After I arrived in Jerusalem and had been there three days,
I got up at night and [took] a few men with me. I didn't tell anyone what my God had laid on my heart to do for Jerusalem. The only animal I tooka was the one I was riding.
I went out at night through the Valley Gate toward the Serpent'sb Well and the Dung Gate, and I inspected the walls of Jerusalem that had been broken down and its gates that had been destroyed by fire.c14
I went on to the Fountain Gate and the King's Pool, but farther down it became too narrow for my animal to go through.
So I went up at night by way of the valley and inspected the wall. Then heading back, I entered through the Valley Gate and returned.
The officials did not know where I had gone or what I was doing, for I had not yet told the Jews, priests, nobles, officials, or the rest of those who would be doing the work.
So I said to them, "You see the trouble we are in. Jerusalem lies in ruins and its gates have been burned down. Come, let's rebuild Jerusalem's wall, so that we will no longer be a disgrace."
I told them how the gracious hand of my God had been on me, and what the king had said to me. They said, "Let's start rebuilding," and they were encouragedd to [do] this good work.
When Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah the Ammonite official, and Geshem the Arab heard [about this], they mocked and despised us, and said, "What is this you're doing? Are you rebelling against the king?"
I gave them this reply, "The God of heaven is the One who will grant us success. We, His servants, will start building, but you have no share, right, or historic claim in Jerusalem."