When Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem the Arab, and the rest of our enemies found out that I had finished rebuilding the wall and that no gaps remained -- though we had not yet hung the doors in the gates --
Sanballat and Geshem sent me a message asking me to meet them at one of the villages a in the plain of Ono. But I realized they were plotting to harm me,
so I replied by sending this message to them: "I am doing a great work! I cannot stop to come and meet with you."
Four times they sent the same message, and each time I gave the same reply.
The fifth time, Sanballat's servant came with an open letter in his hand,
and this is what it said: "Geshem b tells me that everywhere he goes he hears that you and the Jews are planning to rebel and that is why you are building the wall. According to his reports, you plan to be their king.
He also reports that you have appointed prophets to prophesy about you in Jerusalem, saying, 'Look! There is a king in Judah!" "You can be very sure that this report will get back to the king, so I suggest that you come and talk it over with me."
My reply was, "You know you are lying. There is no truth in any part of your story."
They were just trying to intimidate us, imagining that they could break our resolve and stop the work. So I prayed for strength to continue the work.
Later I went to visit Shemaiah son of Delaiah and grandson of Mehetabel, who was confined to his home. He said, "Let us meet together inside the Temple of God and bolt the doors shut. Your enemies are coming to kill you tonight."
But I replied, "Should someone in my position run away from danger? Should someone in my position enter the Temple to save his life? No, I won't do it!"
I realized that God had not spoken to him, but that he had uttered this prophecy against me because Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him.
They were hoping to intimidate me and make me sin by following his suggestion. Then they would be able to accuse and discredit me.
Remember, O my God, all the evil things that Tobiah and Sanballat have done. And remember Noadiah the prophet and all the prophets like her who have tried to intimidate me.
So on October 2 c the wall was finally finished -- just fifty-two days after we had begun.
When our enemies and the surrounding nations heard about it, they were frightened and humiliated. They realized that this work had been done with the help of our God.
During those fifty-two days, many letters went back and forth between Tobiah and the officials of Judah.
For many in Judah had sworn allegiance to him because his father-in-law was Shecaniah son of Arah and because his son Jehohanan was married to the daughter of Meshullam son of Berekiah.
They kept telling me what a wonderful man Tobiah was, and then they told him everything I said. And Tobiah sent many threatening letters to intimidate me.
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)