Nehemiah 4 Revised Standard Version (RSV)
Hostile Plots Thwarted
4 [a] Now when Sanbal′lat heard that we were building the wall, he was angry and greatly enraged, and he ridiculed the Jews. 2 And he said in the presence of his brethren and of the army of Samar′ia, “What are these feeble Jews doing? Will they restore things? Will they sacrifice? Will they finish up in a day? Will they revive the stones out of the heaps of rubbish, and burned ones at that?” 3 Tobi′ah the Ammonite was by him, and he said, “Yes, what they are building—if a fox goes up on it he will break down their stone wall!” 4 Hear, O our God, for we are despised; turn back their taunt upon their own heads, and give them up to be plundered in a land where they are captives. 5 Do not cover their guilt, and let not their sin be blotted out from thy sight; for they have provoked thee to anger before the builders.
6 So we built the wall; and all the wall was joined together to half its height. For the people had a mind to work.
7 [b] But when Sanbal′lat and Tobi′ah and the Arabs and the Ammonites and the Ash′dodites heard that the repairing of the walls of Jerusalem was going forward and that the breaches were beginning to be closed, they were very angry; 8 and they all plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem and to cause confusion in it. 9 And we prayed to our God, and set a guard as a protection against them day and night.
10 But Judah said, “The strength of the burden-bearers is failing, and there is much rubbish; we are not able to work on the wall.” 11 And our enemies said, “They will not know or see till we come into the midst of them and kill them and stop the work.” 12 When the Jews who lived by them came they said to us ten times, “From all the places where they live[c] they will come up against us.”[d] 13 So in the lowest parts of the space behind the wall, in open places, I stationed the people according to their families, with their swords, their spears, and their bows. 14 And I looked, and arose, and said to the nobles and to the officials and to the rest of the people, “Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and terrible, and fight for your brethren, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes.”
15 When our enemies heard that it was known to us and that God had frustrated their plan, we all returned to the wall, each to his work. 16 From that day on, half of my servants worked on construction, and half held the spears, shields, bows, and coats of mail; and the leaders stood behind all the house of Judah, 17 who were building on the wall. Those who carried burdens were laden in such a way that each with one hand labored on the work and with the other held his weapon. 18 And each of the builders had his sword girded at his side while he built. The man who sounded the trumpet was beside me. 19 And I said to the nobles and to the officials and to the rest of the people, “The work is great and widely spread, and we are separated on the wall, far from one another. 20 In the place where you hear the sound of the trumpet, rally to us there. Our God will fight for us.”
21 So we labored at the work, and half of them held the spears from the break of dawn till the stars came out. 22 I also said to the people at that time, “Let every man and his servant pass the night within Jerusalem, that they may be a guard for us by night and may labor by day.” 23 So neither I nor my brethren nor my servants nor the men of the guard who followed me, none of us took off our clothes; each kept his weapon in his hand.[e]