Nehemiah 3:15-5:13 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
15 Shallum[a] son of Colhozeh ruled the district of Mizpah, and he rebuilt Fountain Gate. He put a cover over the gateway, then hung the doors and added metal bolts and wooden beams as locks. He also rebuilt the wall at Shelah Pool. This section was next to the king’s garden and went as far as the stairs leading down from David’s City.
16 Nehemiah son of Azbuk ruled half of the district of Beth-Zur, and he rebuilt the next section of the wall. It went as far as the royal cemetery,[b] the artificial pool, and the army barracks.
Levites Who Worked on the Wall
17 The Levites who worked on the next sections of the wall were Rehum son of Bani; Hashabiah, who ruled half of the district of Keilah and did this work for his district; 18 Binnui[c] son of Henadad, who ruled the other half of the district of Keilah; 19 Ezer son of Jeshua, who ruled Mizpah, rebuilt the section of the wall that was in front of the armory and reached to the corner of the wall; 20 Baruch son of Zabbai eagerly rebuilt the section of the wall that went all the way to the door of the house of Eliashib the high priest; 21 Meremoth, son of Uriah and grandson of Hakkoz, built up to the far end of Eliashib’s house.
Priests Who Worked on the Wall
22 Here is a list of the priests who worked on the wall:
Priests from the region around Jerusalem rebuilt the next section of the wall.
23 Benjamin and Hasshub rebuilt the wall in front of their own houses.
Azariah, who was the son of Maaseiah and the grandson of Ananiah, rebuilt the section in front of his house.
24 Binnui son of Henadad rebuilt the section of the wall from Azariah’s house to the corner of the wall.
25 Palal son of Uzai rebuilt the next section, which began at the corner of the wall and the tower of the upper palace near the court of the guard.
Pedaiah son of Parosh rebuilt the next section of the wall. 26 He stopped at a place near the Water Gate on the east and the tower guarding the temple. This was close to a section in the city called Ophel, where the temple workers lived.[d]
Other Builders Who Worked on the Wall
27 The men from Tekoa rebuilt the next section of the wall, and it was their second section.[e] It started at a place across from the large tower that guarded the Temple, and it went all the way to the wall near Ophel.
28 Some priests rebuilt the next section of the wall. They began working north of Horse Gate, and each one worked on a section in front of his own house.
29 Zadok son of Immer rebuilt the wall in front of his house.
Shemaiah son of Shecaniah, who looked after the East Gate, rebuilt the section after that.
Meshullam son of Berechiah rebuilt the next section, which happened to be in front of his house.
31 Malchijah, a goldsmith, rebuilt the next section, as far as the house used by the temple workers and merchants. This area was across from Gathering Gate, near the room on top of the wall at the northeast corner.
32 The goldsmiths and merchants rebuilt the last section of the wall, which went from the corner room all the way to Sheep Gate.
4 When Sanballat, the governor of Samaria, heard that we were rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem, he became angry and started insulting our people. 2 In front of his friends and the Samaritan army he said, “What is this feeble bunch of Jews trying to do? Are they going to rebuild the wall and offer sacrifices all in one day? Do they think they can make something out of this pile of scorched stones?”
3 Tobiah from Ammon was standing beside Sanballat and said, “Look at the wall they are building! Why, even a fox could knock over this pile of stones.”
4 But I prayed, “Our God, these people hate us and have wished horrible things for us. Please answer our prayers and make their insults fall on them! Let them be the ones to be dragged away as prisoners of war. 5 Don’t forgive the mean and evil way they have insulted the builders.”
6 The people worked hard, and we built the walls of Jerusalem halfway up again. 7 But Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites, and the people from the city of Ashdod saw the walls going up and the holes being repaired. So they became angry 8 and decided to stir up trouble, and to fight against the people of Jerusalem. 9 But we kept on praying to our God, and we also stationed guards day and night.
10 Meanwhile, the people of Judah were singing a sorrowful song:
“So much rubble for us to haul!
11 Our enemies were saying, “Before those Jews know what has happened, we will sneak up and kill them and put an end to their work.”
12 On at least ten different occasions, the Jews living near our enemies warned us against attacks from every side,[h] 13 and so I sent people to guard the wall at its lowest places and where there were still holes in it. I placed them according to families, and they stood guard with swords and spears and with bows and arrows. 14 Then I looked things over and told the leaders, the officials, and the rest of the people, “Don’t be afraid of your enemies! The Lord is great and fearsome. So think of him and fight for your relatives and children, your wives and homes!”
15 Our enemies found out that we knew about their plot against us, but God kept them from doing what they had planned. So we went back to work on the wall.
16 From then on, I let half of the young men work while the other half stood guard. They wore armor and had spears and shields, as well as bows and arrows. The leaders helped the workers 17 who were rebuilding the wall. Everyone who hauled building materials kept one hand free to carry a weapon. 18 Even the workers who were rebuilding the wall strapped on a sword. The worker who was to blow the signal trumpet stayed with me.
19 I told the people and their officials and leaders, “Our work is so spread out, that we are a long way from one another. 20 If you hear the sound of the trumpet, come quickly and gather around me. Our God will help us fight.”
21 Every day from dawn to dark, half of the workers rebuilt the walls, while the rest stood guard with their spears.
22 I asked the men in charge and their workers to stay inside Jerusalem and stand guard at night. So they guarded the city at night and worked during the day. 23 I even slept in my work clothes at night; my children, the workers, and the guards slept in theirs as well. And we always kept our weapons close by.[i]
Nehemiah’s Concern for the Poor
5 Some of the men and their wives complained about the Jews in power 2 and said, “We have large families, and it takes a lot of grain merely to keep them alive.”
3 Others said, “During the famine we even had to mortgage our fields, vineyards, and homes to them in order to buy grain.”
4 Then others said, “We had to borrow money from those in power to pay the government tax on our fields and vineyards. 5 We are Jews just as they are, and our children are as good as theirs. But we still have to sell our children as slaves, and some of our daughters have already been raped. We are completely helpless; our fields and vineyards have even been taken from us.”
6 When I heard their complaints and their charges, I became very angry. 7 So I thought it over and said to the leaders and officials, “How can you charge your own people interest?”
Then I called a public meeting and accused the leaders 8 by saying, “We have tried to buy back all of our people who were sold into exile. But here you are, selling more of them for us to buy back!” The officials and leaders did not say a word, because they knew this was true.
9 I continued, “What you have done is wrong! We must honor our God by the way we live, so the Gentiles can’t find fault with us. 10 My relatives, my friends, and I are also lending money and grain, but we must no longer demand payment in return. 11 Now give back the fields, vineyards, olive orchards, and houses you have taken and also the interest you have been paid.”
12 The leaders answered, “We will do whatever you say and return their property, without asking to be repaid.”
So I made the leaders promise in front of the priests to give back the property. 13 Then I emptied my pockets and said, “If you don’t keep your promise, that’s what God will do to you. He will empty out everything you own, even taking away your houses.”
The people answered, “We will keep our promise.” Then they praised the Lord and did as they had promised.
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