1 When Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem the Arab, and the rest of our enemies heard that I had rebuilt the wall and not a gap was left—though to that time I had not yet installed the doors in the gates— 2 Sanballat and Geshem sent me this message: “Come, let us meet together in one of the villages a on the plain b of Ono.”
But they were planning to harm me.
3 So I sent messengers to them, saying, “I am doing a great work and cannot come down. Why should the work stop while I leave it to go down to you?”
4 Four times they sent me the same message, and each time I gave the same reply.
“It is reported among the nations—and Geshem c agrees—that you and the Jews are plotting to revolt, and this is why you are building the wall. According to these reports, you are to become their king, 7 and you have even appointed prophets in Jerusalem to proclaim on your behalf: ‘There is a king in Judah.’ Soon these rumors will reach the ears of the king. So come, let us confer together.”
8 Then I sent him this reply: “There is nothing to these rumors you are spreading; you are inventing them in your own mind.”
9 For they were all trying to frighten us, saying, “Their hands will be weakened in the work, and it will never be finished.”
But now, my God, d strengthen my hands.
10 Later, I went to the house of Shemaiah son of Delaiah, the son of Mehetabel, who was confined to his house. He said:
“Let us meet at the house of God
inside the temple.
Let us shut the temple doors
because they are coming to kill you—
by night they are coming to kill you!”
11 But I replied, “Should a man like me run away? Should one like me go into the temple to save his own life? I will not go!”
12 I realized that God had not sent him, but that he had uttered this prophecy against me because Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him. 13 He had been hired to intimidate me so that I would sin by doing as he suggested, so they could give me a bad name in order to discredit me.
14 O my God, remember Tobiah and Sanballat for what they have done, and also Noadiah the prophetess and the other prophets who tried to intimidate me.
Completion of the Wall
15 So the wall was completed in fifty-two days, on the twenty-fifth of Elul. e 16 When all our enemies heard about this, all the surrounding nations were afraid and disheartened, for they realized that this task had been accomplished by our God.
17 Also in those days, the nobles of Judah sent many letters to Tobiah, and Tobiah’s letters came back to them. 18 For many in Judah were bound by oath to him, since he was a son-in-law of Shecaniah son of Arah, and his son Jehohanan had married the daughter of Meshullam son of Berechiah.
19 Moreover, these nobles kept reporting to me Tobiah’s good deeds, and they relayed my words to him. And Tobiah sent letters to intimidate me.
2 a Or in Kephirim
2 b Or in the valley
6 c Hebrew Gashmu , a variant of Geshem ; see verse 1.
9 d Hebrew But now ; for clarity, my God has been included.
15 e Elul is the sixth month of the Hebrew lunar calendar, usually occurring within the months of August and September.