When Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites, and the people from Ashdod heard that the repair work on the walls of Jerusalem was making progress and that the gaps were being filled in, they became furious. 8
All of them plotted to attack Jerusalem to create confusion.
9But we prayed to our God and set guards to protect us day and night.
10Then the people of Judah said, "The work crews are worn out, and there is too much rubble. We can't continue to rebuild the wall."
11Our enemies said, "Before they know what is happening or see a thing, we will be right in the middle of them. We'll kill them and bring the work to an end." 12Jews who were living near our enemies warned us ten times that our enemies would attack us from every direction. 13That is why I positioned people by their families behind the wall where it was lowest and most exposed. The people were armed with swords, spears, and bows. 14I looked them over and proceeded to tell the nobles, the leaders, and the rest of the people, "Don't be afraid of our enemies. Remember how great and awe-inspiring the LORD is. Fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes."
15When our enemies heard that we knew about their plots and that God had prevented their plans from being successful, we all went back to the work on the wall. Each person performed his own job. 16From that day on, half of my men worked on the wall, and the other half were wearing body armor and holding spears, shields, and bows. The leaders stood behind all the Judeans 17who were rebuilding the wall. The workers who were carrying loads did the work with one hand and held their weapons with the other, 18and each builder had his sword fastened to his side. The man who was supposed to sound the trumpet alarm was with me. 19I told the nobles, the leaders, and the rest of the people, "So much work has to be done in different places that we are widely separated from one another on the wall. 20When you hear the trumpet, assemble around me. Our God will fight for us!"
21So we continued to work. Half of us held spears from early dawn until the stars came out. 22At that time I told the people, "Every man and his servant should stay overnight in Jerusalem so that we can set a guard at night and work during the day." 23My brothers, my servants, and the guards assigned to me never changed their clothes. Neither did I. We each kept our weapons at hand.