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Nehemia 4:11-16


4:11 Our adversaries also boasted, 1  “Before they are aware or anticipate 2  anything, we will come in among them and kill them, and we will bring this work to a halt!”

4:12 So it happened that the Jews who were living near them came and warned us repeatedly 3  about all the schemes 4  they were plotting 5  against us.

4:13 So I stationed people at the lower places behind the wall in the exposed places. 6  I stationed the people by families, with their swords, spears, and bows. 4:14 When I had made an inspection, 7  I stood up and said to the nobles, the officials, and the rest of the people, “Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the great and awesome Lord, 8  and fight on behalf of your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your families!” 9 

4:15 It so happened that when our adversaries heard that we were aware of these matters, 10  God frustrated their intentions. Then all of us returned to the wall, each to his own work. 4:16 From that day forward, half of my men were doing the work and half of them were taking up spears, 11  shields, bows, and body armor. Now the officers were behind all the people 12  of Judah

Nehemia 4:22-23

4:22 At that time I instructed 13  the people, “Let every man and his coworker spend the night in Jerusalem and let them be guards for us by night and workers by day. 4:23 We did not change clothes 14  – not I, nor my relatives, nor my workers, nor the watchmen who were with me. Each had his weapon, even when getting a drink of water. 15 

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[4:11]  1 tn Heb “said.”

[4:11]  2 tn Heb “see.”

[4:12]  3 tn Heb “ten times.”

[4:12]  4 tc The MT reads the anomalous מִכָּל־הַמְּקֹמוֹת (mikkol hammÿqomot, “from every place”) but the BHS editors propose כָּל־הַמְּזִמּוֹת (kol hammÿzimmot, “about every scheme”). The initial mem (מ) found in the MT may have been added accidentally due to dittography with the final mem (ם) on the immediately preceding word, and the MT qof (ק) may have arisen due to orthographic confusion with the similar looking zayin (ז). The emendation restores sense to the line in the MT, which makes little sense and features an abrupt change of referents: “Wherever you turn, they will be upon us!” The threat was not against the villagers living nearby but against those repairing the wall, as the following context indicates. See also the following note on the word “plotting.”

[4:12]  5 tc The MT reads תָּשׁוּבוּ (tashuvu, “you turn”) which is awkward contextually. The BHS editors propose emending to חָשְׁבוּ (hashÿvu, “they were plotting”) which harmonizes well with the context. This emendation involves mere orthographic confusion between similar looking ח (khet) and ת (tav), and the resultant dittography of middle vav (ו) in MT. See also the preceding note on the word “schemes.”

[4:13]  6 tc The MT preserves the anomalous Kethib form צְחִחִיִּים (tsÿkhikhiyyim); the Qere reads צְחִיחִים (tsÿkhikhim) which is preferred (BDB 850 s.v. צָהִיחַ; HALOT 1018 s.v. *צָהִיחַ).

[4:13]  tn The meaning of the Hebrew term צְחִיחִים (tsÿkhikhim) here is uncertain. Elsewhere (Ezek 24:7, 8; 26:4, 14) it refers to a shining or glaring surface of a rock (BDB 850 s.v. צָהִיחַ; HALOT 1018 s.v. *צָהִיחַ), but here it refers to an exposed or vulnerable portion of the wall: “open positions of the wall” (HALOT 1018 s.v. 2).

[4:14]  7 tn Heb “And I saw.”

[4:14]  8 tn The Hebrew term translated “Lord” here is אֲדֹנָי (’adonay).

[4:14]  9 tn Heb “houses.”

[4:15]  10 tn Heb “it was known to us.”

[4:16]  11 tc The MT reads “and spears.” The conjunction should be deleted.

[4:16]  12 tn Heb “all the house.”

[4:22]  13 tn Heb “said [to].”

[4:23]  14 tn Heb “strip off our garments.”

[4:23]  15 tc Heb “a man, his weapon, the waters.” The MT, if in fact it is correct, is elliptical and difficult. Some scholars emend the MT reading הַמָּיִם (hammayim, “the waters”) to בִּמִנוֹ (bimino, “in his right hand”; cf. NAB, NRSV) or מִינוּ(י)הֵ (heminu, “they held on the right side”).

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