Nehemiah 4 New Life Version (NLV)
Working and Watching at the Same Time
4 When Sanballat heard that we were building the wall again, he became very angry. He was filled with anger and he made fun of the Jews. 2 He said to his brothers and the rich men of Samaria, “What are these weak Jews doing? Are they going to build things again for themselves? Will they give gifts on the altar in worship? Will they finish in a day? Will they get good stones for building from the dust, seeing they are burned?” 3 Tobiah the Ammonite was near him and said, “If a fox would jump on what they build, he would break their stone wall down!”
4 Hear, O our God, how we are hated! Return their shame on their own heads. Let them be taken as servants to a strange land. 5 Do not forgive their sin. Do not let their sin be covered from Your eyes. For they have made much fun of the builders. 6 But we built the wall, and the whole wall was joined together to half its height, for the people had a mind to work.
7 When Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites and the Ashdodites heard that the work of building the walls of Jerusalem went on, and that the broken places began to be closed, they were very angry. 8 And all of them made plans together to come and fight against Jerusalem and cause trouble in it. 9 But we prayed to our God because of them. And we had men watching for them day and night. 10 So in Judah it was said, “Those who carry the loads are becoming weaker, and there is much dust. We are not able to work on the wall.” 11 Those who hated us said, “They will not know it or see us until we are among them, kill them, and stop the work.” 12 When the Jews who lived by them came, they told us ten times, “They will come up against us from all the places where they live.” 13 So I put men in the lowest parts of the places behind the wall, in the open places. I put the people in place by their families with their swords, spears and bows. 14 When I saw their fear, I got up and said to the rulers and leaders and the rest of the people, “Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord Who is great and honored with fear. And fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your houses.”
15 When those who hated us heard that it was known to us, and that God had brought trouble to their plan, then all of us returned to the wall. Each one returned to his work. 16 From that day on, half of my servants did the work while half of them held the spears, battle-coverings, bows, and battle-clothes. And the captains stood behind the whole house of Judah. 17 Those who were building the wall and those who carried loads did their work with one hand, and held something to fight with in the other hand. 18 Each builder wore his sword at his side as he built. The man who blew the horn stood beside me. 19 I said to the rulers, leaders, and the rest of the people, “There is very much work to do, and we are separated on the wall far from one another. 20 In whatever place you hear the sound of the horn, gather together to us there. Our God will fight for us.”
21 So we did the work with half of them holding spears from sunrise until the stars came out. 22 At that time I also said to the people, “Let every man and his servant spend the night within Jerusalem so they may watch for us during the night and work during the day.” 23 So none of us, I, my brothers, my servants, or the soldiers who followed me, took off our clothes. Each man kept something to fight with in his hand, even when he went to wash.