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Nehemiah 4:16 [study!]

American Standard Version (ASV 1901) [2]
— And it came to pass from that time forth, that half of my servants wrought in the work, and half of them held the spears, the shields, and the bows, and the coats of mail; and the rulers were behind all the house of Judah.
King James Version (KJV 1769)
— And it came to pass from that time forth, [that] the half of my servants wrought in the work, and the other half of them held both the spears, the shields, and the bows, and the habergeons; and the rulers [were] behind all the house of Judah.
New American Standard Bible (NASB ©1995)
— From that day on, half of my servants carried on the work while half of them held the spears, the shields, the bows and the breastplates; and the captains [were] behind the whole house of Judah.
Webster's Revision of the KJB (WEB 1833)
— And it came to pass, from that time forth, [that] the half of my servants wrought in the work, and the other half of them held both the spears, the shields, and the bows, and the habergeons; and the rulers [were] behind all the house of Judah.
Darby's Translation (DBY 1890)
— And from that time forth the half of my servants wrought in the work, and the other half of them held the spears, and the shields, and the bows, and the corslets; and the captains were behind all the house of Judah.
Rotherham's Emphasized Bible (EBR 1902)
— And it came to pass, from that day, the half of my young men, were working in the work, and, the half of them, were grasping the spears, the bucklers, and the bows, and the coats of mail,—but, the rulers, were behind all the house of Judah.
Young's Literal Translation (YLT 1898)
— yea, it cometh to pass, from that day, half of my servants are working in the business, and half of them are keeping hold of both the spears, the shields, and the bows, and the coats of mail; and the heads [are] behind all the house of Judah.
Douay-Rheims Challoner Revision (DR 1750)
— And it came to pass from that day forward, that half of their young men did the work, and half were ready for to fight, with spears, and shields, and bows, and coats of mail, and the rulers were behind them in all the house of Juda.
Original King James Bible (AV 1611) [2]
— And it came to passe from that time forth, that the halfe of my seruants wrought in the worke, and the other halfe of them held both the speares, the shields and the bowes, and the habergeons, and the rulers [were] behind all the house of Iudah.
Brenton Greek Septuagint (LXX, Restored Names)
— And it came to pass from that day [that] half of them that had been driven forth, wrought the work, and half of them kept guard; and [there were] spears, and shields, and bows, and breast-plates, and rulers behind the whole house of Judah{gr.Juda},
Full Hebrew Names / Holy Name KJV (2008) [2] [3]
— And it came to pass from that time forth, [that] the half of my servants wrought in the work, and the other half of them held both the spears, the shields, and the bows, and the habergeons; and the rulers [were] behind all the house of Yehudah.

