The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Second Book of Esdras or the Book of Nehemias
And now news reached Sanaballat and Tobias and the Arabian, Gosem, and the rest of our enemies, that I had finished building the wall, and never a gap was left in it; although in truth I had not yet been able to set up doors in the gateways.
Thereupon Sanaballat and Gosem sent a message proposing that I should meet them in some unfortified town on the plains of Ono, and there make a treaty; it was their design to do me some mischief.
But I bade my own messengers answer, It is a hard task I must perform here; I am not for the plain. There would be folk standing idle here, while I came down to meet you.
Four times they sent word to the same purpose, and ever had the same answer from me;
and once more Sanaballat repeated it, but this time the servant who brought it had a letter in his hand. And this was the tenour of it:
The Gentiles will have it, and Gosem says the tale is true, that thou and the Jews are rebuilding the walls because you are plotting rebellion. It is said that thou wouldst be king thyself, and to that end
hast put forward prophets to preach thee up in Jerusalem, and announce that Juda has a king. All this will reach the ears of Artaxerxes; come hither thou must, and we will devise measures between us.
But I sent word back, There is no truth in the tale; it is of thy own imagining.
It was but a conspiracy to frighten us; their thought was we would cease building, and bide our time; but I pressed on the harder.
I went once to visit Semaias, son of Dalaias, son of Metabeel; he was then keeping his house. Nay, said he, let us go to the temple and there hold converse, there in the heart of the temple, behind shut doors. They are coming to murder thee; this very night they are coming to murder thee.
What, I answered, I take flight? I am not the man to save my life by skulking in God’s house. The temple is not for me.
And well I knew that his was no errand from God, though he spoke to me as one inspired to prophesy. It was Tobias and Sanaballat that had him in their pay;
they had bribed him, hoping that through terror I would commit a fault, and they would have ill tales to spread about me.
Not unremembered, Lord, be all this that I suffered on account of Tobias and Sanaballat; of the prophet Noadia, too, and all those prophets that would have daunted me!
The wall was finished on the twenty-fifth day of the month Elul; it had taken fifty-two days a-building.
And when this reached the ears of our enemies, fear overtook all the nations round about us; their stature fell in their own eyes, and they doubted no longer that it was God who had inspired the enterprise.
Tobias, at this time, was exchanging letters with many of the Jewish nobles;
he had married the daughter of Sechenias, son of Area, and wedded his son Johanan to the daughter of Mosollam, son of Barachias, and so had a great following in Judaea.
Still they sang his praises to me, still sent him news of all I did; this very Tobias who was writing letters to fill me with alarm.
The Holy Bible