Verse 1 – Sanballat was governor of Samaria, the region just north of Juda where Jerusalem was located. Sanballat may have hoped to become governor of Judea but Nehemiah showed up and spoiled his plans. Jealousy was the root of this intimidation from him.
Verses 1, 2 – The Jews and the Samaritans hated each other and here’s why: Almost 300 years before Nehemiah’s time, Israel (northern kingdom) was conquered. When most of the people were taken into captivity, there remained a remnant in Israel. Sargon of Assyria repopulated Israel with captivities from other lands. They began to intermarry and became known as Samaritans. The Jews who returned with Ezra and Nehemiah would have nothing to do with them because they considered them racially impure. Even 400 years later they still hated each other (John 4:9).
Verses 1-5 – Ridicule of another can cause discouragement and despair. When we are mocked or ridiculed for doing what is right, refuse to respond. Pray and continue your work.
Verse 6 – The work continued because the workers set their hearts and mind in one accord, they persevered in the work. Working to accomplish what God has assigned us to do will be well worth the reward. We show God that we are serious when we combine prayer with thought, preparation, and effort.
Verses 10-14 – The only way we can accomplish impossible tasks is to focus on the project at hand . Nehemiah reminded the people of their calling and their goal; and God’s promise to protect them.
Verse 16 – The workers were spread out over the walls so that, some worked while others stood guard. If you are a Christian, you need to stay around other Christians because we need one another to get the job done. God didn’t design us to be “lone rangers!”