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Nehemiah 4-6 (American Standard Version)

Nehemiah 4-6

But it came to pass that, when Sanballat heard that we were building the wall, he was wroth, and took great indignation, and mocked the Jews. And he spake before his brethren and the army of Samaria, and said, What are these feeble Jews doing? [a]will they fortify themselves? will they sacrifice? will they make an end in a day? will they revive the stones out of the heaps of rubbish, seeing they are burned? Now Tobiah the Ammonite was by him, and he said, Even that which they are building, if a [b]fox go up, he shall break down their stone wall. Hear, O our God; for we are despised: and turn back their reproach upon their own head, and give them up for a spoil in a land of captivity; and cover not their iniquity, and let not their sin be blotted out from before thee; for they have provoked thee to anger before the builders. So we built the wall; and all the wall was joined together unto half the height thereof: for the people had a mind to work.

But it came to pass that, when Sanballat, and Tobiah, and the Arabians, and the Ammonites, and the Ashdodites, heard that [c]the repairing of the walls of Jerusalem went forward, and that the breaches began to be stopped, then they were very wroth; and they conspired all of them together to come and fight against Jerusalem, and to cause confusion therein. But we made our prayer unto our God, and set a watch against them day and night, because of them. 10 And Judah said, The strength of the bearers of burdens is decayed, and there is much rubbish; so that we are not able to build the wall. 11 And our adversaries said, They shall not know, neither see, till we come into the midst of them, and slay them, and cause the work to cease. 12 And it came to pass that, when the Jews that dwelt by them came, they said unto us ten times [d]from all places, Ye must return unto us. 13 Therefore set I in the lowest parts of the space behind the wall, in the open places, I set there the people after their families with their swords, their spears, and their bows. 14 And I looked, and rose up, and said unto the nobles, and to the [e]rulers, and to the rest of the people, Be not ye afraid of them: remember the Lord, who is great and terrible, and fight for your brethren, your sons, and your daughters, your wives, and your houses.

15 And it came to pass, when our enemies heard that it was known unto us, and God had brought their counsel to nought, that we returned all of us to the wall, every one unto his work. 16 And it came to pass from that time forth, that half of my servants wrought in the work, and half of them held the spears, the shields, and the bows, and the coats of mail; and the rulers were behind [f]all the house of Judah. 17 They that builded the wall and they that bare burdens laded themselves; every one with one of his hands wrought in the work, and with the other held his weapon; 18 and the builders, every one had his sword girded by his side, and so builded. And he that sounded the trumpet was by me. 19 And I said unto the nobles, and to the [g]rulers and to the rest of the people, The work is great and large, and we are separated upon the wall, one far from another: 20 in what place soever ye hear the sound of the trumpet, resort ye thither unto us; our God will fight for us.

21 So we wrought in the work: and half of them held the spears from the rising of the morning till the stars appeared. 22 Likewise at the same time said I unto the people, Let every one with his servant lodge within Jerusalem, that in the night they may be a guard to us, and may labor in the day. 23 So neither I, nor my brethren, nor my servants, nor the men of the guard that followed me, none of us put off our clothes, [h]every one went with his weapon to the water.

Then there arose a great cry of the people and of their wives against their brethren the Jews. For there were that said, We, our sons and our daughters, are many: let us get grain, that we may eat and live. Some also there were that said, We are mortgaging our fields, and our vineyards, and our houses: let us get grain, because of the dearth. There were also that said, We have borrowed money for the king’s tribute upon our fields and our vineyards. Yet now our flesh is as the flesh of our brethren, our children as their children: and, lo, we bring into bondage our sons and our daughters to be servants, and some of our daughters are brought into bondage already: neither is it in our power to help it; for other men have our fields and our vineyards.

And I was very angry when I heard their cry and these words. Then I consulted with myself, and contended with the nobles and the [i]rulers, and said unto them, Ye exact usury, every one of his brother. And I held a great assembly against them. And I said unto them, We after our ability have [j]redeemed our brethren the Jews, that were sold unto the nations; and would ye even sell your brethren, and should they be sold unto us? Then held they their peace, and found never a word. Also I said, The thing that ye do is not good: ought ye not to walk in the fear of our God, because of the reproach of the nations our enemies? 10 And I likewise, my brethren and my servants, do lend them money and grain. I pray you, let us leave off this usury. 11 Restore, I pray you, to them, even this day, their fields, their vineyards, their oliveyards, and their houses, also the hundredth part of the money, and of the grain, the new wine, and the oil, that ye exact of them. 12 Then said they, We will restore them, and will require nothing of them; so will we do, even as thou sayest. Then I called the priests, and took an oath of them, that they would do according to this promise. 13 Also I shook out my lap, and said, So God shake out every man from his house, and from his labor, that performeth not this promise; even thus be he shaken out, and emptied. And all the assembly said, Amen, and praised Jehovah. And the people did according to this promise.

