15 Shallum son of Colhozeh, ruler of the Mizpah District, rebuilt the Fountain Gate. He covered the gateway, put the gates in place, and put in the bolts and the bars. At the Pool of Shelah he built the wall next to the royal garden, as far as the stairs leading down from David's City.
16 Nehemiah son of Azbuk, ruler of half of the Bethzur District, built the next section, as far as David's tomb, the pool, and the barracks.
17 The following Levites rebuilt the next several sections of the wall:
Rehum son of Bani built the next section;
Hashabiah, ruler of half of the Keilah District, built the next section on behalf of his district;
18 Bavvai son of Henadad, ruler of the other half of the Keilah District, built the next section;
19 Ezer son of Jeshua, ruler of Mizpah, built the next section in front of the armory, as far as the place where the wall turns;
20 Baruch son of Zabbai built the next section, as far as the entrance to the house of the High Priest Eliashib;
21 Meremoth, the son of Uriah and grandson of Hakkoz, built the next section, up to the far end of Eliashib's house.
22 The following priests rebuilt the next several sections of the wall:
Priests from the area around Jerusalem built the next section;
23 Benjamin and Hasshub built the next section, which was in front of their houses;
Azariah, the son of Maaseiah and grandson of Ananiah, built the next section, which was in front of his house;
24 Binnui son of Henadad built the next section, from Azariah's house to the corner of the wall;
25-26 Palal son of Uzai built the next section, beginning at the corner of the wall and the tower of the upper palace near the court of the guard;
Pedaiah son of Parosh built the next section, to a point on the east near the Water Gate and the tower guarding the Temple. (This was near that part of the city called Ophel, where the Temple workers lived.)
27 The men of Tekoa built the next section, their second one, from a point opposite the large tower guarding the Temple as far as the wall near Ophel.
28 A group of priests built the next section, going north from the Horse Gate, each one building in front of his own house.
29 Zadok son of Immer built the next section, which was in front of his house.
Shemaiah son of Shecaniah, keeper of the East Gate, built the next section.
30 Hananiah son of Shelemiah and Hanun, the sixth son of Zalaph, built the next section, their second one.
Meshullam son of Berechiah built the next section, which was in front of his house.
31 Malchijah, a goldsmith, built the next section, as far as the building used by the Temple workers and the merchants, which was by the Miphkad[a] Gate to the Temple, near the room on top of the northeast corner of the wall.
32 The goldsmiths and the merchants built the last section, from the room at the corner as far as the Sheep Gate.
4 When Sanballat heard that we Jews had begun rebuilding the wall, he became furious and began to ridicule us. 2 In front of his companions and the Samaritan troops he said, “What do these miserable Jews think they're doing? Do they intend to rebuild the city? Do they think that by offering sacrifices they can finish the work in one day? Can they make building stones out of heaps of burnt rubble?”
3 Tobiah was standing there beside him, and he added, “What kind of wall could they ever build? Even a fox could knock it down!”
4 I prayed, “Hear how they make fun of us, O God! Let their ridicule fall on their own heads. Let them be robbed of everything they have, and let them be taken as prisoners to a foreign land. 5 Don't forgive the evil they do and don't forget their sins, for they have insulted us who are building.”
6 So we went on rebuilding the wall, and soon it was half its full height, because the people were eager to work.
7 Sanballat, Tobiah, and the people of Arabia, Ammon, and Ashdod heard that we were making progress in rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem and that the gaps in the wall were being closed, and they became very angry. 8 So they all plotted together to come and attack Jerusalem and create confusion, 9 but we prayed to our God and kept men on guard against them day and night.
10 The people of Judah had a song they sang:
“We grow weak carrying burdens;
There's so much rubble to take away.
How can we build the wall today?”
11 Our enemies thought we would not see them or know what was happening until they were already upon us, killing us and putting an end to our work. 12 But time after time Jews who were living among our enemies came to warn us of the plans our enemies were making against us.[b] 13 So I armed the people with swords, spears, and bows, and stationed them by clans behind the wall, wherever it was still unfinished.
14 I saw that the people were worried, so I said to them and to their leaders and officials, “Don't be afraid of our enemies. Remember how great and terrifying the Lord is, and fight for your relatives, your children, your wives, and your homes.” 15 Our enemies heard that we had found out what they were plotting, and they realized that God had defeated their plans. Then all of us went back to rebuilding the wall.
16 From then on half of my men worked and half stood guard, wearing coats of armor and armed with spears, shields, and bows. And our leaders gave their full support to the people 17 who were rebuilding the wall. Even those who carried building materials worked with one hand and kept a weapon in the other, 18 and everyone who was building kept a sword strapped to their waist. The man who was to sound the alarm on the bugle stayed with me. 19 I told the people and their officials and leaders, “The work is spread out over such a distance that we are widely separated from one another on the wall. 20 If you hear the bugle, gather around me. Our God will fight for us.” 21 So every day, from dawn until the stars came out at night, half of us worked on the wall, while the other half stood guard with spears.
22 During this time I told the men in charge that they and all their helpers had to stay in Jerusalem at night, so that we could guard the city at night as well as work in the daytime. 23 I didn't take off my clothes even at night, neither did any of my companions nor my servants nor my bodyguards. And we all kept our weapons at hand.[c]
5 Some time later many of the people, both men and women, began to complain against the other Jews. 2 Some said, “We have large families, we need grain to keep us alive.”
