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Bible Commentaries

Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures
Nehemiah 4

 

 

Verses 1-23

Nehemiah 4:6 So built we the wall; and all the wall was joined together unto the half thereof: for the people had a mind to work.

Nehemiah 4:6"for the people had a mind to work" - Comments- One night after working all day as a maintenance man at Brown Trail Apartments, I was still out working in the maintenance shop and a resident said, "You are still working?" I answered, "yes." Then the Lord quickened this phrase to me. I had just finished reading Nehemiah. I then understood how they felt while building the wall. They had an inner drive to be hard workers.

Nehemiah 4:12 And it came to pass, that when the Jews which dwelt by them came, they said unto us ten times, From all places whence ye shall return unto us they will be upon you.

Nehemiah 4:12Word Study on "ten times- The Hebrew phrase "ten times" ( פְּעָמִ֔ים עֶ֣שֶׂר) is made up of two words, "ten" ( עֶשֶׂר) (H 6235), and "times" ( פַּעַם) (H 6471). Although the literal translation Isaiah , "ten times," John Gill understands the phrase "ten times" in Numbers 14:22 as an idiom to mean a rounded number, which is equivalent to "time after time," thus "numerous times." He says that although the Jews counted ten literal occasions when Israel tempted the Lord during the wilderness journeys, Aben Ezra gives this phrase a figurative meaning of "many times." 42] T. E. Espin adds to the figurative meaning of Numbers 14:22 by saying that Israel had tempted the Lord to its fullness, so that the Lord would now pass judgment upon them, even denying them access into the Promised Land, which is clearly stated in the next verse. 43]

42] John Gill lists ten literal occasions, "twice at the sea, Exodus 14:11; twice concerning water, Exodus 15:23; twice about manna, Exodus 16:2; twice about quails, Exodus 16:12; once by the calf, Exodus 32:1; and once in the wilderness of Paran, Numbers 14:1, which last and tenth was the present temptation." John Gill, Numbers , in John Gill's Expositor, in e-Sword, v 777 [CD-ROM] (Franklin, Tennessee: e-Sword, 2000-2005), comments on Numbers 14:22.

43] E. T. Espin and J. F. Thrupp, Numbers , in The Holy Bible According to the Authorized Version (A.D 1611), with an Explanation and Critical Commentary and a Revision of the Translation, by Bishops and Clergy of the Anglican Church, vol 1, part 1, ed. F. C. Cook (London: John Murray, 1871), 702.

Comments- We can see the same phrase "ten times" used as an idiom in several passages in the Scriptures:

Genesis 31:7, "And your father hath deceived me, and changed my wages ten times; but God suffered him not to hurt me."

Numbers 14:22, "Because all those men which have seen my glory, and my miracles, which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have tempted me now these ten times, and have not hearkened to my voice;"

Nehemiah 4:12, "And it came to pass, that when the Jews which dwelt by them came, they said unto us ten times, From all places whence ye shall return unto us they will be upon you."

The NAB translates this phrase in Genesis 31:7 as "time after time."

NAB, "yet your father cheated me and changed my wages time after time. God, however, did not let him do me any harm."

The number ten represents a counting system that is based on ten units. Thus, the number ten can be interpreted literally to represent the numerical system, or it can be given a figurative meaning to reflect the concept of multiple occurrences.

Illustration- Jesus told Peter that we are to forgive seventy seven times ( Matthew 18:22). In this passage, Jesus did not literally mean that we were to forgive only seventy seven times, but that we were to forgive as often as was necessary to forgive, which is many times.

Matthew 18:22, "Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven."

Illustration - When my son was seven years old, he was learning how to add and subtract numbers in the first grade. One day he ran up to his mother to convince her that he knew what he was doing. He said, "Mommy, I know how to do it. I've done it many times. I've done it ten times." Even without being conscience of it, he was using the number ten symbolically to represent the numerical system that he had recently learned (October 2012).

Nehemiah 4:20 In what place therefore ye hear the sound of the trumpet, resort ye thither unto us: our God shall fight for us.

Nehemiah 4:20Scripture Reference- Note:

2 Chronicles 20:15, "And he said, Hearken ye, all Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem, and thou king Jehoshaphat, Thus saith the LORD unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God"s."

 


Copyright Statement
These files are copyrighted by the author, Gary Everett. Used by Permission.
No distribution beyond personal use without permission.

Bibliography Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Nehemiah 4:4". Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ghe/nehemiah-4.html. 2013.

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Monday, May 20th, 2019
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