I went to Jerusalem, and after staying there three days112
I set out during the night with a few men. I had not told anyone what my God had put in my heart to do for Jerusalem. There were no mounts with me except the one I was riding on.
By night I went out through the Valley Gate2 toward the Jackala Well and the Dung Gate,3 examining the walls4 of Jerusalem, which had been broken down, and its gates, which had been destroyed by fire.
Then I moved on toward the Fountain Gate5 and the King's Pool,6 but there was not enough room for my mount to get through;
so I went up the valley by night, examining the wall. Finally, I turned back and reentered through the Valley Gate.
The officials did not know where I had gone or what I was doing, because as yet I had said nothing to the Jews or the priests or nobles or officials or any others who would be doing the work.
Then I said to them, "You see the trouble we are in: Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been burned with fire.7 Come, let us rebuild the wall8 of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace.9"
I also told them about the gracious hand of my God upon me10 and what the king had said to me. They replied, "Let us start rebuilding." So they began this good work.
But when Sanballat11 the Horonite, Tobiah the Ammonite official and Geshem12 the Arab heard about it, they mocked and ridiculed us.13 "What is this you are doing?" they asked. "Are you rebelling against the king?"
I answered them by saying, "The God of heaven will give us success. We his servants will start rebuilding,14 but as for you, you have no share15 in Jerusalem or any claim or historic right to it."