1When Sanballat found out that we were rebuilding the wall, he was furious—really mad! He made fun of the Jews
2in front of his colleagues and the army of Samaria, saying, “What are these useless Jews trying to achieve? Do they think they can rebuild the wall? Are they going to offer sacrifices? Are they going to finish it in a day? Do they think they can re-use stones from piles of rubble and dirt, especially since they've all been burned?”
3Tobiah the Ammonite, standing beside him, commented, “Even a fox walking on what they're building would knock down their wall of stones!”
4I prayed, “Lord, please listen to us, because we are being treated with contempt. Rain down their insults on their own heads! Let them be taken away like plunder, prisoners in a foreign land!
5Don't forgive their guilt or blot out their sins, for they have made you angry in front of the builders.”
6So we rebuilt the wall until it was all connected, reaching half its height, because the people were keen to work.
7When Sanballat and Tobiah, and the Arabs, Ammonites, and Ashdodites, heard that the repair to the walls of Jerusalem was progressing and that the gaps were being filled in, they were furious.
8They all plotted together to come and attack Jerusalem and to throw everything into confusion.
9So we prayed to our God, and we had guards ready to defend against them day and night.
10Then people of Judah started grumbling, saying, “The workmen are exhausted. There's just too much rubble to clear. We'll never be able to finish the wall.”
11Our enemies were saying to themselves, “Before they know it, before they're aware of anything, we'll appear right in among them, kill them, and put a stop to what they're doing.”
12The Jews who lived close by came and told us over and over again, “They're going to attack us from all directions!”
13So I positioned defenders behind the lowest, most vulnerable sections, of the wall. I had them take their positions by families, armed with their swords, spears, and bows.
14After inspecting our defenses, I stood up and addressed the nobles, the officials, and the rest of the people, saying, “Don't be afraid of them! Remember the Lord, who is powerful and formidable! Fight for your brothers, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes!”
15When our enemies discovered that we knew about their plan, and that God had foiled it, we all went back to our work on the wall.
16From then on, half of my men were doing the work while the other half were ready to fight, holding their spears, shields, bows, and armor. The leaders stood behind all the people of Judah
17who were building the wall. Those carrying materials worked with one hand, holding a weapon in the other.
18All the builders carried a sword strapped to their side, and the trumpeter stood beside me.
19Then I told the nobles, the officials, and the rest of the people: “We have a lot to do everywhere, so we're very spread out along the wall.
20Wherever you are and you hear the sound of the trumpet, run to join us there. Our God will fight for us!”
21We went on working, with half of the men holding spears from dawn until the stars came out.
22I also told the people, “Everyone including servants must spend the night inside Jerusalem, so they can be on guard duty at night and work during the day.”
23During that time none of us changed our clothes—not me or my brothers or my men or the guards with me. Everyone carried their weapons at all times, even to go for water.