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Nehemiah 4

Sanballat and Tobiah Mock the Jews’ Work

Now it happened that when Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, he became angry and very vexed and mocked the Jews.
2 He spoke in the presence of his brothers and the wealthy men of Samaria and said, “What are these feeble Jews doing? Are they going to restore it for themselves? Can they offer sacrifices? Can they complete it in a day? Can they bring the stones to life from the dusty rubble, though they are burned?” 3 Now Tobiah the Ammonite was near him and he said, “Even what they are building—if a fox should jump on it, he would break their stone wall down!” 4 Hear, O our God, for we are despised! Return their reproach on their own heads and give them up for plunder in a land of captivity. 5 Do not forgive their iniquity and let not their sin be blotted out before You, for they have vexed the builders. 6 So we built the wall and the whole wall was joined together to half its height, and the people had a heart to work. 7 Now it happened that when Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites, and the Ashdodites heard that the repair of the walls of Jerusalem went on, and that the places broken down began to be closed, they were very angry. 8 All of them joined together to come and fight against Jerusalem and to cause a disturbance in it. 9 But we prayed to our God, and because of them we stood a guard against them day and night. 10 Then Judah said,
“The strength of the burden bearers is failing,
Yet there is much rubbish;
And we ourselves are unable
To rebuild the wall.”
11 Our adversaries said, “They will not know or see until we come among them, kill them, and put a stop to the work.” 12 Now it happened when the Jews who lived near them came and said to us ten times, “They will come up against us from every place where you may turn,” 13 that I had men stand in the lowest parts of the space behind the wall, the exposed places, and I had the people stand by families with their swords, spears, and bows. 14 Then I saw their fear. And I arose and said to the nobles, the officials, and the rest of the people: “Do not fear them; remember the Lord who is great and fearsome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your houses.”

Doing the Work and Holding a Weapon

15 Now it happened that when our enemies heard that it was known to us, and that God had thwarted their counsel, then all of us returned to the wall, each one to his work.
16 And it happened that from that day on, half of my young men carried on the work while half of them took hold of the spears, the shields, the bows, and the breastplates; and the commanders were behind the whole house of Judah. 17 Those who were rebuilding the wall and those who carried burdens took their load with one hand doing the work and the other holding a weapon. 18 As for the builders, each wore his sword girded at his side as he built, while the trumpeter stood near me. 19 I said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, “The work is great and extensive, and we are separated on the wall far from one another. 20 At whatever place you hear the sound of the trumpet, there gather together to us. Our God will fight for us.” 21 So we kept doing the work with half of them holding spears from dawn until the stars came out. 22 At that time I also said to the people, “Let each man with his young man spend the night within Jerusalem so that they may be a guard for us by night and a worker by day.” 23 So neither I, my brothers, my young men, nor the men of the guard who followed me, none of us removed our clothes, each took his weapon even to the water.