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That’s the only explanation I can come up with. Apparently right after I preached last Sunday on the “Shovel and the Sword” passage in Nehemiah, Coach Harbaugh reviewed the same theme with the Ravens that Sunday night after their playoff clinching victory over the Raiders.

The Ravens have a new patch on their practice jerseys that is an homage to the Biblical story of Nehemiah.

Featuring the ubiquitous Ravens shield in the middle, a shovel and sword are crossed behind it in an “X” fashion.

The shovel and sword call to mind the building of a foundation, a story Ravens head coach John Harbaugh told earlier this year.

Nehemiah was a high official in the Persian court of King Artaxerxes I at the capital city of Susa in what is now modern Iran. Nehemiah served as the king’s cupbearer, but went as provincial governor of Judah to Jerusalem to lead in the repair of the city’s wall.

At the same time, he set up guards to defend against the threat of neighboring armies of Samaria, the Ammonites and the Ashdodites, hence the sword (building and battling) and the shovel (building and sacrificing). According to Nehemiah 4:14-19, the wall was rebuilt within 52 days and the men were not harmed by opposing forces. Harbaugh even brought out a real sword and shovel in the Ravens’ locker room after defeating the Oakland Raiders, 21-13, last week to earn a postseason spot.

Throughout the season, the Ravens aspired to be ready to fight, but also constantly fortified and supported themselves.

The Ravens previously had a patch of a flexed biceps holding a hammer on their practice jerseys, signifying full participation in the offseason conditioning program.