They were trying to intimidate us into quitting. They thought, "They'll give up; they'll never finish it." I prayed, "Give me strength."
Then I met secretly with Shemaiah son of Delaiah, the son of Mehetabel, at his house. He said: Let's meet at the house of God, inside The Temple; Let's find safety behind locked doors because they're coming to kill you, Yes, coming by night to kill you.
I said, "Why would a man like me run for cover? And why would a man like me use The Temple as a hideout? I won't do it."
I sensed that God hadn't sent this man. The so-called prophecy he spoke to me was the work of Tobiah and Sanballat; they had hired him.
He had been hired to scare me off - trick me - a layman, into desecrating The Temple and ruining my good reputation so they could accuse me.
"O my God, don't let Tobiah and Sanballat get by with all the mischief they've done. And the same goes for the prophetess Noadiah and the other prophets who have been trying to undermine my confidence."
The wall was finished on the twenty-fifth day of Elul. It had taken fifty-two days.
When all our enemies heard the news and all the surrounding nations saw it, our enemies totally lost their nerve. They knew that God was behind this work.
All during this time letters were going back and forth constantly between the nobles of Judah and Tobiah.
Many of the nobles had ties to him because he was son-in-law to Shecaniah son of Arah and his son Jehohanan had married the daughter of Meshullam son of Berekiah.
They kept telling me all the good things he did and then would report back to him anything I would say. And then Tobiah would send letters to intimidate me.
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)