“Consider how many are my foes!
With what violent hatred they hate me.
O guard my life!
Do not let me be put to shame!
I take refuge in you.
May integrity and uprightness preserve me!
I wait for you.”
Yahweh should protect the psalmist from his foes and enemies. They hate him violently. Yahweh should guard his life and rescue him so that he would not be put to shame. He took refuge in Yahweh as he hoped that his integrity and uprightness would preserve him. Meanwhile he waited on Yahweh.
You will protect us!
You will guard us from this generation forever.
On every side
The wicked prowl.
As vileness is exalted among humankind.”
Now there is a direct appeal to Yahweh. Yahweh will protect the faithful ones and guard them from this wicked generation. These wicked people prowl around as their vileness is exalted everywhere. So ends this short psalm with a confident cry to Yahweh.
“Then Bacchides returned to Jerusalem. He built strong cities in Judea. He built the fortress in Jericho, Emmaus, Beth-horon, Bethel, Timnath, Pharathon, and Tephon, with high walls, gates, and bars. He placed garrisons in them to harass Israel. He also fortified the city of Beth-zur, Gazara, and the citadel. He put troops and stores of food in them. He took the sons of the leading men of the land as hostages. He put them under guard in the citadel at Jerusalem.”
General Bacchides returned to Jerusalem. Then he built strong cities around Jerusalem with high walls and gates in Jericho, Emmaus, Beth-horon, Bethel, Timnath, Pharathon, and Tephon. He also put garrisons in them to harass and keep the Jewish guerrillas from attacking. He put troops and food storage in Beth-zur, Gazara, and the Jerusalem citadel. Then he took the sons of the leading men as hostages as he guarded them in Jerusalem.
“So we labored at the work. Half of them held the spears from the break of dawn until the stars came out. I also said to the people at that time. ‘Let every man and his servant pass the night inside Jerusalem. That way, there may be a guard for us by night so that we may labor by day.’ I, my brothers, my servants, and the men of the guard who followed me, never took off our clothes. Each one kept his weapon in his hand.”
There was a new plan. Half of the workers had spears all day. It must have been difficult to work with a sword. Nehemiah wanted everyone to spend the night in Jerusalem. That way, there would a guard for the night. Then in the daytime, they could do the labor work. No one ever took off their clothes. Everyone kept a weapon in their hand.
“When Sanballat and Tobiah as well as the Arabs, the Ammonites, and the Ashdodites heard that the repairing of the walls of Jerusalem was going forward, they were very angry. The gaps were beginning to be closed. They all plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem. They wanted to cause confusion there. So we prayed to our God. We set a guard as a protection against them day and night.”
Sanballat and Tobiah seemed to have gotten a number of different people to help them. They had the Arabs, the wandering people of the east, the Ammonites, from nearby, as well as the people from Ashdod. They were all angry about the fortifications around Jerusalem. They were all going to fight against Jerusalem. Somehow they wanted to cause confusion among the people of Jerusalem. Nehemiah said that they prayed to their God. However, they also set up a day and night guard to protect against potential invaders.