Enemies try to frighten Nehemiah
1 We had finished building the wall. There were no holes in it, but the doors were not in the gates. Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem and all our enemies knew that we had finished building the wall. (Geshem came from Arabia.) 2 Sanballat and Geshem sent this message to me, ‘Let us meet together in a village on the Ono flat land.’ I knew that they wanted to hurt me. 3 I sent a man with my reply, ‘I am too busy to meet you. I will not stop this important work to meet you.’ 4 They sent me the same message 4 times. My reply to each was the same. 5 Then Sanballat sent his officer to me. He carried a letter that was open. Any person could read this letter. 6 This is what the letter said, ‘They are telling the people that you (Nehemiah) and the Jews will cause trouble for the king. Geshem also says that this is true. This is why you are building the city wall. They say that you want to be King of Jerusalem. 7 You have told prophets that they must say, “There is a king in Judah.” This report will go to King Artaxerxes. So we must meet together.’
8 I sent this reply, ‘What you say is not true. You are saying things that are your own ideas.’
9 Our enemies wanted to frighten us. They thought, ‘The Jews will be so afraid that their hands will be weak. They will not finish building the wall.’ I prayed to God, ‘Make my hands strong.’
10 One day I went to Shemaiah's house. He is the son of Delaiah, son of Mehetabel. He would not go out of his house. He said to me, ‘Meet me in the temple of God. We will close the temple doors. Our enemies are coming to kill you. At night, they will come to kill you.’
6:10Shemaiah was a friend of Tobiah. Tobiah was Nehemiah's enemy. Even when they had finished the wall, Nehemiah's enemies wanted to cause trouble for him.
11 But I said, ‘I will not run away. I will not go into the temple to save my life.’ 12 Then I knew that my enemies had sent Shemaiah. 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 sinned, they would tell the people about it. Then people would not have respect for me after that. 14 ‘Please God, remember Tobiah and Sanballat. Remember what they have done. Remember Noadiah the prophetess and the other prophets who want to frighten me.’
6:14Nehemiah was not a priest. Only the priests could go into the temple. So it would be a sin if Nehemiah went into the temple.
The wall is finished
15 We finished the wall on the 25th of Elul. It had taken 52 days to build the city wall again. 16 When our enemies knew this, they were afraid. All the people who lived near Jerusalem were afraid. They knew that God had helped the Jews to build the city wall again.
17 The rich men of Judah were sending many letters to Tobiah. Tobiah also sent many replies. 18 Many people in Judah had promised to obey Tobiah. That was because his son Jehohanan had married the daughter of Meshullam. He had helped to repair the city wall. And his wife was Shecaniah's daughter. Shecaniah was Arah's son. 19 The men of Judah told me often about the good things that Tobiah had done. Then they told Tobiah everything that I said. And Tobiah sent letters to people to cause trouble for me.