Sanballat was very angry when he learned that we were rebuilding the wall. He flew into a rage and mocked the Jews,
saying in front of his friends and the Samarian army officers, "What does this bunch of poor, feeble Jews think they are doing? Do they think they can build the wall in a day if they offer enough sacrifices? Look at those charred stones they are pulling out of the rubbish and using again!"
Tobiah the Ammonite, who was standing beside him, remarked, "That stone wall would collapse if even a fox walked along the top of it!"
Then I prayed, "Hear us, O our God, for we are being mocked. May their scoffing fall back on their own heads, and may they themselves become captives in a foreign land!
Do not ignore their guilt. Do not blot out their sins, for they have provoked you to anger here in the presence of a the builders."
At last the wall was completed to half its original height around the entire city, for the people had worked very hard.
But when Sanballat and Tobiah and the Arabs, Ammonites, and Ashdodites heard that the work was going ahead and that the gaps in the wall were being repaired, they became furious.
They all made plans to come and fight against Jerusalem and to bring about confusion there.
But we prayed to our God and guarded the city day and night to protect ourselves.
Then the people of Judah began to complain that the workers were becoming tired. There was so much rubble to be moved that we could never get it done by ourselves.
Meanwhile, our enemies were saying, "Before they know what's happening, we will swoop down on them and kill them and end their work."
The Jews who lived near the enemy came and told us again and again, "They will come from all directions and attack us!" b13
So I placed armed guards behind the lowest parts of the wall in the exposed areas. I stationed the people to stand guard by families, armed with swords, spears, and bows.
Then as I looked over the situation, I called together the leaders and the people and said to them, "Don't be afraid of the enemy! Remember the Lord, who is great and glorious, and fight for your friends, your families, and your homes!"
When our enemies heard that we knew of their plans and that God had frustrated them, we all returned to our work on the wall.
But from then on, only half my men worked while the other half stood guard with spears, shields, bows, and coats of mail. The officers stationed themselves behind the people of Judah
who were building the wall. The common laborers carried on their work with one hand supporting their load and one hand holding a weapon.
All the builders had a sword belted to their side. The trumpeter stayed with me to sound the alarm.
Then I explained to the nobles and officials and all the people, "The work is very spread out, and we are widely separated from each other along the wall.
When you hear the blast of the trumpet, rush to wherever it is sounding. Then our God will fight for us!"
We worked early and late, from sunrise to sunset. And half the men were always on guard.
I also told everyone living outside the walls to move into Jerusalem. That way they and their servants could go on guard duty at night as well as work during the day.
During this time, none of us -- not I, nor my relatives, nor my servants, nor the guards who were with me -- ever took off our clothes. We carried our weapons with us at all times, even when we went for water. c
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)