1 When Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem the Arab and our other enemies heard that I had rebuilt the wall and that not a single gap was left -- though at that time I had not fixed the doors to the gates-
2 Sanballat and Geshem sent me this message, 'Come and meet us at Ha-Chephirim in the Vale of Ono.' But they had evil designs on me.
3 So I sent messengers to them to say, 'I am engaged in a great undertaking, so I cannot come down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and come down to you?'
4 Four times they sent me the same invitation and I made them the same reply.
5 The fifth time, with the same purpose in mind, Sanballat sent me his servant bearing an open letter.
6 It ran, 'There is a rumour among the nations -- and Gashmu confirms it -- that you and the Jews are thinking of rebelling, which is why you are rebuilding the wall, and you intend to become their king;
7 and that you have even briefed prophets to acclaim you in Jerusalem with the cry, "There is a king in Judah!" Now, these rumours are going to reach the king; so you had better come and discuss them with us.'
8 To this I sent him the following reply, 'As regards what you say, nothing of the sort has occurred; it is a figment of your own imagination.'
9 For they were all trying to terrorise us, thinking, 'They will become demoralised over the work and it will not get finished.' But my morale rose even higher.
10 Then, when I went to visit Shemaiah son of Delaiah, son of Mehetabel, since he was prevented from coming to me, he said: We must gather at the Temple of God, inside the sanctuary itself; we must shut the sanctuary doors, for they are coming to kill you, they are coming to kill you tonight!
11 But I retorted, 'Should a man like me run away? Would a man like me go into the Temple to save his life? I shall not go in!'
12 I realised that God had not sent him to say this, but that he had produced this prophecy for me because Tobiah was paying him
13 to terrorise me into doing as he said and committing a sin, so that they would have grounds for blackening my reputation and blaming me.
14 Remember Tobiah, my God, for what he did; and Noadiah the prophetess, and the other prophets who tried to terrorise me.
15 The wall was finished within fifty-two days, on the twenty-fifth of Elul.
16 When all our enemies heard about it and all the surrounding nations saw it, they thought it a wonderful thing, because they realised that this work had been accomplished by the power of our God.
17 During this same period, the nobles of Judah kept sending letter after letter to Tobiah, and letters from Tobiah kept arriving for them;
18 for he had many sworn to his interest in Judah, since he was son-in-law to Shecaniah son of Arah, and his son Jehohanan had married the daughter of Meshullam son of Berechiah.
19 They even cried up his good deeds in my presence, and they reported what I said back to him. And Tobiah kept sending letters to terrorise me.