Then Sanballat sent one of his servants to me with a fifth message, this one in the form of an unsealed letter. It read: “Geshem tells me that a rumour is going round among the neighbouring peoples that you and the Jewish people intend to revolt and that this is why you are rebuilding the wall. He also says you plan to make yourself king and that you have arranged for some prophets to proclaim in Jerusalem that you are the king of Judah. His Majesty is certain to hear about this, so I suggest that you and I meet to talk the situation over.” I sent a reply to him: “Nothing of what you are saying is true. You have made it all up yourself.”” (Nehemiah 6:5–8, GNB)

The simplicity of the Good News Bible really sparkles here in the exchange between Sanballat and Nehemiah.  Sanballat concocts a litany of claims all purporting to prove that Nehemiah will make himself “the king of Judah.”  Nehemiah is having none of it:  “You made it all up yourself.”

The opposition to Nehemiah was real and it was deadly.  Not only did he need to be concerned about possible attacks on Jerusalem, but Sanballat and his cronies would send other people to spread the word that assassins were coming to kill Nehemiah, causing further consternation.  Nehemiah lists the purpose in their actions:

They were trying to frighten us into stopping work. I prayed, “But now, God, make me strong!”” (Nehemiah 6:9, GNB)

Nehemiah turns to God to preserve him and to make him work and to keep the work going.  God honors this prayer.  The work continues and the people eventually finish the walls, despite the nasty opposition.

The lesson here would be the necessity to trust in a reliable God.  Nehemiah knew God in a fresh and deeper way due to his experience under danger of death at any moment.

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