Nehemiah 6 Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)
6 Then Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem the Arab, and our other enemies heard that I had built the wall. We repaired all the holes in the wall, but we had not yet put the doors in the gates. 2 So Sanballat and Geshem sent me this message: “Come, Nehemiah, let’s meet together. We can meet in the town of Kephirim on the plain of Ono.” But they were planning to hurt me.
3 So I sent messengers to them with this answer: “I am doing important work, so I cannot come down. I don’t want the work to stop just so I can come down and meet with you.”
4 Sanballat and Geshem sent the same message to me four times, and I sent the same answer back to them each time. 5 Then, the fifth time, Sanballat sent his helper to me with the same message. And he had a letter in his hand that was not sealed. 6 This is what the letter said:
“There is a rumor going around. People are talking about it everywhere. And, by the way, Geshem says it is true. People are saying that you and the Jews are planning to turn against the king. This is why you are building the wall of Jerusalem. People are also saying that you will be the new king of the Jews. 7 And the rumor is that you have chosen prophets to announce this about you in Jerusalem: ‘There is a king in Judah!’
“Now I warn you, Nehemiah, King Artaxerxes will hear about this. So come, let’s meet and talk about this together.”
8 So I sent this answer back to Sanballat: “Nothing you are saying is happening. You are just making all that up in your own head.”
9 Our enemies were only trying to make us afraid. They are thinking to themselves, “The Jews will be afraid and too weak to keep on working. Then the wall will not be finished.”
But I prayed, “God, make me strong.”
10 One day I went to the house of a man named Shemaiah son of Delaiah. Delaiah was the son of Mehetabel. Shemaiah had to stay in his house. He said, “Nehemiah, let’s meet in God’s Temple. Let’s go inside the Holy Place[a] and lock the doors. Men are coming to kill you. Tonight they are coming to kill you.”
11 But I said to Shemaiah, “Should a man like me run away? You know that an ordinary man like me cannot go into the Holy Place without being put to death. I will not go!”
12 I knew that God had not sent Shemaiah. I knew that he had prophesied against me because Tobiah and Sanballat had paid him to do that. 13 They hired Shemaiah to scare me and make me sin by going into that part of the Temple. They were planning those bad things against me so that they could shame me.
14 My God, please remember Tobiah and Sanballat and the bad things they have done. Also remember the woman prophet Noadiah and the other prophets who have been trying to scare me.
The Wall Is Finished
15 So the wall of Jerusalem was completed on the 25th day of the month of Elul.[b] It had taken 52 days to finish building the wall. 16 Then all our enemies heard that we had completed the wall, and all the nations around us saw that it was finished. So they lost their courage, because they understood that this work had been done with the help of our God.
17 Also in those days after the wall had been completed, the rich people of Judah were sending many letters to Tobiah, and he was answering their letters. 18 They sent those letters because many people in Judah had promised to be loyal to him. The reason for this is that Tobiah was son-in-law to Shecaniah son of Arah. And Tobiah’s son Jehohanan had married the daughter of Meshullam. Meshullam is the son of Berekiah. 19 And in the past, those people had made a special promise to Tobiah. So they kept telling me how good Tobiah was. And they kept telling Tobiah what I was doing. Tobiah kept sending me letters to make me afraid.
Nehemiah 6 New International Version (NIV)
Further Opposition to the Rebuilding
6 When word came to Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem the Arab and the rest of our enemies that I had rebuilt the wall and not a gap was left in it—though up to that time I had not set the doors in the gates— 2 Sanballat and Geshem sent me this message: “Come, let us meet together in one of the villages[a] on the plain of Ono.”
But they were scheming to harm me; 3 so I sent messengers to them with this reply: “I am carrying on a great project and cannot go down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and go down to you?” 4 Four times they sent me the same message, and each time I gave them the same answer.
5 Then, the fifth time, Sanballat sent his aide to me with the same message, and in his hand was an unsealed letter 6 in which was written:
“It is reported among the nations—and Geshem[b] says it is true—that you and the Jews are plotting to revolt, and therefore you are building the wall. Moreover, according to these reports you are about to become their king 7 and have even appointed prophets to make this proclamation about you in Jerusalem: ‘There is a king in Judah!’ Now this report will get back to the king; so come, let us meet together.”
8 I sent him this reply: “Nothing like what you are saying is happening; you are just making it up out of your head.”
9 They were all trying to frighten us, thinking, “Their hands will get too weak for the work, and it will not be completed.”
But I prayed, “Now strengthen my hands.”
10 One day I went to the house of Shemaiah son of Delaiah, the son of Mehetabel, who was shut in at his home. He said, “Let us meet in the house of God, inside the temple, and let us close the temple doors, because men are coming to kill you—by night they are coming to kill you.”
11 But I said, “Should a man like me run away? Or should someone like me go into the temple to save his life? I will not go!” 12 I realized that God had not sent him, but that he had prophesied against me because Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him. 13 He had been hired to intimidate me so that I would commit a sin by doing this, and then they would give me a bad name to discredit me.
14 Remember Tobiah and Sanballat, my God, because of what they have done; remember also the prophet Noadiah and how she and the rest of the prophets have been trying to intimidate me. 15 So the wall was completed on the twenty-fifth of Elul, in fifty-two days.
Opposition to the Completed Wall
16 When all our enemies heard about this, all the surrounding nations were afraid and lost their self-confidence, because they realized that this work had been done with the help of our God.
17 Also, in those days the nobles of Judah were sending many letters to Tobiah, and replies from Tobiah kept coming to them. 18 For many in Judah were under oath to him, since he was son-in-law to Shekaniah son of Arah, and his son Jehohanan had married the daughter of Meshullam son of Berekiah. 19 Moreover, they kept reporting to me his good deeds and then telling him what I said. And Tobiah sent letters to intimidate me.