1. When Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites and the Ashdodites heard that repairs to the walls of Jerusalem were going forward -- that the gaps were beginning to fill up -- they became very angry,
2. and they all plotted to come and attack Jerusalem and upset my plans.
3. We, however, prayed to our God and organised a guard day and night to protect the city from them.
4. But in Judah the saying went, 'The strength of the carrier falters, the rubbish heap is so vast that by ourselves we cannot rebuild the wall!'
5. And our opponents said, 'They will never know or see a thing, until we are in there among them, and then we shall massacre them and put a stop to the work.'
6. Now when the Jews who lived near them had warned us ten times over, 'They are coming up against us from every place they live in,'
7. men took up position in the space behind the wall at those points where it was lowest, and I organised the people by families with their swords, spears and bows.
8. Aware of their anxiety, I then addressed the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, 'Do not be afraid of them. Remember the great and awe-inspiring Lord and fight for your kinsmen, your sons, your daughters, your wives and your homes.'
9. Once our enemies heard that we were forewarned and that God had thwarted their plan, they withdrew and we all went back to the wall, each one to his work.
10. From then on, half my own retainers went on working, while the other half stood by, armed with spears, shields, bows and armour to protect the whole House of Judah as they rebuilt the wall.
11. The carriers were armed, working with one hand and holding a spear in the other.
12. Each builder had his sword strapped to his side as he built. Beside me stood a trumpeter.
13. I then said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, 'The work is great and widely spread out, and we are deployed along the wall some way from one another.
14. Rally to us wherever you hear the trumpet sounding; our God will fight for us.'
15. And so we went on with the work from break of day until the stars came out.
16. At the same time I also told the people, 'Let every man, with his attendant, spend the night inside Jerusalem; we shall spend the night on guard and the day at work.'
17. Neither I, nor my brothers, nor my attendants, nor my bodyguards, ever took off our clothes; each one kept his spear in his right hand.