A hundred and twenty thousand - It is very probable that there is a mistake in this number. It is hardly possible that a hundred and twenty thousand men could have been slain in one day; yet all the versions and MSS. agree in this number. The whole people seem to have been given up into the hands of their enemies.
The fearful loss here described may have been due to a complete defeat followed by panic.
At length the people presented their condition before Nehemiah. “Lo,” they said, “we bring into bondage our sons and our daughters to be servants, and some of our daughters are brought into bondage already: neither is it in our power to redeem them; for other men have our lands and vineyards.” PK 648.1
As Nehemiah heard of this cruel oppression, his soul was filled with indignation. “I was very angry,” he says, “when I heard their cry and these words.” He saw that if he succeeded in breaking up the oppressive custom of exaction he must take a decided stand for justice. With characteristic energy and determination he went to work to bring relief to his brethren. PK 648.2
The fact that the oppressors were men of wealth, whose support was greatly needed in the work of restoring the city, did not for a moment influence Nehemiah. He sharply rebuked the nobles and rulers, and when he had gathered a great assembly of the people he set before them the requirements of God touching the case. PK 648.3Read in context »