Sanballat Tries to Harm Nehemiah
1 Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem the Arab, and the rest of our enemies heard that I had rebuilt the wall and that no gaps had been left in it (although at that time I had not yet hung the doors in the city gates). 2 Then Sanballat and Geshem sent this message to me: “Let’s meet in Hakkephirim on the plain of Ono.” They were planning to harm me.
3 I sent messengers to tell them, “I’m working on an important project and can’t get away. Why should the work stop while I leave to meet with you?” 4 They sent the same message to me four times, and I answered them the same way. 5 When Sanballat sent me the same message a fifth time, his servant held in his hand an unsealed letter. 6 In it was written:
It has been reported throughout the nations, and Geshem has confirmed it, that you and the Jews are planning to rebel. That’s why you’re rebuilding the wall. According to this report, you want to become their king. 7 You’ve appointed prophets to announce about you in Jerusalem, ‘There’s a king in Judah!’ This report will get back to the king. So let’s talk about this.
8 Then I sent someone to tell him, “None of your accusations are true. You are making them up out of your own imagination.”
9 They were all trying to intimidate us. They thought we would give up and not finish the work.
But God made me strong.
10 ⌊One day⌋ I went to the home of Shemaiah, son of Delaiah and grandson of Mehetabel. Shemaiah who was confined to his house, said, “Let’s meet in the house of God, inside the temple, and close the temple doors. Some men are coming at night to kill you.”
11 But I asked, “Should a man like me run away? Would a man like me go into the temple to save his life? I won’t go.”
12 Then I realized that God hadn’t sent him. Instead, Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him to prophesy against me. 13 He was hired to intimidate me into doing this so that I would sin. Then they could give me a bad reputation in order to discredit me.
14 ⌊Nehemiah prayed,⌋ “My God, remember what Tobiah and Sanballat have done. Also, remember the female prophet Noadiah and the rest of the prophets who have been trying to intimidate me.”
The Wall Rebuilt in Spite of Opposition
15 The wall was finished on the twenty-fifth day of the month of Elul. The wall took 52 days to finish. 16 When all our enemies heard about this, all the surrounding nations were afraid and lost their self-confidence. They realized we had done this work with the help of our God.
Traitors on the Inside
17 In those days the nobles of Judah sent many letters to Tobiah, and Tobiah sent many letters back to them. 18 Many in Judah had promised to support Tobiah because he was the son-in-law of Shecaniah, Arah’s son. In addition, Tobiah’s son Jehohanan had married the daughter of Meshullam, Berechiah’s son. 19 The nobles were singing Tobiah’s praises to me and reporting to him what I said. Tobiah kept sending letters to intimidate me.