Questions for Reflection
1. Read Nehemiah 2:9-20. What do you think the purpose of sending the officers of the army and horsemen with Nehemiah was? What would their presence mean to the governors of the province Beyond the River?
2. Why were Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite displeased to discover that Nehemiah and his party were seeking the welfare of the people of Israel? To help you answer this question, read 2 Samuel 10:1-11 to learn more about Israel’s past relationship with the Ammonites. Do people in power usually want to decrease their power and influence? Why? What sort of threat would Nehemiah and the welfare of the Israelites be to these men?
3. Why did Nehemiah sneak out at night to inspect Jerusalem, and with only a few men? What was he seeking to learn? What did he learn?
4. Why did Nehemiah withhold his purpose about his investigation from the Jews, priests, nobles, officials, and the rest who were to do the work? Do you think this was a wise plan on his part?
5. What report did Nehemiah give the people when he addressed them in 2:17? What was the plan he announced to them at the end of 2:17?
6. He also gave them some motivation for this plan. What were his motives (2:17-18)? Why did Nehemiah say they had been suffering derision? He also said he had the approval to two significant people. Who were they? What effect would telling the people of that approval have on them?
7. How did Sanballat, Tobiah, and Geshem respond to hearing of this rebuilding project? Why were they upset? What did they ask Nehemiah at the end of verse 19? They knew he wasn’t doing what they accused him of because of all the officers and soldiers who came with Nehemiah. So why do you think they raised that accusation against him?
8. How did Nehemiah respond to them? He seemed to know their real motivation for being upset with the rebuilding of Jerusalem. What was that motivation?
Have you ever tried to hold onto a position or authority from a less-than-pure motivation? What were your reasons for doing so? Or, perhaps you have been a perceived threat to someone else’s position and/or authority. How did they respond to you? How did you respond to them? Were you able to deal with them in a godly manner? Dealing with interpersonal conflicts is an important skill to acquire for many different relationships we have in our lives. What are three principles you can learn from Nehemiah’s experience with these three men? Talk with one other person about what you learned from this lesson.
Grace and Truth,