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Oppression from within

Rev. Tetteh Annor-Larbi | November 18, 2023 | Nehemiah 5:1-8


And there was a great outcry of the people and their wives against their Jewish brethren. Nehemiah 5:1 (NKJV)

MESSAGE: We have seen in chapter 4 of the book of Nehemiah, how the Jews had to defend the wall from enemies from without. They worked with one hand while the other hand held spears, swords, and shields all to defend the wall against some enemies who did not want the work to progress.

As much as it was very expedient to ward off and deal with the enemies that attacked from outside the walls, there was a much more fearsome enemy that Nehemiah had to deal with -The Oppression from within. This came from fellow Jews who had enslaved some of their brethren and were lending monies to their fellows and charging so much interest to enslave them. They were trading those who could not pay as slaves among themselves.

This reveals how wicked the heart of man indeed is, that brethren who have all come out of slavery, would sell their fellows back into slavery because of an upper hand. It is said that the enemies from without will always partner with an enemy from within. And it is also said that the enemy from within is much more dangerous than the enemy from without.

Oppression was coming from fellow Jews at this time, and no longer from only outside. Nehemiah had to quickly and promptly deal with it to keep the Jews united for the work of rebuilding the wall to continue. The outcry which indicated that all was not well in the camp and had the tendency to break their front had to be dealt with immediately.

Even though we all as believers, are fighting against a common enemy (the devil), there may be some people who are also fighting their fellow brethren from within, or maybe even oppressing them in one way or the other.


Sometimes when the enemy from outside fails, or when we deal with the oppression from outside, the only other way to infiltrate our united front is to stir up oppression from within. We must promptly deal with our differences and seek equity among our ranks, for the work of God to continue.


Dear Lord, thank you for the unity forming among your labourers in the field of souls. Please help us to keep a united front to achieve your purpose of reconciling lost humanity to yourself. For your dear name’s sake. Amen.




DAILY word study: OUTCRY

The Hebrew word used for "outcry" is "תְּרוּעָה" (teruah). While it commonly denotes a loud noise or shout, its usage in this context reflects a collective cry of anguish and distress. This term goes beyond mere volume; it embodies the depth of human suffering and desperation.

In the context of the passage, the word is used to denote :

  • Social Distress: The term is employed here to express the collective distress of the people. It signifies not just a casual complaint but a profound outcry against the injustices within the community.

  • Humanitarian Urgency: Nehemiah's account demonstrates that this outcry was not ignored. It prompted immediate attention, emphasizing the urgency of addressing social issues with the same fervour as physical ones.

In the hustle of construction, Nehemiah and the people were confronted with the crumbling state of their social fabric. The outcry serves as a poignant reminder that the pursuit of grand endeavours should not overshadow the cries of the distressed. Nehemiah's response teaches us that effective leadership involves addressing the immediate needs of the community, not just the physical infrastructure.


In our pursuits and endeavours, are we attuned to the outcries around us? Do we recognize the urgency of addressing social and humanitarian needs alongside our grand visions and goals?

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