Nehemiah 4

Insults Turned Back

1  When Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, he became angry and was greatly incensed. He ridiculed the Jews,
2  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?"
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!"
4  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.
5  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.
6  So we rebuilt the wall till all of it reached half its height, for the people worked with all their heart.

Plots Defeated

7  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.
8  They all plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem and stir up trouble against it.
9  But we prayed to our God and posted a guard day and night to meet this threat.
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."
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."
12  Then the Jews who lived near them came and told us ten times over, "Wherever you turn, they will attack us."
13  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.
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."
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.


16  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
17  who were building the wall. Those who carried materials did their work with one hand and held a weapon in the other,
18  and each of the builders wore his sword at his side as he worked. But the man who sounded the trumpet stayed with me.
19  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.
20  Wherever you hear the sound of the trumpet, join us there. Our God will fight for us!"
21  So we continued the work with half the men holding spears, from the first light of dawn till the stars came out.
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."
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.



1. Contempt for others can lead to plotting against them. When one's predictions or expectations about a person or group don't come to pass, one's pride may lead one to take action to force those expectations to come to pass.

2. Always be alert and prepared to be attacked.


Public ridicule "He ridiculed the Jews, and in the presence of his associates and the army of Samaria"
Insulting one's ability "feeble Jews"?
Trying to discourage by the overwhelming nature of the task.
Discouraging by criticizing the quality of available resources.
Criticizing the quality of one's workmanship.


Psalms 69:9  for zeal for your house consumes me, and the insults of those who insult you fall on me.

Ps 22:7,8  All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads: "He trusts in the LORD; let the LORD rescue him. Let him deliver him, since he delights in him."

Proverbs 12:16  A fool shows his annoyance at once, but a prudent man overlooks an insult.

Examples of cursing your enemy

Jer 18:23  But you know, O LORD, all their plots to kill me. Do not forgive their crimes or blot out their sins from your sight. Let them be overthrown before you; deal with them in the time of your anger.

Lam 3:
61  O LORD, you have heard their insults, all their plots against me—
62  what my enemies whisper and mutter against me all day long.
63  Look at them! Sitting or standing, they mock me in their songs.
64  Pay them back what they deserve, O LORD, for what their hands have done.
65  Put a veil over their hearts, and may your curse be on them!
66  Pursue them in anger and destroy them from under the heavens of the LORD.

Zeph 2:
9  Therefore, as surely as I live," declares the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, "surely Moab will become like Sodom, the Ammonites like Gomorrah— a place of weeds and salt pits, a wasteland forever. The remnant of my people will plunder them; the survivors of my nation will inherit their land."
10  This is what they will get in return for their pride, for insulting and mocking the people of the LORD Almighty.

Ps 3:7  Arise, O LORD! Deliver me, O my God! Strike all my enemies on the jaw; break the teeth of the wicked.

Examples of blessing your enemy

Acts 7:60  Then he fell on his knees and cried out, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them." When he had said this, he fell asleep.

Matt 5:
43  "You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’
44  But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
45  that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

Romans 12:14  Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.

Isaiah 53:
3  He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
4  Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted.
5  But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.
6  We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.



What kinds of insults or contempt have you been subjected to as a result of you're following Jesus Christ.?
Should Christians pray curses upon their enemies and to what degree should Christians tolerate insults?
How might being subjected to persecution actually be beneficial to the Lord's work?
(weeds out half-hearted, develops and reveals - communicates - one's conviction, for men it brings a sense of competition and comradery to the work just as in group sports - without challenge men are less motivated)

Plots Defeated

Describe the process by which contempt for others may lead to taking against them.
Tell joke related to praying and posting a guard - boat and helicopter.
Proverbs 21:31  The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but victory rests with the LORD.
Other extreme - not praying
2 Chronicles 16:12  "In the thirty-ninth year of his reign Asa was afflicted with a disease in his feet. Though his disease was severe, even in his illness he did not seek help from the LORD, but only from the physicians."

If an enemy actually intended to attack would it have been wise for them to send out a warning that they would attack? If they were seriously intent on attacking they probably wouldn't have sent out such a warning. Satan and his children throw around lots of threats, but actually they are cowardly. They hope to accomplish in word what they are afraid to do in deed. But the righteous are bold and courageous. Your true convictions are not revealed merely by word, but by deeds.


Eph 6:11  Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.

Eph 6:13  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.

1Th 5:
5  You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness.
6  So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled.
7  For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night.
8  But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.

Matthew 26:41  "Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak

1Pet 5:
8  Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
9  Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

1 Corinthians 16:13  Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong.

The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources Jul 29,2015