OVERCOMING GREAT DIFFICULTIES 177
and I had not as yet told my plan to the Jews or to the priests or to the nobles or to the rulers or to the others who did the work.
Then I said to them, "You see the bad condition in which we are, how Jerusalem lies in ruins and its gates are destroyed by fire. Come and let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, that we may no longer be in disgrace." I told them too how my God had kindly cared for me and the words which the king had spoken to me. They said, "Let us go to work and build." So they entered heartily into the good work.
OVERCOMING GREAT DIFFICULTIES
Now when Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, he was so angry and indignant that he mocked the Jews. He spoke before his tribesmen and the army of Samaria and said, "What are these feeble Jews doing ? Will they leave it to God ? Will they offer a sacrifice ? Will they finish the work in a day ? Will they recover the stones from the heaps of rubbish even after they have been destroyed by fire?"
Tobiah, the Ammonite, was with him, and he said, "This stone wall which they are building—if a fox should go up on it, he would break it down!"
But we went on rebuilding the wall; and all the wall was joined together to half its height, for the people were eager to work. But when Sanballat and Tobiah and the Arabians and the Ammonites and the Ashdodites heard that the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem was going on, so that the broken places began to be closed, they were very angry. And they all planned together to come and fight against Jerusalem and frighten the people there. But we prayed to our God and set a watch as a protection against them day and night.
When our enemies heard that their plan was known to us and that God had not let them carry it out, we all returned to the wall, each to his own work. From that time on, while half of my servants were at work, half of them held the lances, the shields, the bows and the coats of mail; and the rulers stood behind all the people of Judah. Those who built the wall and those who carried burdens were also armed, each using one of his hands for the work, and was ready with the other to grasp his spear. And each builder worked with his sword fastened at his side. The man who sounded the alarm was by me;