1Now when Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabians, the Ammonites, and the people of Ashdod heard that restoration of the walls of Jerusalem was proceeding and that the breaches had begun to be closed, they became extremely angry.
2They all conspired together to come and fight against Jerusalem, and to stir up trouble against it.
3But we prayed to our God and stationed a guard against them day and night.
4Meanwhile the people of Judah said, “The strength of the laborers is failing. There is so much rubble that we are unable to rebuild the wall.”
5Our adversaries also said, “They will not know or perceive anything, until we come among them and kill them, and put an end to the work!”
6So it happened that the Jews living near them came and told us ten times over, “Wherever you turn, they will attack us!”
Working and Watching
7So I stationed people in the lower places behind the wall in the exposed places. I stationed the people by families with their swords, spears and bows.
8When I looked things over, I rose up and said to the nobles, the rulers and the rest of the people, “Do not be afraid of them. Remember the great and awesome Lord, and fight on behalf of your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes.”
9Now when our enemies heard that their plan was known to us, and that God had frustrated it, we all returned to the wall, each to his work.
10From that day on, half of my men were doing the work, while half of them took hold of the spears, shields, bows and breastplates, and the leaders were behind the entire house of Judah.
11Those building the wall and those bearing heavy burdens kept one hand on the work and the other holding a weapon.
12So each of the builders had his sword strapped to his side while they were building, and the shofar blower was beside me.
13Then I said to the nobles, the rulers and the rest of the people, “The work is extensive and spread out, and we are widely separated from one another on the wall.
14Wherever you hear the sound of the shofar, join us there. Our God will fight for us!”
15So we continued the work with half the men holding spears, from dawn until the stars came out.
16Also at that time I said to the people, “Let every man and his helper lodge inside Jerusalem, so they can be guards for us by night and workers by day.”
17So neither I, nor my brothers, nor my workers, nor the guards who were with me took off our clothes; each man even had his weapon at the water.