Good News Translation (GNB)
3

Rebuilding the Wall of Jerusalem

31This is how the city wall was rebuilt.3.1 city wall was rebuilt: According to the following report, the rebuilding of the wall started at the middle of the north side and proceeded anti-clockwise round the city. Many of the places mentioned cannot be identified. The High Priest Eliashib and his fellow-priests rebuilt the Sheep Gate, dedicated it, and put the gates in place. They dedicated the wall as far as the Tower of the Hundred and the Tower of Hananel.

2The men of Jericho built the next section.

Zaccur son of Imri built the next section.

3The clan of Hassenaah built the Fish Gate. They put the beams and the gates in place, and put in the bolts and bars for locking the gate.

4Meremoth, the son of Uriah and grandson of Hakkoz, built the next section.

Meshullam, the son of Berechiah and grandson of Meshezabel, built the next section.

Zadok son of Baana built the next section.

5The men of Tekoa built the next section, but the leading men of the town refused to do the manual labour assigned to them by the supervisors.

6Joiada son of Paseah and Meshullam son of Besodeiah rebuilt Jeshanah Gate.3.6 Jeshanah Gate; or the Old Gate. They put the beams and the gates in place, and put in the bolts and bars for locking the gate.

7Melatiah from Gibeon, Jadon from Meronoth, and the men of Gibeon and Mizpah built the next section, as far as the residence of the governor of West Euphrates.

8Uzziel son of Harhaiah, a goldsmith, built the next section.

Hananiah, a maker of perfumes, built the next section, as far as Broad Wall.

9Rephaiah son of Hur, ruler of half the Jerusalem District, built the next section.

10Jedaiah son of Harumaph built the next section, which was near his own house.

Hattush son of Hashabneiah built the next section.

11Malchijah son of Harim and Hasshub son of Pahath Moab built both the next section and the Tower of the Ovens.

12Shallum son of Hallohesh, ruler of the other half of the Jerusalem District, built the next section. (His daughters helped with the work.)

13Hanun and the inhabitants of the city of Zanoah rebuilt the Valley Gate. They put the gates in place, put in the bolts and the bars for locking the gate, and repaired the wall for 440 metres, as far as the Rubbish Gate.

14Malchijah son of Rechab, ruler of the Beth Haccherem District, rebuilt the Rubbish Gate. He put the gates in place, and put in the bolts and the bars for locking the gate.

15Shallum son of Colhozeh, ruler of the Mizpah District, rebuilt the Fountain Gate. He covered the gateway, put the gates in place, and put in the bolts and the bars. At the Pool of Shelah he built the wall next to the royal garden, as far as the steps leading down from David's City.

16Nehemiah son of Azbuk, ruler of half the Bethzur District, built the next section, as far as David's tomb, the pool, and the barracks.

Levites who Worked on the Wall

17The following Levites rebuilt the next several sections of the wall:

Rehum son of Bani built the next section;

Hashabiah, ruler of half the Keilah District, built the next section on behalf of his district;

18Bavvai son of Henadad, ruler of the other half of the Keilah District, built the next section;

19Ezer son of Jeshua, ruler of Mizpah, built the next section in front of the armoury, as far as the place where the wall turns;

20Baruch son of Zabbai built the next section, as far as the entrance to the house of the High Priest Eliashib;

21Meremoth, the son of Uriah and grandson of Hakkoz, built the next section, up to the far end of Eliashib's house.

Priests who Worked on the Wall

22The following priests rebuilt the next several sections of the wall:

Priests from the area around Jerusalem built the next section;

23Benjamin and Hasshub built the next section, which was in front of their houses;

Azariah, the son of Maaseiah and grandson of Ananiah, built the next section, which was in front of his house;

24Binnui son of Henadad built the next section, from Azariah's house to the corner of the wall;

25-26Palal son of Uzai built the next section, beginning at the corner of the wall and the tower of the upper palace near the court of the guard;

Pedaiah son of Parosh built the next section, to a point on the east near the Water Gate and the tower guarding the Temple. (This was near that part of the city called Ophel, where the temple workmen lived.)

Other Builders

27The men of Tekoa built the next section, their second one, from a point opposite the large tower guarding the Temple as far as the wall near Ophel.

28A group of priests built the next section, going north from the Horse Gate, each one building in front of his own house.

29Zadok son of Immer built the next section, which was in front of his house.

Shemaiah son of Shecaniah, keeper of the East Gate, built the next section.

30Hananiah son of Shelemiah and Hanun, the sixth son of Zalaph, built the next section, their second one.

Meshullam son of Berechiah built the next section, which was in front of his house.

31Malchijah, a goldsmith, built the next section, as far as the building used by the temple workmen and the merchants, which was by the Miphkad3.31 Miphkad; or Mustering, or Watch. Gate, near the room on top of the north-east corner of the wall.

32The goldsmiths and the merchants built the last section, from the room at the corner as far as the Sheep Gate.

4

Nehemiah Overcomes Opposition to his Work

41When Sanballat heard that we Jews had begun rebuilding the wall, he was furious and began to ridicule us. 2In front of his companions and the Samaritan troops he said, “What do these miserable Jews think they're doing? Do they intend to rebuild the city? Do they think that by offering sacrifices they can finish the work in one day? Can they make building stones out of heaps of burnt rubble?”

3Tobiah was standing there beside him, and he added, “What kind of wall could they ever build? Even a fox could knock it down!”

