“Who were rebuilding the wall. The basket-carriers were burdened, doing work with one hand while the other held a weapon” NEHEMIAH 4:11 (The Israel Bible™)
Throughout the Tanakh, God does wonders and miracles to save the Jewish people. Although perhaps one would think that a nation under Hashem’s direct protection should not need arms to defend itself, it is His will that people conduct themselves in a natural manner. Only when necessary will Hashem intervene with open miracles. This verse describes how in Nechemya’s time, those rebuilding the walls of Yerushalayim would work with one hand while holding weapons of self-defense in the other. Though they rely on their own strength for protection, they remember that the Lord is the source of their might and their success. As described earlier in verse 3, first they “prayed to our God,” and then they “set up a watch” against their enemies. Today, the soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces are the ones protecting the Nation of Israel. At IDF swearing-in ceremonies, each soldier is given a Tanakh to hold in one hand, and a gun in the other. In this way, Israeli soldiers are the spiritual descendants of Nechemya’s work force who are reminded that it is not their strength alone that protects the nation, but Hashem above.