The Workmen Guard against the Adversaries
4 1 And it came to pass that when Sanballat heard that we built the wall, he was angry and very indignant, and mocked the Jews. 2 And he spoke before his brethren and the army of Samaria, and said, What do these feeble Jews? shall they be permitted to go on? Will they offer sacrifices? Will they finish in a day? Will they revive the stones out of the heaps of rubbish, when they are burned? 3 And Tobijah the Ammonite was by him, and he said, Even that which they build, if a fox went up, it would break down their stone wall.— 4 Hear, our God, for we are despised, and turn their reproach upon their own head, and give them for a prey in a land of captivity! 5 And cover not their iniquity, and let not their sin be blotted out from before thee; for they have provoked the builders. 6 But we built the wall; and all the wall was joined together to the half thereof; for the people had a mind to work.
7 And it came to pass, when Sanballat, and Tobijah, and the Arabians, and the Ammonites, and the Ashdodites heard that the walls of Jerusalem were being repaired, that the breaches began to be stopped, then they were very wroth, 8 and conspired all of them together to come to fight against Jerusalem, and to hinder it. 9 Then we prayed to our God, and set a watch against them day and night, because of them. 10 And Judah said, The strength of the bearers of burdens faileth, and there is much rubbish; so that we are not able to build at the wall. 11 And our adversaries said, They shall not know, neither see, till we come into the midst of them and kill them, and put an end to the work. 12 And it came to pass that when the Jews that dwelt by them came and told us so ten times, from all the places whence they returned to us, 13 I set in the lower places behind the wall in exposed places, I even set the people, according to their families, with their swords, their spears and their bows. 14 And I looked, and rose up, and said to the nobles, and to the rulers, and to the rest of the people, Be not afraid of them: remember the Lord who is great and terrible, and fight for your brethren, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your houses. 15 And it came to pass that when our enemies heard that it was known to us, and that God had defeated their counsel, we returned all of us to the wall, every one to his work.
16 And from that time forth the half of my servants wrought in the work, and the other half of them held the spears, and the shields, and the bows, and the corslets; and the captains were behind all the house of Judah. 17 They that built on the wall, and they that bore burdens, with those that loaded, wrought in the work with one hand, and with the other they held a weapon. 18 And the builders had every one his sword girded by his side, and built. And he that sounded the trumpet was by me. 19 And I said to the nobles, and to the rulers, and to the rest of the people, The work is great and extended, and we are scattered upon the wall, one far from another: 20 in what place ye hear the sound of the trumpet, thither shall ye assemble to us; our God will fight for us. 21 And we laboured in the work; and half of them held the spears from the rising of the dawn till the stars appeared. 22 Likewise at the same time I said to the people, Let every one with his servant lodge within Jerusalem, that in the night they may be a guard to us, and [be for] labour in the day. 23 And neither I, nor my brethren, nor my servants, nor the men of the guard that followed me, none of us put off our garments: every one had his weapon on his right side.
The Payment of Interest Abolished
5 1 And there was a great cry of the people and of their wives against their brethren the Jews. 2 And there were that said, We, our sons and our daughters, are many, and we must procure corn that we may eat and live. 3 And there were that said, We have had to pledge our fields, and our vineyards, and our houses, that we might procure corn in the dearth. 4 And there were that said, We have borrowed money for the king's tribute upon our fields and vineyards; 5 yet now our flesh is as the flesh of our brethren, our children as their children; and behold, we must bring into bondage our sons and our daughters to be servants, and some of our daughters are brought into bondage [already]; neither is it in the power of our hand [to redeem them], for other men have our fields and our vineyards.
