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Nehemiah: Overcoming opposition to rebuilding

Nehemiah and opposition to rebuilding Jerusalem's walls.
Contributed by Sweet Publishing
Story also available on our translated websites: Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, Romanian, Hindi, Simplified Chinese
Despite being mocked by their enemies, the builders set to work rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem. Each family or group repaired a section of the wall. – Slide 1
Eliashib the high priest and his fellow priests went to work and rebuilt the Sheep Gate. – Slide 2
Levites and priests joined in the work. People from the surrounding towns and villages joined in to help. – Slide 3
When Sanballat got news the rebuilding was making progress he was furious. In front of the army of Samaria he mocked them, ‘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?’ – Slide 4
Tobiah the Ammonite, standing next to him jeered, ‘What they are building—even a fox climbing up on it would break down their wall of stones!’ – Slide 5
The builders prayed and continued working until the walls were half their height. – Slide 6
When Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites and the people of Ashdod heard that the gaps in the walls were being closed, they angrily plotted to attack Jerusalem and cause trouble. – Slide 7
The Jews prayed to God and posted a guard day and night to meet this threat. – Slide 8
Nehemiah faced further problems. The builders started complaining they were exhausted and the task was too much for them. Others warned Nehemiah ten times that their enemies were planning to end the project. – Slide 9
Nehemiah stationed armed men with swords, spears and bows in the gaps in the walls. A trumpeter stood by Nehemiah ready to sound the alarm. ‘Don’t be afraid of them,’ Nehemiah urged, ‘Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and will fight for you all.’ – Slide 10
From that point on half the men did the work while the other half stood guard with swords, spears, bows and amour. Those who were building also carried weapons. – Slide 11
Work continued from dawn until sunset as Nehemiah reminded them, ‘Our God will fight for us!’ – Slide 12
Suddenly there was another problem. Some of the Jews who were poor, had borrowed from those who were rich to pay their taxes. The rich Jews then demanded repayment plus interest. Those who couldn’t pay had their lands taken away and their children made into slaves. There was uproar and many could not afford to buy grain. – Slide 13
Nehemiah was angry and called a meeting. He shamed the rich nobles and officials by saying, ‘You are charging your own people interest. Now you are selling your own people.’ At first the rich moneylenders kept quiet but then relented. ‘We will give it back,’ they said. ‘And we will not demand anything more from them. We will do as you say.’ – Slide 14
Nehemiah summoned the priests and made the nobles and officials take an oath to do what they had promised. Everyone at the meeting said, ‘Amen,’ and praised the Lord.  – Slide 15
Work continued until all the gaps in the wall had been filled. Only the gates now needed to be built and fitted. Sanballat and Geshem sent Nehemiah a message: ‘Meet us in one of the villages on the plain of Ono.’ – Slide 16
They were plotting to get Nehemiah away from Jerusalem so they could assassinate him. Nehemiah replied, ‘I am busy on a great project. Why should the work stop while I visit you?’  – Slide 17
They sent the same message another three times but each time Nehemiah refused to leave Jerusalem. Then they sent Nehemiah a letter accusing him of planning to rebel against the King of the Medes and Persians. ‘That is not true,’ Nehemiah replied, then prayed to God saying, ‘Now strengthen my hands.’ – Slide 18
But Tobiah and Sanballat had not given up and hired a man in Jerusalem called Shemaiah to discredit Nehemiah. He warned Nehemiah there was a plot to kill him that night but he had a plan to save him. He suggested Nehemiah hide in the temple that night and closed the doors behind him. Nobody would think of looking for him there as only the priests were allowed into the temple. – Slide 19
Nehemiah knew that it was wrong for him to enter the Temple. ‘Should I run away? Should I go into the temple to save my life? I will not go!’ he insisted.  – Slide 20
52 days after the rebuilding started the project was finished. – Slide 21
Those who had opposed the project were afraid, because they knew that this work had been done with the help of God. – Slide 22
Slide 23