The non-Jews in Palestine during Nehemiah's time included Moabites, Ammonites, Arabians and Ashdodites. These groups once fought among themselves, but they united as a common foe against Israel after the Jews returned to Jerusalem from their exile.
Because of the impending danger of attack, each builder of the city wall labored "with one of his hands . . . and with the other hand held a weapon." (Neh. 4:17-18.)John A.Dickson's New Analytical Bible and Dictionary of the Bible states: "Jerusalem was badly exposed by the broken down and defenseless state into which she had degenerated. Her foes were malicious, wily and watchful. It was when they began to build that this enmity was greatly exercised.
"Satan is not greatly concerned about a dead or degenerate church. It is the Church on the walls of Zion with sword and trowel, set up for the upbuilding and defense of the kingdom of God that causes Satanic concern and stimulates active opposition. . . .
"The rearing of Zion in our own hearts is the believer's true defense. When he comes to realize that every attempt by a godless world will be made to break down his spiritual defenses, he will be careful to build more surely, leave no gaps, and, like Nehemiah, while building he will make his prayer unto God."
Articles on this page may be used in conjunction with the Gospel Doctrine course of study.
Information compiled by Gerry Avant
Sources: Dictionary of the Bible, published by Charles Scribner's Sons; John A. Dickson's New Analytical Bible and Dictionary of the Bible, and Land and Leaders of Israel, Ezra C. Dalby.
Correction: The Sept. 15 issue of Church News, featured Minerva Teichert's painting of Esther. The painting is owned by Betty Stokes, not the LDS Church as was indicated in the credit line. As a young woman, Sister Stokes posed for the painting of Esther, the Jewish maid who "was fair and beautiful" and who became wife of King Ahasuerus.