More Problems for Nehemiah
1Then Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem the Arab, and our other enemies heard that I had rebuilt the wall and that there was not one gap in it. But I had not yet set the doors in the gates. 2So Sanballat and Geshem sent me this message: “Come, Nehemiah, let’s meet together in Kephirim on the plain of Ono.”
But they were planning to harm me. 3So I sent messengers to them with this answer: “I am doing a great work, and I can’t come down. I don’t want the work to stop while I leave to meet you.” 4Sanballat and Geshem sent the same message to me four times, and each time I sent back the same answer.
5The fifth time Sanballat sent his helper to me with the message, and in his hand was an unsealed letter. 6This is what was written:
A report is going around to all the nations, and Geshem says it is true, that you and the Jewish people are planning to turn against the king and that you are rebuilding the wall. They say you are going to be their king 7and that you have appointed prophets to announce in Jerusalem: “There is a king of Judah!” The king will hear about this. So come, let’s discuss this together.
8So I sent him back this answer: “Nothing you are saying is really happening. You are just making it up in your own mind.”
9Our enemies were trying to scare us, thinking, “They will get too weak to work. Then the wall will not be finished.”
But I prayed, “God, make me strong.”
10One day I went to the house of Shemaiah son of Delaiah, the son of Mehetabel. Shemaiah had to stay at home. He said, “Nehemiah, let’s meet in the Temple of God. Let’s go inside the Temple and close the doors, because men are coming at night to kill you.”
11But I said, “Should a man like me run away? Should I run for my life into the Temple? I will not go.” 12I knew that God had not sent him but that Tobiah and Sanballat had paid him to prophesy against me. 13They paid him to frighten me so I would do this and sin. Then they could give me a bad name to shame me.
14I prayed, “My God, remember Tobiah and Sanballat and what they have done. Also remember the prophetess Noadiah and the other prophets who have been trying to frighten me.”
The Wall Is Finished
15The wall of Jerusalem was completed on the twenty-fifth day of the month of Elul. It took fifty-two days to rebuild. 16When all our enemies heard about it and all the nations around us saw it, they were shamed. They then understood that the work had been done with the help of our God.
17Also in those days the important people of Judah sent many letters to Tobiah, and he answered them. 18Many Jewish people had promised to be faithful to Tobiah, because he was the son-in-law of Shecaniah son of Arah. And Tobiah’s son Jehohanan had married the daughter of Meshullam son of Berekiah. 19These important people kept telling me about the good things Tobiah was doing, and then they would tell Tobiah what I said about him. So Tobiah sent letters to frighten me.