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Bible Commentaries

Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Nehemiah 4

Verse 2

Multitude. Hebrew and Septuagint, "army." (Calmet) --- Silly. Literally, "feeble." (Haydock) --- Sacrifice, at the dedication. (Tirinus) --- Day, in so short a time, as their present vigorous proceedings seem to promise, notwithstanding their feeble condition, and the paucity of their numbers. (Haydock) --- But no: we shall have time enough to hinder them, (Menochius) if the nature of their materials do it not for us. (Haydock) --- Raise. Hebrew, "revive;" a word used for reparations of walls, &c. (Calmet) (Delrio, adag. 221.) --- Septuagint, "heal." God's providence did not permit the enemy to rage, till the work was greatly advanced; so infidels laugh at the attempts of your priests to restore religion, which nevertheless flourishes. (Worthington)

Verse 3

Leap over. Hebrew, Septuagint, &c., "break down." (Calmet) --- Bitter sarcasm, which excites the indignation of Nehemias! (Tirinus)

Verse 4

Captivity. Since they have not learnt to commiserate others. (Calmet)

Verse 5

Face. Punish the obstinate. (Tirinus) --- He does not wish that they may continue impenitent. (Calmet) --- But, on that supposition, he approves of the divine justice, and foretells what will happen. (Estius) --- Revenge was equally criminal under the old law, as it is at present. But the servants of God express their approbation (Calmet) of his inscrutable counsels. The imperative in Hebrew is often used for the future tense. (Haydock) --- Mocked. Protestants, "provoked thee.... before the builders." Septuagint omit most of this and the following verses; having only, "Do not hide thyself, with respect to wickedness." (Haydock)

Verse 6

Thereof, all round; as masons were stationed in different parts, (ver. 19.) and not barely on one side of the city. (Calmet) --- Tobias alludes to the present lowness of the walls, ver. 3. (Haydock)

Verse 8

Together, to the number of 180,000, according to the Jews; who say that they were terrified, at the excommunication pronounced by 300 priests against them, while 300 young men sounded trumpets; and they fled, leaving Nehemias at liberty to continue the work. It is a pity that we have no foundation for this in Scripture. (Calmet) See 1 Esdras iv. 3. (Haydock) --- The Samaritans durst not openly attack the Jews, who were under the protection of the Persian monarch. But they endeavoured clandestinely to injure them, (Tirinus) and to prepare ambushes. (Haydock)

Verse 10

Juda. Some of the Jews, (Menochius) who were dispirited at the greatness of the work and the threats of the enemy. --- Burdens. Septuagint, "of the enemies." Arabic, "the Jews were strengthened, there were many porters, but they could not finish the work." (Calmet) --- Rubbish to be removed. (Tirinus)

Verse 12

Ten times, frequently. (Menochius) --- Places, among the Cuthites. --- Whence they. Protestants, "ye return unto us, they will be upon you. " Hebrew, the second person is put for the third, which occurs in the Septuagint, &c., though they refer it to the enemy. "They come up from all places against us." (Haydock) --- De Dieu would translate, "return to us," cultivate the friendship of Sanaballat; or "return home," and leave off this work. The sense of the Vulgate is the most easy, and the best. (Calmet)

Verse 13

Place. Hebrew adds, "below." --- Round. Hebrew, "on the hills." (Haydock) --- To remove the apparent contradiction, (Calmet) Protestants supply, " and on the higher places." Septuagint, "in lurking holes," Greek: skepeinois.

Verse 14

Remember. These are the most powerful arguments to encourage an army. (Haydock)

Verse 16

Their. Hebrew, "my servants," (Menochius) half of whom only wrought, while the rest stood guard. If we adhere to the Vulgate, we must suppose that Nehemias altered his first plan, and ordered almost all to be ready to fight or to labour, as occasion might require, ver. 17. (Calmet) --- In. "Over, (Haydock) or behind all the family of Juda," (Vatable) encouraging the people by word, and sometimes by example. (Tirinus) (Menochius)

Verse 17

Sword. Hebrew, "dart." (Calmet) --- The expression seems to be proverbial. So Ovid makes Canacea speak, "My right hand holds the pen, my left the sword;" (Haydock) while I write, I am on the point of killing myself. (Calmet) Dextra tenet calamum, strictum tenet altera ferrum. (Ep. Her.)

Verse 18

By me, when the enemy appeared. (Menochius)

Verse 20

For us. Yet we must act with prudence and courage. (Haydock)

Verse 22

Midst. Before they had gone home. (Calmet) --- Let us. Protestants, "that in the night they may be a guard to us, and labour on the day." (Haydock)

Verse 23

Clothes, even to sleep. --- Only. Septuagint (Complutensian), "man and his arms to the water." (Haydock) --- They went armed to fetch water; (Malvenda) or they had their armour and water always at hand. (Junius, &c.) --- Hebrew, "each kept his dart at the water." It may have various senses. (Calmet) --- Protestants agree with the Vulgate, " saving that every one put them off for washing" (Haydock) them, or themselves. (Tirinus)

Verses 29-30


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Bibliographical Information
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Nehemiah 4". "Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". 1859.