Continued Opposition to Rebuilding
1Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem the Arab, and the rest of our enemies found out that I had finished rebuilding the wall and that no gaps remained—though we had not yet set up the doors in the gates. 2So Sanballat and Geshem sent a message asking me to meet them at one of the villages#6:2 As in Greek version; Hebrew reads at Kephirim. in the plain of Ono.
But I realized they were plotting to harm me, 3so I replied by sending this message to them: “I am engaged in a great work, so I can’t come. Why should I stop working to come and meet with you?”
4Four times they sent the same message, and each time I gave the same reply. 5The fifth time, Sanballat’s servant came with an open letter in his hand, 6and this is what it said:
“There is a rumor among the surrounding nations, and Geshem#6:6 Hebrew Gashmu, a variant spelling of Geshem. tells me it is true, that you and the Jews are planning to rebel and that is why you are building the wall. According to his reports, you plan to be their king. 7He also reports that you have appointed prophets in Jerusalem to proclaim about you, ‘Look! There is a king in Judah!’
“You can be very sure that this report will get back to the king, so I suggest that you come and talk it over with me.”
8I replied, “There is no truth in any part of your story. You are making up the whole thing.”
9They were just trying to intimidate us, imagining that they could discourage us and stop the work. So I continued the work with even greater determination.#6:9 As in Greek version; Hebrew reads But now to strengthen my hands.
10Later I went to visit Shemaiah son of Delaiah and grandson of Mehetabel, who was confined to his home. He said, “Let us meet together inside the Temple of God and bolt the doors shut. Your enemies are coming to kill you tonight.”
11But I replied, “Should someone in my position run from danger? Should someone in my position enter the Temple to save his life? No, I won’t do it!” 12I realized that God had not spoken to him, but that he had uttered this prophecy against me because Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him. 13They were hoping to intimidate me and make me sin. Then they would be able to accuse and discredit me.
14Remember, O my God, all the evil things that Tobiah and Sanballat have done. And remember Noadiah the prophet and all the prophets like her who have tried to intimidate me.
The Builders Complete the Wall
15So on October 2#6:15 Hebrew on the twenty-fifth day of the month Elul, of the ancient Hebrew lunar calendar. This day was October 2, 445 b.c.; also see note on 1:1. the wall was finished—just fifty-two days after we had begun. 16When our enemies and the surrounding nations heard about it, they were frightened and humiliated. They realized this work had been done with the help of our God.
17During those fifty-two days, many letters went back and forth between Tobiah and the nobles of Judah. 18For many in Judah had sworn allegiance to him because his father-in-law was Shecaniah son of Arah, and his son Jehohanan was married to the daughter of Meshullam son of Berekiah. 19They kept telling me about Tobiah’s good deeds, and then they told him everything I said. And Tobiah kept sending threatening letters to intimidate me.