labor (16-18a)

* Nehemiah 4:16-18a "From that day on, half of my men did the work, while the other half were equipped with spears, shields, bows and armor. The officers posted themselves behind all the people of Judah who were building the wall. Those who carried materials did their work with one hand and held a weapon in the other, and each of the builders wore his sword at his side as he worked."

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>What did they have in each hand from that time on?

* "Those who carried materials did their work with one hand and held a weapon in the other"

* "each of the builders wore his sword at his side as he worked"

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>How is the gospel work similar? (1 Cor. 3:7-9, 7:7, 12:27-30)

* 1 Corinthians 3:7-9 "So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor. For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, God's building."

* 1 Corinthians 7:7 "I wish that all men were as I am. But each man has his own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that."

* 1 Corinthians 12:27-30 "Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret?"

* 2 Corinthians 6:4-7 "Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left;"

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>7. Who did Nehemiah have with him as he oversaw the work? (18b)

* Nehemiah 4:18b "But the man who sounded the trumpet stayed with me."

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>What was his purpose? (19-20)

* Nehemiah 4:19-20 "Then I said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, "The work is extensive and spread out, and we are widely separated from each other along the wall. Wherever you hear the sound of the trumpet, join us there. Our God will fight for us!""

* "Wherever you hear the sound of the trumpet, join us there. Our God will fight for us!"

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>Like them how long will we continue the gospel work? (1 Cor. 15:51-52)

* 1 Corinthians 15:51-52 "Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed-- in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed."

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>8. Why was it necessary to have a trumpeter?

* "The work is extensive and spread out"

* "we are widely separated from each other along the wall"

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>How is this like the gospel work? (Matt. 7:13-14, 9:37-38)

* Matthew 7:13-14 "Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it."

* Matthew 9:37-38 "Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field."

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>9. How long did they work? (21)

* Nehemiah 4:21 "So we continued the work with half the men holding spears, from the first light of dawn till the stars came out."

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>What did they do at night? (22)

* Nehemiah 4:22 "At that time I also said to the people, "Have every man and his helper stay inside Jerusalem at night, so they can serve us as guards by night and workmen by day."

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>How should this be an inspiration to us?

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>10. Why might they not take off their clothes?

* Nehemiah 4:23 "Neither I nor my brothers nor my men nor the guards with me took off our clothes; each had his weapon, even when he went for water."

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>How did Paul use a similar example in Ephesians 6:10-13?

* Ephesians 6:10-13 "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand."

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