In chapter 4 Nehemiah encountered external opposition to his leadership over repairing the walls of Jerusalem. He then saw another obstacle when his own people halted the work due to social injustice in chapter 5.Like a bad rash, Sanballat, Tobiah, and their coconspirators are back in Chapter 6, presenting additional complications! This time around they do not attack Nehemiah directly, but scheme a plot to get rid of him altogether.
If you see parallels, fear not, you are not seeing double. The pattern of the book of Nehemiah follows a Hebrew chiasm (like an arch, or mountain). Chapter 4 is linked with chapter 6 about opposition. Later on, we will see chapter 3 linking with chapter 7 on organization; chapter 2 with chapter 8 on revival; and chapter 1 with chapter 9 on prayer. This leads up to the apex of the mountain, which tends to be the climax, or the most important focus of the narrative. In this case, the apex was last week’s lesson on chapter 5. Ultimately, who does chapter 6 allude to? This week, we go down the mountain and retrace the themes that we saw on the way up.
Read This Week’s Passage: Nehemiah 6:1–9