3 Others said, “We have had to mortgage our fields and vineyards and houses to get enough grain to keep us from starving.”
4 Still others said, “We had to borrow money to pay the royal tax on our fields and vineyards. 5 We are of the same race as the other Jews. Aren't our children just as good as theirs? But we have to make slaves of our children. Some of our daughters have already been sold as slaves. We are helpless because our fields and vineyards have been taken away from us.”
6 When I heard their complaints, I grew angry 7 and decided to act. I denounced the leaders and officials of the people and told them, “You are oppressing your own relatives!”
I called a public assembly to deal with the problem 8 and said, “As far as we have been able, we have been buying back our Jewish relatives who had to sell themselves to foreigners. Now you are forcing your own relatives to sell themselves to you, their own people!” The leaders were silent and could find nothing to say.
9 Then I said, “What you are doing is wrong! You ought to obey God and do what's right. Then you would not give our enemies, the Gentiles, any reason to ridicule us. 10 I have let the people borrow money and grain from me, and so have my companions and those who work for me. Now let's give up all our claims to repayment. 11 Cancel all the debts[d] they owe you—money or grain or wine or olive oil. And give them back their fields, vineyards, olive groves, and houses right now!”
12 The leaders replied, “We'll do as you say. We'll give the property back and not try to collect the debts.”
I called in the priests and made the leaders swear in front of them to keep the promise they had just made. 13 Then I took off the sash[e] I was wearing around my waist and shook it out. “This is how God will shake any of you who don't keep your promise,” I said. “God will take away your houses and everything you own, and will leave you with nothing.”
Everyone who was present said, “Amen!” and praised the Lord. And the leaders kept their promise.
25 Now, concerning what you wrote about unmarried people: I do not have a command from the Lord, but I give my opinion as one who by the Lord's mercy is worthy of trust.
26 Considering the present distress, I think it is better for a man to stay as he is. 27 Do you have a wife? Then don't try to get rid of her. Are you unmarried? Then don't look for a wife. 28 But if you do marry, you haven't committed a sin; and if an unmarried woman marries, she hasn't committed a sin. But I would rather spare you the everyday troubles that married people will have.
29 What I mean, my friends, is this: there is not much time left, and from now on married people should live as though they were not married; 30 those who weep, as though they were not sad; those who laugh, as though they were not happy; those who buy, as though they did not own what they bought; 31 those who deal in material goods, as though they were not fully occupied with them. For this world, as it is now, will not last much longer.
32 I would like you to be free from worry. An unmarried man concerns himself with the Lord's work, because he is trying to please the Lord. 33 But a married man concerns himself with worldly matters, because he wants to please his wife; 34 and so he is pulled in two directions. An unmarried woman or a virgin concerns herself with the Lord's work, because she wants to be dedicated both in body and spirit; but a married woman concerns herself with worldly matters, because she wants to please her husband.
35 I am saying this because I want to help you. I am not trying to put restrictions on you. Instead, I want you to do what is right and proper, and to give yourselves completely to the Lord's service without any reservation.
36 In the case of an engaged couple who have decided not to marry: if the man feels that he is not acting properly toward the young woman and if his passions are too strong and he feels that they ought to marry, then they should get married, as he wants to.[a] There is no sin in this. 37 But if a man, without being forced to do so, has firmly made up his mind not to marry,[b] and if he has his will under complete control and has already decided in his own mind what to do—then he does well not to marry the young woman.[c] 38 So the man who marries[d] does well, but the one who doesn't marry[e] does even better.
39 A married woman is not free as long as her husband lives; but if her husband dies, then she is free to be married to any man she wishes, but only if he is a Christian. 40 She will be happier, however, if she stays as she is. That is my opinion, and I think that I too have God's Spirit.
32 Happy are those whose sins are forgiven,
whose wrongs are pardoned.
2 Happy is the one whom the Lord does not accuse of doing wrong
and who is free from all deceit.
3 When I did not confess my sins,
I was worn out from crying all day long.
4 Day and night you punished me, Lord;
my strength was completely drained,
as moisture is dried up by the summer heat.
5 Then I confessed my sins to you;
I did not conceal my wrongdoings.
I decided to confess them to you,
and you forgave all my sins.
6 So all your loyal people should pray to you in times of need;[b]
when a great flood of trouble comes rushing in,
it will not reach them.
7 You are my hiding place;
you will save me from trouble.
I sing aloud of your salvation,
because you protect me.
8 The Lord says, “I will teach you the way you should go;
I will instruct you and advise you.
9 Don't be stupid like a horse or a mule,
which must be controlled with a bit and bridle
to make it submit.”
10 The wicked will have to suffer,
but those who trust in the Lord
are protected by his constant love.
11 You that are righteous, be glad and rejoice
because of what the Lord has done.
You that obey him, shout for joy!
5 Plan carefully and you will have plenty; if you act too quickly, you will never have enough.
6 The riches you get by dishonesty soon disappear, but not before they lead you into the jaws of death.
7 The wicked are doomed by their own violence; they refuse to do what is right.