December 09, 2002 Copyright © by United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
- When Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites, and the Ashdodites heard that the restoration of the walls of Jerusalem was progressing--for the gaps were beginning to be closed up--they became extremely angry.
- Thereupon they all plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem and thus to throw us into confusion.
- We prayed to our God and posted a watch against them day and night for fear of what they might do.
- Meanwhile the Judahites were saying: "Slackened is the bearers' strength, there is no end to the rubbish; Never shall we be able the wall to rebuild."
- Our enemies thought, "Before they are aware of it or see us, we shall come into their midst, kill them, and put an end to the work."
- When the Jews who lived near them had come to us from one place after another, and had told us ten times over that they were about to attack us,
- I stationed guards down below, behind the wall, near the exposed points, assigning them by family groups with their swords, their spears, and their bows.
- I made an inspection, then addressed these words to the nobles, the magistrates, and the rest of the people: "Have no fear of them! Keep in mind the LORD, who is great and to be feared, and fight for your brethren, your sons and daughters, your wives and your homes."
- When our enemies became aware that we had been warned and that God had upset their plan, we all went back, each to his own task at the wall.
- From that time on, however, only half my able men took a hand in the work, while the other half, armed with spears, bucklers, bows, and breastplates, stood guard behind the whole house of Judah
- as they rebuilt the wall. The load carriers, too, were armed; each did his work with one hand and held a weapon with the other.
- Every builder, while he worked, had his sword girt at his side. Also, a trumpeter stood beside me,
- for I had said to the nobles, the magistrates, and the rest of the people: "Our work is scattered and extensive, and we are widely separated from one another along the wall;
- wherever you hear the trumpet sound, join us there; our God will fight with us."
- Thus we went on with the work, half of the men with spears at the ready, from daybreak till the stars came out.
- At the same time I told the people to spend the nights inside Jerusalem, each man with his own attendant, so that they might serve as a guard by night and a working force by day.
- Neither I, nor my kinsmen, nor any of my attendants, nor any of the bodyguard that accompanied me took off his clothes; everyone kept his weapon at his right hand.
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