When the Israelites were building the wall of Jerusalem again, did they have to wear their swords and build the wall at the same time?
Nehemiah returned to Jerusalem purely for the job of becoming the governor who rebuilt the wall of Jerusalem, along with the temple. Restoration is one of the key themes of Nehemiah. No matter what people’s day jobs were, everyone was involved in repairing the wall.
But there was opposition from outsiders to rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem. They didn’t want the Israelites to be safe again. So they attacked the builders of the wall from time to time. This made the Israelites have to defend the wall while rebuilding it.
Nehemiah tells us that half of the builders worked on the wall while the other half had weapons at the ready (Nehemiah 4:16). People carrying tools and supplies arranged their loads so that they could carry in one hand these supplies for the wall and in the other hand have their swords at the ready (Nehemiah 4:17). The builders on the wall had their swords strapped to their sides (Nehemiah 4:18).
The groups of people were separated and spread out along the wall. Anytime they heard the trumpet to fight, they would stop building and assist whenever builders were being attacked (Nehemiah 4:19-20).
They had to be vigilant and defend the wall while they were building the wall that would defend the city. They never knew when their enemies from outside would attack their brothers building the wall. But until the wall was complete, they had to defend themselves and the wall.