Strong's Numbers & Hebrew NamesHebrew Old TestamentColor-Code/Key Word Studies
And it came to pass x1961
(1961) Complement
הָיָה
hayah
{haw-yaw'}
A primitive root (compare H1933); to exist, that is, be or become, come to pass (always emphatic, and not a mere copula or auxiliary).
from x4480
(4480) Complement
מִן
min
{min}
For H4482; properly a part of; hence (prepositionally), from or out of in many senses.
that x1931
(1931) Complement
הוּא
huw'
{hoo}
The second form is the feminine beyond the Pentateuch; a primitive word, the third person pronoun singular, he (she or it); only expressed when emphatic or without a verb; also (intensively) self, or (especially with the article) the same; sometimes (as demonstrative) this or that; occasionally (instead of copula) as or are.
time 3117
{3117} Prime
יוֹם
yowm
{yome}
From an unused root meaning to be hot; a day (as the warm hours), whether literally (from sunrise to sunset, or from one sunset to the next), or figuratively (a space of time defined by an associated term), (often used adverbially).
forth, [that] the half 2677
{2677} Prime
חֲצִי
chetsiy
{khay-tsee'}
From H2673; the half or middle.
of my servants 5288
{5288} Prime
נַעַר
na`ar
{nah'-ar}
From H5287; (concretely) a boy (as active), from the age of infancy to adolescence; by implication a servant; also (by interchange of sex), a girl (of similar latitude in age).
wrought 6213
{6213} Prime
עָשָׂה
`asah
{aw-saw'}
A primitive root; to do or make, in the broadest sense and widest application.
z8802
<8802> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Participle Active (See H8814)
Count - 5386
in the work, 4399
{4399} Prime
מְלָאכָה
m@la'kah
{mel-aw-kaw'}
From the same as H4397; properly deputyship, that is, ministry; generally employment (never servile) or work (abstractly or concretely); also property (as the result of labor).
and the other half 2677
{2677} Prime
חֲצִי
chetsiy
{khay-tsee'}
From H2673; the half or middle.
of them held 2388
{2388} Prime
חָזַק
chazaq
{khaw-zak'}
A primitive root; to fasten upon; hence to seize, be strong (figuratively courageous, causatively strengthen, cure, help, repair, fortify), obstinate; to bind, restrain, conquer.
z8688
<8688> Grammar
Stem - Hiphil (See H8818)
Mood - Participle (See H8813)
Count - 857
both the spears, 7420
{7420} Prime
רֹמַח
romach
{ro'-makh}
From an unused root meaning to hurl; a lance (as thrown); especially the iron point.
the shields, 4043
{4043} Prime
מָגֵן
magen
{maw-gane'}
From H1598; a shield (that is, the small one or buckler); figuratively a protector; also the scaly hide of the crocodile.
and the bows, 7198
{7198} Prime
קֶשֶׁת
qesheth
{keh'-sheth}
From H7185 in the original sense (of H6983) of bending; a bow, for shooting (hence figuratively strength) or the iris.
and the habergeons; 8302
{8302} Prime
שִׁרְיוֹן
shiryown
{shir-yone'}
From H8281 in the original sense of turning; a corslet (as if twisted).
and the rulers 8269
{8269} Prime
שַׂר
sar
{sar}
From H8323; a head person (of any rank or class).
[were] behind 310
{0310} Prime
אַחַר
'achar
{akh-ar'}
From H0309; properly the hind part; generally used as an adverb or conjugation, after (in various senses).
all x3605
(3605) Complement
כֹּל
kol
{kole}
From H3634; properly the whole; hence all, any or every (in the singular only, but often in a plural sense).
the house 1004
{1004} Prime
בַּיִת
bayith
{bah'-yith}
Probably from H1129 abbreviated; a house (in the greatest variation of applications, especially family, etc.).
of Yh יְהוּדָה. 3063
{3063} Prime
יְהוּדָה
Y@huwdah
{yeh-hoo-daw'}
From H3034; celebrated; Jehudah (or Judah), the name of five Israelites; also of the tribe descended from the first, and of its territory.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary

See commentary on Nehemiah 4:7-21.

