When Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem the Arab, and the rest of our enemies heard that I had rebuilt the wall and that no gap was left in it-though at that time I had not installed the doors in the gates-
Sanballat and Geshem sent me a message: "Come, let's meet together in the villages ofa the Ono Valley." But they were planning to harm me.
So I sent messengers to them, saying, "I am doing a great work and cannot come down. Why should the work cease while I leave it and go down to you?"
Four times they sent me the same proposal, and I gave them the same reply.
Sanballat sent me this same message a fifth time by his aide, who had an open letter in his hand.
In it was written: It is reported among the nations-and Geshemb agrees-that you and the Jews plan to rebel. This is the reason you are building the wall. According to these reports, you are to become their king
and have even set up the prophets in Jerusalem to proclaim on your behalf: "There is a king in Judah." These rumors will be heard by the king. So come, let's confer together.
Then I replied to him, "There is nothing to these rumors you are spreading; you are inventing them in your own mind."
For they were all trying to intimidate us, saying, "They will become discouragedc in the work, and it will never be finished." But now, [my God,] strengthen me.d
I went to the house of Shemaiah son of Delaiah, son of Mehetabel, who was restricted [to his house]. He said: Let us meet at the house of God inside the temple. Let us shut the temple doors because they are coming to kill you. They are coming to kill you tonight!e11
But I said, "Should a man like me run away? How can I enter the temple and live? I will not go."
I realized that God had not sent him, because of the prophecy he spoke against me. Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him.
He was hired, so that I would be intimidated, do as he suggested, sin, and get a bad reputation, in order that they could discredit me.
My God, remember Tobiah and Sanballat for what they have done, and also Noadiah the prophetess and the other prophets who wanted to intimidate me.
The wall was completed in 52 days, on the twenty-fifth day of the month Elul.
When all our enemies heard this, all the surrounding nations were intimidated and lost their confidence,f for they realized that this task had been accomplished by our God.
During those days, the nobles of Judah sent many letters to Tobiah, and Tobiah's [letters] came to them.
For many in Judah were bound by oath to him, since he was a son-in-law of Shecaniah son of Arah, and his son Jehohanan had married the daughter of Meshullam son of Berechiah.
These nobles kept mentioning Tobiah's good deeds to me, and they reported my words to him. And Tobiah sent letters to intimidate me.