Three days after my arrival at Jerusalem,
I slipped out during the night, taking only a few others with me. I had not told anyone about the plans God had put in my heart for Jerusalem. We took no pack animals with us, except the donkey that I myself was riding.
I went out through the Valley Gate, past the Jackal's Well, a and over to the Dung Gate to inspect the broken walls and burned gates.
Then I went to the Fountain Gate and to the King's Pool, but my donkey couldn't get through the rubble.
So I went up the Kidron Valley b instead, inspecting the wall before I turned back and entered again at the Valley Gate.
The city officials did not know I had been out there or what I was doing, for I had not yet said anything to anyone about my plans. I had not yet spoken to the religious and political leaders, the officials, or anyone else in the administration.
But now I said to them, "You know full well the tragedy of our city. It lies in ruins, and its gates are burned. Let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem and rid ourselves of this disgrace!"
Then I told them about how the gracious hand of God had been on me, and about my conversation with the king.They replied at once, "Good! Let's rebuild the wall!" So they began the good work.
But when Sanballat, Tobiah, and Geshem the Arab heard of our plan, they scoffed contemptuously. "What are you doing, rebelling against the king like this?" they asked.
But I replied, "The God of heaven will help us succeed. We his servants will start rebuilding this wall. But you have no stake or claim in Jerusalem."
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)