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Enemies Foiled

Now when it was reported to Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem the Arab, and to the rest of our enemies that I had built the wall and that no gap was left in it—though up to that time I had not erected doors in the gates— Sanballat and Geshem sent to me, saying, “Come and let us meet together in one of the villages in the plain of Ono.” But they planned to do evil to me. So I sent messengers to them, saying, “I am doing a great work and I am not able to come down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and come down to you all?” And they sent a message to me four times like this, and I returned an answer like this to them. And Sanballat sent his servant with an open letter, another word like this to me a fifth time, in his hand. In it was written, “It has been reported among the nations, and Gashmu also is saying it, that you and the Jews are considering rebellion. Therefore, truly you are building the wall and you are becoming their king, according to these words. You have also set up prophets to proclaim in Jerusalem concerning you, saying, ‘There is a king in Judah.’ And now it will be proclaimed to the king according to these words. Now, come and we will plan together.” So I sent to him saying, “None of these words you have spoken has happened. You are indeed saying things created in your own mind”— for all of them sought to frighten us, saying, “their hands will not do the work.” And now, God, strengthen my hands.

10 Now I went into the house of Shemaiah son of Delaiah, son of Mehetabel, who was confined at home, and he said, “Let us meet in the house of God, inside the temple, and let us close the doors of the temple; for they are coming to kill you—during the night they are coming to kill you.” 11 But I said, “Should a man like me run away? And would a man like me go into the temple so that he can save his life? I will not go in!” 12 Then I look and realized God had not sent him; rather, he had spoken the prophecy against me because Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him. 13 For this reason he was hired: to frighten me so that I would act and sin, so that they would have a bad report so they could taunt me. 14 Remember, O my God, Tobiah and Sanballat according to their works, and also Noadiah the prophetess, and the remainder of the prophets who were frightening me.

The Wall is Completed

15 So the wall was finished on the twenty-fifth day of Elul, in fifty-two days. 16 When our enemies heard of this, all of the nations surrounding us were afraid and lost their confidence.[a] They knew that this work had been done with the help of our God. 17 Also, in those days the nobles of Judah increasingly sent their letters to Tobiah, and letters from Tobiah returned to them. 18 For many in Judah were bound by oath to him because he was the son-in-law of Shecaniah son of Arah. His son Jehohanan took as a wife the daughter of Meshullam son of Berekiah. 19 They also were speaking of his good deeds in my presence, and they were sending my words out to him. Tobiah sent letters to intimidate me.


  1. Nehemiah 6:16 Literally “fell much in their eyes”