4I prayed, “Listen to them mocking us, O God! Let their ridicule fall on their own heads. Let them be robbed of everything they have, and let them be taken as prisoners to a foreign land. 5Don't forgive the evil they do and don't forget their sins, for they have insulted us who are building.”

6So we went on rebuilding the wall, and soon it was half its full height, because the people were eager to work.

7Sanballat, Tobiah, and the people of Arabia, Ammon, and Ashdod heard that we were making progress in rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem and that the gaps in the wall were being closed, and they were very angry. 8So they all plotted together to come and attack Jerusalem and create confusion, 9but we prayed to our God and kept men on guard against them day and night.

10The people of Judah had a song they sang:

“We grow weak carrying burdens;

There's so much rubble to take away.

How can we build the wall today?”

11Our enemies thought we would not see them or know what was happening until they were already upon us, killing us and putting an end to our work. 12But time after time Jews who were living among our enemies came to warn us of the plans our enemies were making against us.4.12 Probable text the plans our enemies were making against us; Hebrew unclear. 13So I armed the people with swords, spears, and bows, and stationed them by clans behind the wall, wherever it was still unfinished.

14I saw that the people were worried, so I said to them and to their leaders and officials, “Don't be afraid of our enemies. Remember how great and terrifying the Lord is, and fight for your fellow-countrymen, your children, your wives, and your homes.” 15Our enemies heard that we had found out what they were plotting, and they realized that God had defeated their plans. Then all of us went back to rebuilding the wall.

16From then on half my men worked and half stood guard, wearing coats of armour and armed with spears, shields, and bows. And our leaders gave their full support to the people 17who were rebuilding the wall. Even those who carried building materials worked with one hand and kept a weapon in the other, 18and everyone who was building kept a sword strapped to his waist. The man who was to sound the alarm on the bugle stayed with me. 19I told the people and their officials and leaders, “The work is spread out over such a distance that we are widely separated from one another on the wall. 20If you hear the bugle, gather round me. Our God will fight for us.” 21So every day, from dawn until the stars came out at night, half of us worked on the wall, while the other half stood guard with spears.

22During this time I told the men in charge that they and all their helpers had to stay in Jerusalem at night, so that we could guard the city at night as well as work in the daytime. 23I didn't take off my clothes even at night, neither did any of my companions nor my servants nor my bodyguard. And we all kept our weapons to hand.4.23 Probable text weapons to hand; Hebrew unclear.

5

Oppression of the Poor

51Some time later many of the people, both men and women, began to complain against their fellow-Jews. 2Some said, “We have large families, we need corn to keep us alive.”

3Others said, “We have had to mortgage our fields and vineyards and houses to get enough corn to keep us from starving.”

4Still others said, “We had to borrow money to pay the royal tax on our fields and vineyards. 5We are of the same race as our fellow-Jews. Aren't our children just as good as theirs? But we have to make slaves of our children. Some of our daughters have already been sold as slaves. We are helpless because our fields and vineyards have been taken away from us.”

6When I heard their complaints, I was angry 7

5.7:
Ex 22.25
Lev 25.35–37
Deut 23.19–20
and decided to act. I denounced the leaders and officials of the people and told them, “You are oppressing your fellow-Jews!”

I called a public assembly to deal with the problem 8and said, “As far as we have been able, we have been buying back our Jewish relatives who had to sell themselves to foreigners. Now you are forcing your own relatives to sell themselves to you, their own people!” The leaders were silent and could find nothing to say.

9Then I said, “What you are doing is wrong! You ought to obey God and do what's right. Then you would not give our enemies, the Gentiles, any reason to ridicule us. 10I have let the people borrow money and corn from me, and so have my companions and the people who work for me. Now let's give up all our claims to repayment. 11Cancel all the debts5.11 One ancient translation debts; Hebrew unclear. they owe you — money or corn or wine or olive oil. And give them back their fields, vineyards, olive groves, and houses at once!”

12The leaders replied, “We'll do as you say. We'll give the property back and not try to collect the debts.”

I called in the priests and made the leaders swear in front of them to keep the promise they had just made. 13Then I took off the sash5.13 sash: Clothing in those days had no pockets, so small items were tucked into the sash that was worn like a belt around the waist. Shaking it out was a symbol of losing everything. I was wearing round my waist and shook it out. “This is how God will shake any of you who don't keep your promise,” I said. “God will take away your houses and everything you own, and will leave you with nothing.”

Everyone who was present said, “Amen!” and praised the LORD. And the leaders kept their promise.

Nehemiah's Unselfishness

14During all the twelve years that I was governor of the land of Judah, from the twentieth year that Artaxerxes was emperor until his 32nd year, neither my relatives nor I ate the food I was entitled to have as governor. 15Every governor who had been in office before me had been a burden to the people and had demanded forty silver coins a day5.15 One ancient translation a day; Hebrew unclear. for food and wine. Even their servants had oppressed the people. But I acted differently, because I honoured God. 16I put all my energy into rebuilding the wall and did not acquire any property. Everyone who worked for me joined in the rebuilding. 17I regularly fed at my table 150 of the Jewish people and their leaders, besides all the people who came to me from the surrounding nations. 18Every day I served one ox, six of the best sheep, and many chickens, and every ten days I provided a fresh supply of wine. But I knew what heavy burdens the people had to bear, so I did not claim the allowance that the governor is entitled to.

19I pray you, O God, remember to my credit everything that I have done for this people.