Neemias 4

1 Now, Sanballat, hearing that we were building the wall, was very angry, and in his wrath made sport of the Jews.

2 And in the hearing of his countrymen and the army of Samaria he said: »What are these feeble Jews doing? Will they make themselves strong? Will they make offerings? Will they get the work done in a day? Will they make the stones that have been burned come again out of the dust?«

3 Now Tobiah the Ammonite was with him, and he said: Such is their building that if a fox climbs to the top of it, their stonewall will be broken down.

4 Give ear, O our God, for we are ridiculed. Let their words of shame be turned back upon them, and let them be given up to plunder in a land where they are prisoners.

5 Do not let their wrongdoing be covered or their sin be washed away from before you: for they have made you angry before the builders.

6 So we went on building the wall. The entire wall was joined together halfway up. The people were working hard.

7 When the Sanballat and Tobiah and the Arabians and the Ammonites and the Ashdodites, heard that the building of the walls of Jerusalem was going forward and the broken places were being made good, they were very angry.

8 All of them conspired to come and launch an attack on Jerusalem, causing trouble there.

9 We prayed to God and stationed men on watch against them day and night.

10 Judah said: »The strength of the workmen is giving way. There is a lot of rubbish so it is impossible for us to put up the wall.«

11 And our adversaries kept saying: »They will not know and they will not see until we come right in among them and put them to death. We will cause the work to cease.«

12 When the Jews who were living near them came, they said to us ten times: »From all directions they are coming against us.«

13 So in the lowest part of the space at the back of the walls, in the open places, I put the people by families, with their swords, their spears, and their bows.

14 And after looking, I got up and said to the great ones and to the chiefs and to the rest of the people, »Have no fear of them. Keep in mind Jehovah who is great and greatly to be feared. Take up arms for your brothers, your sons, and your daughters, your wives and your houses.«

15 When our enemies heard that we had knowledge of their designs and that God had made their purpose come to nothing, we all went back to the wall, everyone to his work.

16 From that time, half of my servants were doing their part of the work, and half kept the spears and body-covers and the bows and the metal wardresses. The leaders were in back of the men of Judah.

17 Those who were building the wall and those who were moving material did their part. Everyone worked with one hand and with his spear in the other.

18 Every builder was working with his sword at his side. By my side was a man for sounding the warning horn.

19 I said to the leaders and the rest of the people: »The work is extensive and widely spaced and we are far away from one another on the wall.

20 »Wherever you may be when the horn is sounded, come here to us. Our God will fight for us.«

21 So we went on with the work. Half of them had spears in their hands from the dawn of the morning till the stars were seen.

22 At the same time I said to the people: »Let everyone with his servant come inside Jerusalem for the night. At night they may keep watch for us, and go on working by day.«

23 Not one of us, I or my brothers or my servants or the watchmen who were with me, changed clothes. Everyone went armed to the water.