Nehemiah’s Enemies Continue to Oppose the Rebuilding
1Sanballat, Tobiah and Geshem, the Arab, heard about what I had done. So did the rest of our enemies. All of them heard I had rebuilt the wall. In fact, they heard there weren’t any gaps left in it. But up to that time I hadn’t put up the gates at the main entrances to the city. 2 Sanballat and Geshem sent me a message. They said, “Come. Let’s talk with one another. Let’s meet in one of the villages on the plain of Ono.”
But they were planning to harm me. 3 So I sent messengers to them with my answer. I replied, “I’m working on a huge project. So I can’t get away. Why should the work stop while I leave it? Why should I go down and talk with you?” 4 They sent me the same message four times. And I gave them the same answer each time.
5 Sanballat sent his helper to me a fifth time. He brought the same message. He was carrying a letter that wasn’t sealed. 6 It said,
“A report is going around among the nations. Geshem says it’s true. We hear that you and the other Jews are planning to turn against the Persian rulers. And that’s why you are building the wall. It’s also reported that you are about to become their king. 7 People say that you have even appointed prophets to make an announcement about you. In Jerusalem they are going to say, ‘Judah has a king!’ That report will get back to the king of Persia. So come. Let’s meet together.”
8 I sent a reply to Sanballat. I said, “What you are saying isn’t really happening. You are just making it up.”
9 All of them were trying to frighten us. They thought, “Their hands will get too weak to do the work. So it won’t be completed.”
But I prayed to God. I said, “Make my hands stronger.”
10 One day I went to Shemaiah’s house. He was the son of Delaiah. Delaiah was the son of Mehetabel. Shemaiah had shut himself up in his home. He said, “Let’s go to God’s house. Let’s meet inside the temple and close the doors. Some men are coming at night to kill you.”
11 But I said, “Should a man like me run away? Should someone like me go into the temple just to save his life? No! I won’t go!” 12 I realized that God hadn’t sent Shemaiah. Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him. That’s why he had prophesied lies about me. 13 They had hired him to scare me. They wanted me to commit a sin by doing what he said. That would give me a bad name in the community. People would find fault with me and my work.
14 You are my God. Remember what Tobiah and Sanballat have done. Also remember the prophet Noadiah. She and the rest of the prophets have been trying to scare me. 15 So the city wall was completed on the 25th day of the month of Elul. It was finished in 52 days.
Nehemiah’s Enemies Oppose the Completed Wall
16 All our enemies heard about it. All the nations around us became afraid. They weren’t sure of themselves anymore. They realized that our God had helped us finish the work.
17 In those days the nobles of Judah sent many letters to Tobiah. And replies from Tobiah came back to them. 18 Many people in Judah had promised that they would be faithful to him. That’s because he was Shekaniah’s son-in-law. Shekaniah was the son of Arah. Tobiah’s son Jehohanan had married Meshullam’s daughter. Meshullam was the son of Berekiah. 19 Tobiah’s friends kept reporting to me the good things he did. They also kept telling him what I said. And Tobiah himself sent letters to scare me.