1 BUT WHEN Sanballat heard that we were building the wall, he was angry and in a great rage, and he ridiculed the Jews.
2 And he said before his brethren and the army of Samaria, What are these feeble Jews doing? Will they restore things [at will and by themselves]? Will they [try to bribe their God] with sacrifices? Will they finish up in a day? Will they revive the stones out of the heaps of rubbish, seeing they are burned?
3 Now Tobiah the Ammonite was near him, and he said, What they build–if a fox climbs upon it, he will break down their stone wall.
4 [And Nehemiah prayed] Hear, O our God, for we are despised. Turn their taunts upon their own heads, and give them for a prey in a land of their captivity.
5 Cover not their iniquity and let not their sin be blotted out before You, for they have vexed [with alarm] the builders and provoked You.
6 So we built the wall, and all [of it] was joined together to half its height, for the people had a heart and mind to work.
7 But when Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabians, Ammonites, and Ashdodites heard that the walls of Jerusalem were going up and that the breaches were being closed, they were very angry.
8 And they all plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem, to injure and cause confusion and failure in it.
9 But because of them we made our prayer to our God and set a watch against them day and night.
10 And [the leaders of] Judah said, The strength of the burden bearers is weakening, and there is much rubbish; we are not able to work on the wall.
11 And our enemies said, They will not know or see till we come into their midst and kill them and stop the work.
12 And when the Jews who lived near them came, they said to us ten times, You must return [to guard our little villages]; from all places where they dwell they will be upon us.
13 So I set [armed men] behind the wall in places where it was least protected; I even thus used the people as families with their swords, spears, and bows.
14 I looked [them over] and rose up and said to the nobles and officials and the other people, Do not be afraid of the enemy; [earnestly] remember the Lord and imprint Him [on your minds], great and terrible, and [take from Him courage to] fight for your brethren, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes.
15 And when our enemies heard that their plot was known to us and that God had frustrated their purpose, we all returned to the wall, everyone to his work.
16 And from that time forth, half of my servants worked at the task, and the other half held the spears, shields, bows, and coats of mail; and the leaders stood behind all the house of Judah.
17 Those who built the wall and those who bore burdens loaded themselves so that everyone worked with one hand and held a weapon with the other hand,
18 And every builder had his sword girded by his side, and so worked. And he who sounded the trumpet was at my side.
19 And I said to the nobles and officials and the rest of the people, The work is great and scattered, and we are separated on the wall, one far from another.
20 In whatever place you hear the sound of the trumpet, rally to us there. Our God will fight for us.
21 So we labored at the work while half of them held the spears from dawn until the stars came out.
22 At that time also I said to the people, Let everyone with his servant lodge within Jerusalem, that at night they may be a guard to us and a laborer during the day.
23 So none of us–I, my kinsmen, my servants, nor the men of the guard who followed me–took off our clothes; each kept his weapon [in his hand for days].