1When Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem the Arab, and our other enemies heard that I had rebuilt the wall and there were no gaps left—though at that time I still had not put the doors into the gates—
2they sent a message to me, saying, “Come on, let's meet in one of the villages on the plain of Ono.” But they intended to kill me.
3So I sent messengers to tell them, “I'm busy with important work and I can't come down. Why should I stop what I'm doing and leave it to come and see you?”
4They sent me the same message four times, and every time my reply was the same.
5Sanballat sent me the same message the fifth time by his servant, who brought in his hand an open letter.
6The letter read: “People around are saying, and Geshem confirms it, that you and the Jews are planning a rebellion, and that's why you're building the wall. You also plan to become their king, so they say,
7and you have even arranged for prophets in Jerusalem to announce for you, ‘There is a king in Judah.’ The king will soon get to hear about this. So come, and let's talk this over.”
8I replied, telling him, “Nothing's happening like you're saying! In fact you're just making it all up!”
9They were all just trying to scare us, telling themselves, “They won't have the strength to work so it won't ever get finished.” But I prayed, now make me strong!
10Later on, I went to Shemaiah's house (he was the son of Delaiah, son of Mehetabel) who had shut himself in his house. He said: “Come and meet me at the house of God inside the Temple. Then we can bolt the Temple doors shut because they are coming to kill you! They're coming to kill you tonight!”
11I replied, “Should someone like me run away? Should someone like me go and hide in the Temple so I can survive? I'm not going!”
12I thought about it and saw that God hadn't sent him, but that he had spoken this prophecy against me because Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him.
13They'd hired him thinking I'd be scared into doing something wrong. Then they'd be able to point the finger and ruin my reputation.
14My God, remember Tobiah and Sanballat for doing this, and Noadiah the prophetess and the other prophets too who tried to frighten me.
15The wall was finished on the twenty-fifth day of the month Elul. It took fifty-two days.
16When all our enemies found out they were frightened; all the nations around were very discouraged, for they recognized that this had been done by our God.
17At that time the nobles of Judah were exchanging many letters with Tobiah,
18because many people in Judah had sworn an oath of loyalty to him as he was a son-in-law of Shecaniah, son of Arah, and his son Jehohanan was married to the daughter of Meshullam, son of Berechiah.
19They kept on telling me all the good things Tobiah was doing, and they reported to him what I said. Tobiah also sent letters to try and scare me.