When Sanballat1 heard that we were rebuilding the wall, he became angry and was greatly incensed. He ridiculed the Jews,
and in the presence of his associates2 and the army of Samaria, he said, "What are those feeble Jews doing? Will they restore their wall? Will they offer sacrifices? Will they finish in a day? Can they bring the stones back to life from those heaps of rubble3--burned as they are?"
Tobiah4 the Ammonite, who was at his side, said, "What they are building--if even a fox climbed up on it, he would break down their wall of stones!"54
Hear us, O our God, for we are despised.6 Turn their insults back on their own heads. Give them over as plunder in a land of captivity.
Do not cover up their guilt7 or blot out their sins from your sight,8 for they have thrown insults in the face ofa the builders.
So we rebuilt the wall till all of it reached half its height, for the people worked with all their heart.
But when Sanballat, Tobiah,9 the Arabs, the Ammonites and the men of Ashdod heard that the repairs to Jerusalem's walls had gone ahead and that the gaps were being closed, they were very angry.
They all plotted together10 to come and fight against Jerusalem and stir up trouble against it.
But we prayed to our God and posted a guard day and night to meet this threat.
Meanwhile, the people in Judah said, "The strength of the laborers11 is giving out, and there is so much rubble that we cannot rebuild the wall."
Also our enemies said, "Before they know it or see us, we will be right there among them and will kill them and put an end to the work."