The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Second Book of Esdras or the Book of Nehemias
Chapter 4
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Great was the rage of Sanaballat when news reached him that we were rebuild-ing the walls, and cruel were the taunts he uttered against the Jews in his anger.
There among his kinsmen, there before a throng of Samaritan folk, he taunted us: What are they about, these starveling Jews? Do they think we Gentiles will let them have their way? Or do they think to handsel their work at dawn and have it finished by nightfall? From those charred ashes can they make stones to build with?
Let them build, said his gossip, Tobias the Ammonite; come a fox by, he will leap over all the stones they can put together.

Mark it well, Lord God, how they turn us into a laughing-stock; on their own heads let the mockery recoil; exile and ignominy be their own lot!
Do not hide away their guilt; imperishable in thy presence be the record of the wrong they did, in flouting such a design as this!

Meanwhile we did not cease building, and now we had completed the whole circuit of the wall up to half its full height, so eagerly did the people set about their task.
And when this news came, that the breach in Jerusalem walls was healing, and the gaps were being filled, great was the indignation of Sanaballat and Tobias, of Arab, Ammonite and Philistine alike;
and now, making common cause, they would attack Jerusalem and throw all into confusion.
But still we asked help of our God, and set watchmen on the walls, day and night, to defeat their purpose.
Already the Jews were complaining that they had no strength left for carrying burdens, that the ground was choked with rubble; our task would never be finished;
and now our enemies thought to steal upon us unawares, and put an end to it by taking our lives.
On ten several occasions Jews that lived near them came back to us from different parts with the same news;
and at last I must array a force, armed with sword and lance and bow, behind the wall round its whole circuit.
That provision made, I set about encouraging them, nobles and chiefs and common folk alike; Fear no assault, I told them; bethink you how great, how fearsome the Lord is, and fight well each for his own kindred, for son and daughter and wife, for house and home.
And so, when word came to our enemies that we had been forewarned, God threw all their plot into confusion.

Back we went to our several posts at the wall;
and thenceforward the warriors among us were divided into two companies; one of these remained at work, while behind them, under the clan chiefs of Juda, the rest stood arrayed for battle, with lance and shield, bow and breastplate.
And even while they were at work, built they or loaded or carried loads, it was one hand to work with, and one closing still on a javelin;
nor was there ever a workman but must build with his sword girt at his side. And the men that blew the trumpets were close beside me;
I had warned nobles and chiefs and common folk, Here is a task for many to do; spread wide apart, we are sundered far here on the wall and there;
rally, all of you, to any point where you hear the trumpet sound, and our God will be our speed.
We officers too must take our share in the work, only half of us standing by with our spears, from dawn till the stars rise.
And to the common folk I said, Each of you, and his manservant with him, must lodge here in Jerusalem itself, taking turn and turn about, day and night.
As for myself, and my clansmen and servants, and the men of my body-guard, we never took our garments off all the while, save when we stripped for washing.