Nehemiah Inspects Jerusalem's Wall
11So I arrived at Jerusalem and was there for three days. 12Then I got up in the middle of the night with a few men. I had not told anyone what God had placed into my heart to do for Jerusalem. There was no animal with me except the animal on which I was riding. 13At night I went out through the Valley Gate and went toward the vicinity of the Jackal Well and the Dung Gate. I began inspecting the walls of Jerusalem, which had been breached, and its gates, which had been consumed by fire. 14Then I crossed over to the Fountain Gate and to the King's Pool, but there was no place for the animal that I was riding to get through. 15So I kept going up the valley and inspecting the wall during the night. Then I turned around and went back the same way and came in through the Valley Gate.
16The officials did not know where I had gone or what I was doing. I had not yet told the Jews—the priests, the nobles, the officials, or the rest of the people who would be doing the work. 17So I said to them, “You see the very bad situation we are in: Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been burned. Come, let's rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be disgraced.” 18Then I told them that the hand of my God had been good to me, and I also told them the words the king had said to me.
They said, “Let's get up and rebuild!” Then they encouraged each other for this good work.
19When Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah the Ammonite official, and Geshem the Arab heard about it, they ridiculed us and held us in contempt. They said, “What are you doing? Are you rebelling against the king?”
20I responded to them by saying, “The God of Heaven will make us successful. We, his servants, will rise up and rebuild. But you have no portion or right or heritage in Jerusalem.”
Opposition and Threats to the Building Project
41When Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, it infuriated him, and he became very angry. He ridiculed the Jews 2and said in front of his allies and the army of Samaria, “What are those pathetic Jews doing? Will they restore it by themselves? Will they sacrifice? Will they finish in one day? Will they refurbish the stones that came from the piles of rubble that have been burned?”
3Tobiah the Ammonite was beside him. He said, “Whatever they are building, if even a fox climbed on it, it would break apart the wall made from their stones.”
4Listen, O our God, because we are an object of contempt. Turn their ridicule back on their own heads. Hand them over as plunder in a land of captivity. 5Do not cover over their guilt, and may their sin not be blotted out before you, because they have provoked your anger in the presence of the builders.
6So we built the wall, and the entire wall was completed, up to half its height, because the people were determined to do it.