6 And I was very angry when I heard their cry and these words. 7 And I consulted with myself; and I remonstrated with the nobles and the rulers, and said to them, Ye exact usury, every one of his brother! And I set a great assembly against them. 8 And I said to them, We, according to our ability, have redeemed our brethren the Jews, who were sold to the nations; and will ye even sell your brethren? or shall they be sold unto us? And they were silent and found no answer. 9 And I said, The thing that ye do is not good. Ought ye not to walk in the fear of our God, so as not to be the reproach of the nations our enemies? 10 I also, my brethren and my servants, we might exact usury of them, money and corn. I pray you, let us leave off this usury. 11 Restore, I pray you, to them this very day their fields, their vineyards, their olive-gardens, and their houses, also the hundredth [part] of the money, and of the corn, the wine and the oil, that ye have exacted of them. 12 And they said, We will restore [them], and will require nothing of them; so will we do, as thou hast said. And I called the priests, and took an oath of them, that they should do according to this promise. 13 Also I shook my lap, and said, So God shake out every man from his house and from his earnings, that performeth not this promise: even thus be he shaken out and emptied! And all the congregation said, Amen! And they praised Jehovah. And the people did according to this promise.
14 Moreover from the time that I was appointed to be their governor in the land of Judah, from the twentieth year even to the thirty-second year of Artaxerxes the king, twelve years, I and my brethren have not eaten the bread of the governor. 15 But the former governors that were before me had been chargeable to the people, and had taken of them bread and wine, besides forty shekels of silver: even their servants bore rule over the people. But I did not so, because of the fear of God. 16 Yea, also I applied myself to this work of the wall, and we bought no fields; and all my servants were gathered thither for the work. 17 And there were at my table a hundred and fifty of the Jews and the rulers, besides those that came to us from among the nations that were about us. 18 And that which was prepared daily was one ox [and] six choice sheep; also fowls were prepared for me, and once in ten days all sorts of wine in abundance. Yet for all this I demanded not the bread of the governor; for the service was heavy upon this people. 19 Remember for me, my God, for good, all that I have done for this people.
The Plots of the Adversaries
6 1 And it came to pass when Sanballat, and Tobijah, and Geshem the Arabian, and the rest of our enemies, heard that I had built the wall, and that there was no breach left in it (though at that time I had not set up the doors in the gates), 2 that Sanballat and Geshem sent to me, saying, Come, let us meet together in the villages in the plain of Ono. But they thought to do me mischief. 3 And I sent messengers to them, saying, I am doing a great work, and I cannot come down. Why should the work cease, whilst I leave it and come down to you? 4 And they sent to me four times after this sort; and I answered them in the same manner. 5 Then sent Sanballat his servant to me in this manner the fifth time, with an open letter in his hand, 6 in which was written: It is reported among the nations, and Gashmu says [it, that] thou and the Jews think to rebel, for which cause thou buildest the wall, and according to these words thou wilt become their king. 7 And thou hast also appointed prophets to proclaim concerning thee at Jerusalem saying, There is a king in Judah! And now it will be reported to the king according to these words. Come now therefore, and let us take counsel together. 8 And I sent to him, saying, There are no such things done as thou sayest, but thou feignest them out of thine own heart. 9 For they all would have made us afraid, saying, Their hands shall be slackened from the work, that it be not carried out.—Now therefore strengthen my hands!
10 And I came to the house of Shemaiah the son of Delaiah, the son of Mehetabeel, who had shut himself up. And he said, Let us meet together in the house of God, within the temple, and let us shut the doors of the temple; for they are coming to kill thee; even in the night are they coming to kill thee. 11 And I said, Should such a man as I flee? and who is there, that, being as I am, could go into the temple, and live? I will not go in. 12 And I perceived, and behold, God had not sent him; for he pronounced this prophecy against me; and Tobijah and Sanballat had hired him. 13 Therefore was he hired, that I should be afraid, and do so, and sin, and that they might have wherewith to spread an evil report, that they might reproach me. 14 My God, remember Tobijah and Sanballat according to these their works, and also the prophetess Noadiah, and the rest of the prophets who would have put me in fear.
15 So the wall was finished on the twenty-fifth of Elul, in fifty-two days. 16 And it came to pass that when all our enemies heard [of it], all the nations that were about us were afraid and were much cast down in their own eyes, and they perceived that this work was wrought by our God. 17 Moreover in those days the nobles of Judah sent many letters to Tobijah, and those of Tobijah came to them. 18 For there were many in Judah sworn to him; for he was a son-in-law of Shechaniah the son of Arah; and his son Johanan had taken the daughter of Meshullam the son of Berechiah. 19 Also they spoke of his good deeds before me, and reported my words to him. [And] Tobijah sent letters to put me in fear.