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Nehemiah 4 Young's Literal Translation (YLT)

And it cometh to pass, when Sanballat hath heard that we are building the wall, that it is displeasing to him, and he is very angry and mocketh at the Jews,

and saith before his brethren and the force of Samaria, yea, he saith, `What [are] the weak Jews doing? are they left to themselves? do they sacrifice? do they complete in a day? do they revive the stones out of the heaps of the rubbish? -- and they burnt!'

And Tobiah the Ammonite [is] by him and saith, `Also, that which they are building -- if a fox doth go up, then it hath broken down their stone wall.'

Hear, O our God, for we have been despised; and turn back their reproach on their own head, and give them for a spoil in a land of captivity;

and do not cover over their iniquity, and their sin from before Thee let not be blotted out, for they have provoked to anger -- over-against those building.

And we build the wall, and all the wall is joined -- unto its half, and the people have a heart to work.

And it cometh to pass, when Sanballat hath heard, and Tobiah, and the Arabians, and the Ammonites, and the Ashdodites, that lengthening hath gone up to the walls of Jerusalem, that the breeches have begun to be stopped, then it is very displeasing to them,

and they conspire, all of them together, to come in to fight against Jerusalem, and to do to it injury.

And we pray unto our God, and appoint a watch against them, by day and by night, because of them.

10 And Judah saith, `The power of the burden-bearers hath become feeble, and the rubbish [is] abundant, and we are not able to build on the wall.'

11 And our adversaries say, `They do not know, nor see, till that we come in to their midst, and have slain them, and caused the work to cease.'

12 And it cometh to pass, when the Jews have come who are dwelling near them, that they say to us ten times from all the places whither ye return -- [they are] against us.

13 And I appoint at the lowest of the places, at the back of the wall, in the clear places, yea, I appoint the people, by their families, with their swords, their spears, and their bows.

14 And I see, and rise up, and say unto the freemen, and unto the prefects, and unto the rest of the people, `Be not afraid of them; the Lord, the great and the fearful, remember ye, and fight for your brethren, your sons, and your daughters, your wives, and your houses.'

15 And it cometh to pass, when our enemies have heard that it hath been known to us, and God doth frustrate their counsel, and we turn back, all of us, unto the wall, each unto his work;

16 yea, it cometh to pass, from that day, half of my servants are working in the business, and half of them are keeping hold of both the spears, the shields, and the bows, and the coats of mail; and the heads [are] behind all the house of Judah.

17 The builders on the wall, and the bearers of the burden, those lading, [each] with one of his hands is working in the business, and one is laying hold of the missile.

18 And the builders [are] each with his sword, girded on his loins, and building, and he who is blowing with a trumpet [is] beside me.

19 And I say unto the freemen, and unto the prefects, and unto the rest of the people, `The work is abundant, and large, and we are separated on the wall, far off one from another;

20 in the place that ye hear the voice of the trumpet thither ye are gathered unto us; our God doth fight for us.'

21 And we are working in the business, and half of them are keeping hold of the spears, from the going up of the dawn till the coming forth of the stars.

22 Also, at that time I said to the people, `Let each with his servant lodge in the midst of Jerusalem, and they have been to us by night a guard, and by day [for] the work:'

23 and there are none -- I and my brethren and my servants, the men of the guard who [are] after me -- there are none of us putting off our garments, each [hath] his vessel of water.

Nehemiah 4 New International Version (NIV)

Opposition to the Rebuilding

[a]When Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, he became angry and was greatly incensed. He ridiculed the Jews, and in the presence of his associates 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 rubble—burned as they are?”

Tobiah the Ammonite, who was at his side, said, “What they are building—even a fox climbing up on it would break down their wall of stones!”

Hear us, our God, for we are despised. Turn their insults back on their own heads. Give them over as plunder in a land of captivity. Do not cover up their guilt or blot out their sins from your sight, for they have thrown insults in the face of[b] 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, the Arabs, the Ammonites and the people 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 together 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.

10 Meanwhile, the people in Judah said, “The strength of the laborers is giving out, and there is so much rubble that we cannot rebuild the wall.”

11 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.”

12 Then the Jews who lived near them came and told us ten times over, “Wherever you turn, they will attack us.”

13 Therefore I stationed some of the people behind the lowest points of the wall at the exposed places, posting them by families, with their swords, spears and bows. 14 After I looked things over, I stood up and said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, “Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your families, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.”

15 When our enemies heard that we were aware of their plot and that God had frustrated it, we all returned to the wall, each to our own work.

16 From that day on, half of my men did the work, while the other half were equipped with spears, shields, bows and armor. The officers posted themselves behind all the people of Judah 17 who were building the wall. Those who carried materials did their work with one hand and held a weapon in the other, 18 and each of the builders wore his sword at his side as he worked. But the man who sounded the trumpet stayed with me.

19 Then I said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, “The work is extensive and spread out, and we are widely separated from each other along the wall. 20 Wherever you hear the sound of the trumpet, join us there. Our God will fight for us!”

21 So we continued the work with half the men holding spears, from the first light of dawn till the stars came out. 22 At that time I also said to the people, “Have every man and his helper stay inside Jerusalem at night, so they can serve us as guards by night and as workers by day.” 23 Neither I nor my brothers nor my men nor the guards with me took off our clothes; each had his weapon, even when he went for water.[c]

Footnotes:

  1. Nehemiah 4:1 In Hebrew texts 4:1-6 is numbered 3:33-38, and 4:7-23 is numbered 4:1-17.
  2. Nehemiah 4:5 Or have aroused your anger before
  3. Nehemiah 4:23 The meaning of the Hebrew for this clause is uncertain.
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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