1When it was reported to Sanvalat, Toviyah, Geshem the Arab and the rest of our enemies that I had rebuilt the wall and that not a single gap was left in it — although up to that time I hadn’t yet set up the doors in the gateways — 2Sanvalat and Geshem sent me a message which said, “Come, let’s meet together in one of the villages of the Ono Valley.” But they were planning to do me harm; 3so I sent them messengers with this message: “I’m too busy with important work to come down. Why should the work stop while I leave it to come down to you?” 4They kept sending this sort of message to me — four times — and I answered them the same way.
5The fifth time, with the same purpose, Sanvalat sent his servant to me with an open letter in his hand, 6in which was written: “It is reported among the nations, and Geshem says it too, that you and the Judeans are planning a revolt, that this is why you are rebuilding the wall, and that you intend to be their king,” and similar words; 7“moreover, that you have also appointed prophets to proclaim about you in Yerushalayim, ‘There is a king in Y’hudah!’ A report along these lines is now going to be made to the king. Come now, therefore, and let’s discuss this.” 8I sent him this answer; “Nothing like what you are saying is being done. You’re making it all up in your head.” 9They were all just trying to scare us, thinking, “This will sap their strength and keep them from working.” But now, [God,] increase my strength!
10One day, when I went to the house of Sh’ma‘yah the son of D’layah, the son of M’heitav’el, where he was confined, he said, “Let’s meet together in the house of God, inside the temple, and let’s shut the doors of the temple. For they are going to come and try to assassinate you; yes, they will come at night to kill you.” 11I replied, “Should a man like me run away? Can a man like me go into the temple to save his life? I refuse to go in.” 12Then I realized that God had not sent him, that he was making this prophecy against me, and that Toviyah and Sanvalat had bribed him to say it. 13He had been hired to frighten me into following his suggestion and thus sin, so that they would have material for their unfavorable report about me and could taunt me with it. 14My God, remember Toviyah and Sanvalat according to their deeds, also the prophet No‘adyah and the other prophets trying to intimidate me.
15So the wall was finished on the twenty-fifth day of the month Elul, in fifty-two days. 16When all our enemies heard about it and the surrounding nations became afraid, our enemies’ self-esteem fell severely; because they realized that this work had been accomplished by our God.
17During this same period of time, the nobles of Y’hudah sent many letters to Toviyah, and Toviyah kept sending them replies. 18For there were many in Y’hudah who had sworn allegiance to him, because he was the son-in-law of Sh’khanyah the son of Arach, and his son Y’hochanan had taken as his wife the daughter of Meshulam the son of Berekhyah. 19They would even praise his good deeds in my presence, and they passed on my words to him. And Toviyah kept sending letters to intimidate me.