14 Moreover from the time that I was appointed to be their governor in the land of Judah, from the twentieth year even unto the two and thirtieth year of Artaxerxes the king, that is, twelve years, I and my brethren have not eaten the bread of the governor. 15 But the former governors that were before me [k]were chargeable unto the people, and took of them bread and wine, [l]besides forty shekels of silver; yea, even their servants [m]bare rule over the people: but so did not I, because of the fear of God. 16 Yea, also I [n]continued in the work of this wall, neither bought we any land: and all my servants were gathered thither unto the work. 17 Moreover there were at my table, of the Jews and the [o]rulers, a hundred and fifty men, besides those that came unto us from among the nations that were round about us. 18 Now that which was prepared for one day was one ox and six choice sheep; also fowls were prepared for me, and once in ten days store of all sorts of wine: yet for all this I demanded not the bread of the governor, because the bondage was heavy upon this people. 19 Remember unto me, O my God, for good, all that I have done for this people.

Now it came to pass, when it was reported to Sanballat and Tobiah, and to Geshem the Arabian, and unto the rest of our enemies, that I had builded the wall, and that there was no breach left therein (though even unto that time I had not set up the doors in the gates), that Sanballat and Geshem sent unto me, saying, Come, let us meet together in one of the villages in the plain of Ono. But they thought to do me mischief. And I sent messengers unto them, saying, I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down: why should the work cease, whilst I leave it, and come down to you? And they sent unto me four times after this sort; and I answered them after the same manner. Then sent Sanballat his servant unto me in like manner the fifth time with an open letter in his hand, wherein was written, It is reported among the nations, and [p]Gashmu saith it, that thou and the Jews think to rebel; for which cause thou art building the wall: and thou wouldest be their king, according to these words. And thou hast also appointed prophets to preach of thee at Jerusalem, saying, There is a king in Judah: and now shall it be reported to the king according to these words. Come now therefore, and let us take counsel together. Then I sent unto him, saying, There are no such things done as thou sayest, but thou feignest them out of thine own heart. For they all would have made us afraid, saying, Their hands shall be weakened from the work, that it be not done. But now, [q]O God, strengthen thou my hands.

10 And I went unto the house of Shemaiah the son of Delaiah the son of Mehetabel, who was shut up; and he said, Let us meet together in the house of God, within the temple, and let us shut the doors of the temple: for they will come to slay thee; yea, in the night will they come to slay thee. 11 And I said, Should such a man as I flee? and who is there, that, being such as I, [r]would go into the temple to save his life? I will not go in. 12 And I discerned, and, lo, God had not sent him; but he pronounced this prophecy against me: and Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him. 13 For this cause was he hired, that I should be afraid, and do so, and sin, and that they might have matter for an evil report, that they might reproach me. 14 Remember, O my God, Tobiah and Sanballat according to these their works, and also the prophetess Noadiah, and the rest of the prophets, that would have put me in fear.

15 So the wall was finished in the twenty and fifth day of the month Elul, in fifty and two days. 16 And it came to pass, when all our enemies heard thereof, that all the nations that were about us [s]feared, and were much cast down in their own eyes; for they perceived that this work was wrought of our God. 17 Moreover in those days the nobles of Judah sent many letters unto Tobiah, and the letters of Tobiah came unto them. 18 For there were many in Judah sworn unto him, because he was the son-in-law of Shecaniah the son of Arah; and his son Jehohanan had taken the daughter of Meshullam the son of Berechiah to wife. 19 Also they spake of his good deeds before me, and reported my words to him. And Tobiah sent letters to put me in fear.

Footnotes:

  1. Nehemiah 4:2 Or, will they leave to themselves aught? Or, will men let them alone?
  2. Nehemiah 4:3 Or, jackal
  3. Nehemiah 4:7 Hebrew healing went up upon the walls.
  4. Nehemiah 4:12 Or, From all places whence ye shall return they will be upon us
  5. Nehemiah 4:14 Or, deputies
  6. Nehemiah 4:16 Or, all the house of Judah that builded the wall. And they that etc.
  7. Nehemiah 4:19 Or, deputies
  8. Nehemiah 4:23 The text is obscure.
  9. Nehemiah 5:7 Or, deputies
  10. Nehemiah 5:8 Hebrew bought.
  11. Nehemiah 5:15 Or, laid burdens upon
  12. Nehemiah 5:15 Or, at the rate of. Or, afterward
  13. Nehemiah 5:15 Or, lorded over
  14. Nehemiah 5:16 Hebrew held fast to.
  15. Nehemiah 5:17 Or, deputies
  16. Nehemiah 6:6 In verse 1, and elsewhere Geshem.
  17. Nehemiah 6:9 Or, I will strengthen my hands
  18. Nehemiah 6:11 Or, could go into the temple and live
  19. Nehemiah 6:16 According to another reading, saw.
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