From then on half of my young men worked while the other half stood guard with lances, shields, bows, and mail armor. Military officers served as backup for everyone in Judah who was at work rebuilding the wall.
The common laborers held a tool in one hand and a spear in the other.
Each of the builders had a sword strapped to his side as he worked. I kept the trumpeter at my side to sound the alert.
Then I spoke to the nobles and officials and everyone else: "There's a lot of work going on and we are spread out all along the wall, separated from each other.
When you hear the trumpet call, join us there; our God will fight for us."
And so we kept working, from first light until the stars came out, half of us holding lances.
I also instructed the people, "Each person and his helper is to stay inside Jerusalem - guards by night and workmen by day."
We all slept in our clothes - I, my brothers, my workmen, and the guards backing me up. And each one kept his spear in his hand, even when getting water.
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)