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Bible Commentaries

Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary

Nehemiah 6

Verse 3


‘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?’

Nehemiah 6:3

Nehemiah’s work was not the building of the altar, not the completing of the Temple; his work was the building up of the walls of Jerusalem, building up the wall round about and setting up the gates again.

I. Notice the solitude of Nehemiah.—It was in the absence of sympathy that he was first stirred. He had the burden of solitude, not only when he was away in Shushan, but also when he came to Jerusalem. If you would take part in the reformation, the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem, bring it home to yourselves—this solitude of Nehemiah.

II. The sadness of Nehemiah shows that he had the true fire within him of the love of the Church of God. It was enough to take from him all the pleasure of the music and the court; it was nothing to him that he was cup-bearer in the royal presence, that he was highly spoken of. All this was nothing to him, because the walls of Jerusalem, the city of his God, were fallen down.

III. When he did set about the work of God, he made known what was in his heart to others.—He worked with others. Though he bore the burden of solitude, he did not carry out his work in any selfish spirit, but he worked with others.

IV. It is mentioned especially of one man that he repaired over against his own house.—Just where a man saw the wall wanted repairing nearest to him, there he set to work to build. And so by faithful perseverance the wall was built. And when it was finished the heathen and those that had opposed the building were very downcast in their souls, for they perceived that the wall was wrought of God. They saw that their opposition had been baffled, and that the work was done for the glory of God.

—Bishop Edward King.


‘We cannot but admire the wisdom, and resolution, and singleness of aim of the Jewish patriot in penetrating the designs of his enemies, and in refusing to be drawn away from the great work he had in hand on any pretext whatever. He had such a profound and overwhelming sense of the grandeur and sacredness of the enterprise, that no consideration whatever could induce him to abandon it, or to expose it to the risk of betrayal by unworthy compromise. What a noble example to the patriot statesmen in every age when plied by the wiles of worldly antagonists to abandon or betray a righteous cause—when an attempt is made to draw them into the plain of Ono, from the mountain of high principle into the low flat of expediency, from the city of God’s truth and cause into one of the meaner villages of worldly compromise and conformity!’

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Bibliographical Information
Nisbet, James. "Commentary on Nehemiah 6". Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary. 1876.