6 1NOW WHEN Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem the Arab, and the rest of our enemies heard that I had built the wall and that there was no breach left in it, although at that time I had not set up the doors in the gates, 2Sanballat and Geshem sent to me, saying, Come, let us meet together in one of the villages in the plain of Ono. But they intended to do me harm. 3And I sent messengers to them, saying, I am doing a great work and cannot come down. Why should the work stop while I leave to come down to you? 4They sent to me four times this way, and I answered them as before. 5Then Sanballat sent his servant to me again the fifth time with an open letter. 6In it was written: It is reported among the neighboring nations, and Gashmu says it, that you and the Jews plan to rebel; therefore you are building the wall, that you may be their king, according to the report. 7Also you have set up prophets to announce concerning you in Jerusalem, There is a king in Judah. And now this will be reported to the [Persian] king. So, come now and let us take counsel together. 8I replied to him, No such things as you say have been done; you are inventing them out of your own heart and mind. 9For they all wanted to frighten us, thinking, Their hands will be so weak that the work will not be done. But now strengthen my hands! 10I went into the house of Shemaiah son of Delaiah, the son of Mehetabel, who was shut up. 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 are coming to kill you--at night they are coming to kill you. 11But I said, Should such a man as I flee? And what man such as I could go into the temple [where only the priests are allowed to go] and yet live? I will not go in. 12And behold, I saw that God had not sent him, but he made this prophecy against me because Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him. 13He was hired that I should be made afraid and do as he said and sin, that they might have matter for an evil report with which to taunt and reproach me. 14My God, think on Tobiah and Sanballat according to these their works, and on the prophetess Noadiah and the rest of the prophets who would have put me in fear. 15So the wall was finished on the twenty-fifth day of the month Elul, in fifty-two days. 16When all our enemies heard of it, all the nations around us feared and fell far in their own esteem, for they saw that this work was done by our God. 17Moreover, in those days the nobles of Judah sent many letters to Tobiah, and Tobiah’s letters came to them. 18For many in Judah were bound by oath to him, because he was the son-in-law of Shecaniah son of Arah, and his son Jehohanan had married the daughter of Meshullam son of Berechiah. 19Also they spoke of [Tobiah’s] good deeds before me and told him what I said. And Tobiah sent letters to frighten me.
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