Who was Gashmu, and why do we care what he said? He was a troublemaker who was determined to keep Nehemiah from rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem.
The work had progressed rapidly. Under Nehemiah's leadership, the people had worked together, and, in almost no time, the wall began to take shape. "So built we the wall; and all the wall was joined together unto the half thereof: for the people had a mind to work." (Nehemiah 4:6) "So the wall was finished in the twenty and fifth day of the month Elul, in fifty and two days." (Nehemiah 6:15) In just seven and one-half weeks, they had built a wall around their city.
Israel's enemies used everything at their disposal to stop the work. When threats, ridicule, and stall tactics had no effect, they resorted to pure gossip. "Then sent Sanballat his servant unto me in like manner the fifth time with an open letter in his hand; wherein was written, It is reported among the heathen, and Gashmu saith it, that thou and the Jews think to rebel: for which cause thou buildest the wall, that thou mayest be their king, according to these words. And thou hast also appointed prophets to preach of thee at Jerusalem, saying, There is a king in Judah: and now shall it be reported to the king according to these words. Come now therefore, and let us take counsel together." (Nehemiah 6:5-7) Sanballat accused Nehemiah of rebuilding Jerusalem so he could set himself up as king. Such treason against the king of Persia would have meant Nehemiah's death if proven. So, what "proof" did Sanballat have of this charge? Well, "Gashmu saith it." (Nehemiah 6:6) What further question could there be? But then, who was Gashmu, and what did he know about the situation?
This flagrant attempt to intimidate Nehemiah was pure gossip, without a word of truth in it. Nehemiah had no intentions of rebelling against the king. He just wanted to see his beloved Jerusalem rebuilt.
If Satan can just start enough false rumors, he can undermine any good work. Accuse someone of being "power-hungry," and others will turn on him. Appeal to the human tendency to jealousy, and people will bicker among themselves, and lose that "mind to work." (Nehemiah 4:6)
Sadly, those rumors are too often based on nothing more substantial than, "Gashmu saith it." No one seems to know for sure who Gashmu was. He is generally believed to be the same person known elsewhere in Nehemiah as "Geshom, the Arabian." But, even then, the source is highly suspect. Who was Geshom, the Arabian, and what did he know about it? Why should we care what he said?
Churches have split. Families have splintered. Friendships have ruptured. And all because of a rumor quoting some "Gashmu," that no one can quite identify. Heartache can often be avoided if we just quit listening to Gashmu. "Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth." (Proverbs 26:20)
Nehemiah simply denied the truthfulness of the rumor and went on with his work. "Then I sent unto him, saying, There are no such things done as thou sayest, but thou feignest them out of thine own heart." (Nehemiah 6:8) Gashmu usually does not know what he is talking about. Let us keep working for God and ignore what "Gashmu saith." -East High St. Church of Christ, 2863 East High St., Springfield, OH 45505. Ehighcoc@juno.com
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