1When word reached Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem the Arab, and the rest of our enemies that I had rebuilt the wall and not a breach remained in it—though at that time I had not yet set up doors in the gateways—2Sanballat and Geshem sent a message to me, saying, “Come, let us get together in Kephirim in the Ono valley”; they planned to do me harm. 3I sent them messengers, saying, “I am engaged in a great work and cannot come down, for the work will stop if I leave it in order to come down to you.” 4They sent me the same message four times, and I gave them the same answer. 5Sanballat sent me the same message a fifth time by his servant, who had an open letter with him. 6Its text was: “Word has reached the nations, and Geshem a Heb. Gashmu. too says that you and the Jews are planning to rebel—for which reason you are building the wall—and that you are to be their king. b‐ Meaning of Heb. uncertain. Such is the word. ‐b Meaning of Heb. uncertain. 7You have also set up prophets in Jerusalem to proclaim about you, ‘There is a king in Judah!’ Word of these things will surely reach the king; so come, let us confer together.”

8I sent back a message to him, saying, “None of these things you mention has occurred; they are figments of your imagination”—9for they all wished to intimidate us, thinking, “They will desist from the work, and it will not get done.” Now strengthen my hands!

10Then I visited Shemaiah son of Delaiah son of Mehetabel when he was housebound, and he said,

“Let us meet in the House of God, inside the sanctuary, And let us shut the doors of the sanctuary, for they are coming to kill you, By night they are coming to kill you.”

11I replied, “Will a man like me take flight? Besides, who such as I can go into the sanctuary and live? I will not go in.” 12Then I realized that it was not God who sent him, but that he uttered that prophecy about me—Tobiah and Sanballat having hired him—13because he was a hireling, that I might be intimidated and act thus and commit a sin, and so provide them a scandal with which to reproach me.

14“O my God, remember against Tobiah and Sanballatthese deeds of theirs, a Lit. “his.” and against Noadiah the prophetess, and against the other prophets that they wished to intimidate me!”

15The wall was finished on the twenty‐fifth of Elul, after fifty‐two days. 16When all our enemies heard it, all the nations round about us were intimidated, and fell very low in their own estimation; they realized that this work had been accomplished by the help of our God.

17Also in those days, the nobles of Judah kept up a brisk correspondence with Tobiah, and Tobiah with them. 18Many in Judah were his confederates, for he was a son‐in‐law of Shecaniah son of Arah, and his son Jehohanan had married the daughter of Meshullam son of Berechiah. 19They would also speak well of him to me, and would divulge my affairs to him. Tobiah sent letters to intimi‐date me.


a Heb. Gashmu.

b‐b Meaning of Heb. uncertain.

a Lit. “his.”