And he spake before his brethren,.... Tobiah the Ammonite, and Geshem the Arabian, and perhaps some other governors of the king of Persia in those parts:
and before the army of Samaria: which, and the inhabitants of it, were implacable enemies of the Jews:
and said, what do these feeble Jews? what do they pretend to do, or what can they do?
will they fortify themselves? by building a wall about their city; can they think they shall ever be able to do this, or that it will be allowed?
will they sacrifice? meaning not their daily sacrifice, as Jarchi, that they had done a long time, but for the dedication of their building, as Aben Ezra:
will they make an end in a day? they seem to be in as great a hurry and haste as if they meant it; and indeed, unless they can do it very quickly, they never will: they will soon be stopped:
will they revive the stones out of the heaps of the rubbish which are burnt? where will they find materials? do they imagine that they can make burnt stones firm and strong again, or harden the dust and rubbish into stones, or make that, which is as if dead, alive? to do this is the same as to revive a dead man, and they may as well think of doing the one as the other; burnt stones being reckoned as dead, as Eben Ezra observes.