Matthew Henry's Commentary

Nehemiah 4:16-23

_ _ When the builders had so far reason to think the design of the enemies broken as to return to their work, yet they were not so secure as to lay down their arms, knowing how restless and unwearied they were in their attempts, and that, if one design failed, they would be hatching another. Thus must we watch always against our spiritual enemies, and not expect that our warfare will be accomplished till our work is. See what course Nehemiah took, that the people might hold themselves in a readiness, in case there should be an attack. 1. While one half were at work, the other half were under their arms, holding spears, and shields, and bows, not only for themselves but for the labourers too, who would immediately quit their work, and betake themselves to their weapons, upon the first alarm, Nehemiah 4:16. It is probable that they changed services at stated hours, which would relieve the fatigue of both, and particularly would be an ease to the bearers of burdens, whose strength had decayed (Nehemiah 4:10); while they held the weapons, they were eased and yet not idle. Thus dividing their time between the trowels and the spears, they are said to work with one hand and hold their weapons with the other (Nehemiah 4:17), which cannot be understood literally, for the work would require both hands; but it intimates that they were equally employed in both. Thus must we work out our salvation with the weapons of our warfare in our hand; for in every duty we must expect to meet with opposition from our spiritual enemies, against whom we must still be fighting the good fight of faith. 2. Every builder had a sword by his side (Nehemiah 4:18), which he could carry without hindering his labour. The word of God is the sword of the Spirit, which we ought to have always at hand and never to seek, both in our labours and in our conflicts as Christians. 3. Care was taken both to get and give early notice of the approach of the enemy, in case they should endeavour to surprise them. Nehemiah kept a trumpeter always by him to sound an alarm, upon the first intimation of danger. The work was large, and the builders were dispersed; for in all parts of the wall they were labouring at the same time. Nehemiah continually walked round to oversee the work and encourage the workmen, and so would have speedy intelligence if the enemy made an attack, of which, by sound of trumpet, he would soon give notice to all, and they must immediately repair to him with a full assurance that their God would fight for them, Nehemiah 4:18-20. When they acted as workmen, it was requisite they should be dispersed wherever there was work to do; but when as soldiers it was requisite they should come into close order, and be found in a body. Thus should the labourers in Christ's building be ready to unite against a common foe. 4. The inhabitants of the villages were ordered to lodge within Jerusalem, with their servants, not only that they might be the nearer to their work in the morning, but that they might be ready to help in case of an attack in the night, Nehemiah 4:22. The strength of a city lies more in its hands than in its walls; secure them, and God's blessing upon them, and be secure. 5. Nehemiah himself, and all his men, kept closely to their business. The spears were held up, with the sight of them to terrify the enemy, not only from sun to sun, but from twilight to twilight every day, Nehemiah 4:21. Thus ought we to be always upon our guard against our spiritual enemies, not only (as here) while it is light, but when it is dark, for they are the rulers of the darkness of this world. Nay, so very intent was Nehemiah upon his work, and so fast did he hold his servants to it, that while the heat of the business lasted neither he himself nor his attendants went into bed, but every night lay and slept in their clothes (Nehemiah 4:23), except that they shifted them now and then, either for cleanliness or in a case of ceremonial pollution. It was a sign that their heart was upon their work when they could not find time to dress and undress, but resolved they would be at all times ready for service. Good work is likely to go on successfully when those that labour in it thus make a business of it.

John Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Nehemiah 4:16

From that time forth — Lest our enemies should repeat their enterprize. My servants — Of my domestick servants, and of my guards. Held, &c. — All their weapons: they stood in their arms prepared for battle. Were behind — To encourage them in their work, sometimes to assist with their own hands: and to direct and command them in case of an assault. Judah — The Jews who were upon the wall.

Geneva Bible Translation Notes

Nehemiah 4:16

And it came to pass from that time forth, [that] the half of my servants wrought in the work, and the other half of them held both the spears, the shields, and the bows, and the habergeons; and the rulers [were] (i) behind all the house of Judah.

(i) To overcome them and encourage them in their work.

Cross-Reference Topical ResearchStrong's Concordance
my servants:

Nehemiah 4:23 So neither I, nor my brethren, nor my servants, nor the men of the guard which followed me, none of us put off our clothes, [saving that] every one put them off for washing.
Nehemiah 5:15-16 But the former governors that [had been] before me were chargeable unto the people, and had taken of them bread and wine, beside forty shekels of silver; yea, even their servants bare rule over the people: but so did not I, because of the fear of God. ... Yea, also I continued in the work of this wall, neither bought we any land: and all my servants [were] gathered thither unto the work.
Psalms 101:6 Mine eyes [shall be] upon the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with me: he that walketh in a perfect way, he shall serve me.

and the other half:
This is no unusual thing in Palestine, even at the present day; people sowing their seed are often attended by armed men, to prevent the Arabs from robbing them of it.

habergeons:
Habergeon, from the Teutonic hals, the neck, and bergen, to cover, defend, may be considered as signifying a breast-plate, though the Franco-Gallic hautbergon signifies a coat of mail; the original shiryon, we have already seen, denotes a corslet.
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Ne 4:23; 5:15. Ps 101:6.

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