Notes on the Bible, by Albert Barnes, , at sacred-texts.com
The parenthetical prayers of Nehemiah form one of the most striking characteristics of his history. Here we have the first. Other examples are Neh 5:19; Neh 6:9, Neh 6:14; Neh 13:14, Neh 13:22, Neh 13:29, Neh 13:31.
Unto the half thereof - i. e. to half the intended height.
The Arabians ... - Probably a band, composed largely of Arabians, Ammonites, and Ashdodites, which Sanballat maintained as a guard to his person, and which formed a portion of "the army of Samaria" Neh 4:2. A quarrel between such a band and the people of Jerusalem might be overlooked by the Persian king.
Because of them - Or, "over against them," i. e. opposite to the place where they were encamped, probably on the north side of the city.
Ten times - i. e. repeatedly.
From all places ... - Better as in the margin. The Jews who dwelt on the Samaritan border, came to Jerusalem and tried to withdraw their contingents of workmen from the work, representing to them the impending danger, and saying, "You must return to your homes, and so escape it."
The lower places - The places where those within the walls had the least advantage of elevation, the naturally weak places, where an enemy was likely to make his attack.
Habergeons - Or, "coats of mail." Coats of mail were common in Assyria from the ninth century B.C., and in Egypt even earlier. They were made of thin laminae of bronze or iron, sewn upon leather or linen, and overlapping one another.
Let every one ... lodge within Jerusalem - i. e. Let none return to his own village or city at night, but let all take their rest in Jerusalem."
Saving ... - The text here is probably unsound. It yields no satisfactory sense. See the margin.