Nehemiah 6

Enemies try to frighten Nehemiah

1 We had finished building the city's wall. There were no holes in it now, but we had not fixed the doors in the gates. Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem (the Arab) and all our enemies heard that we had finished building the wall. 2 Sanballat and Geshem sent this message to me: ‘Come and meet with us in a village on the low land of Ono.’

I realized that they wanted to cause trouble for me. 3 So I sent this message back to them: ‘I am too busy to come and meet you. The work here is too important. I cannot stop the work here to come and meet you.’

4 They sent me the same message four times. Each time, I refused. 5 Then Sanballat sent his officer to me with a fifth message. He carried a letter that was open for anyone to read. 6 This is what the letter said: ‘To Nehemiah. Other nations have heard the news that you and the other Jews have decided to turn against the king. Geshem also says that this is true. This is why you are building the city's wall. People are saying that you want to rule the Jews as their king. 7 You have chosen some prophets to speak your message in Jerusalem. You have told them to say, “There is now a king in Judah!” The king of Persia will surely hear this news. So we must meet together and talk about it.’

8 I sent this reply: ‘What you say is not true. Nothing like that is happening. You are only speaking your own ideas.’

9 All our enemies wanted to frighten us. They thought, ‘The Jews will be so afraid that they will not be able to work well. They will not finish building the wall.’

So I prayed to God, ‘Give me strength to continue the work.’

10 One day I went to Shemaiah's house. He was the son of Delaiah, Mehetabel's son. He could not go out of his house. He said to me, ‘Meet me inside the temple of God. We will close the temple's doors. Our enemies are coming to kill you. One night soon, they will come to kill you.’

6:10Shemaiah was a friend of Tobiah. Even when they had finished the wall, Nehemiah's enemies wanted to cause trouble for him.

11 But I said, ‘I am not a man who would run away to be safe. I will not go into the temple to save my life.’ 12 Then I realized that Shemaiah was not telling me a message from God. I knew that Tobiah and Sanballat had paid him to say this to me. 13 They wanted to frighten me so that I would hide in the temple. My enemies knew that this would be a sin. If I did that, I would be ashamed. People would no longer respect me.

6:13Nehemiah was not a priest. Only the priests could go into the temple. So it would be a sin if Nehemiah went into the temple.

14 My God, please remember all the bad things that Tobiah and Sanballat have done. Also remember the prophetess, Noadiah, and the other prophets who have tried to frighten me.

The wall is finished

15 We finished the city's wall on the 25th day of the month Elul. It had taken 52 days to build the wall again. 16 When our enemies heard this news, they were afraid. The people of all the nations who lived near Jerusalem were very afraid. They knew that our God had helped us to finish this great work.

6:15The name of a Jewish month, which comes in August – September.

17 During this time, the leaders in Judah were sending letters to Tobiah. Tobiah was also sending his replies to them. 18 Many people in Judah had promised to obey Tobiah. That was because his wife was the daughter of Arah's son, Shecaniah. Also, his son Jehohanan had married the daughter Berekiah's son, Meshullam. 19 The leaders would often speak about the good things that Tobiah had done. They would then go and tell Tobiah everything that I had said. So Tobiah continued to send letters to frighten me.

6:18Meshullam was one of the Jews who repaired Jerusalem's wall. See Nehemiah 3:4.