I said, "Please, LORD, God of Heaven, the great and fearsome God who keeps the covenant, showing gracious love to those who love you and keep your commands, please turn your attention to observe carefully and listen to the prayer of your servant today that I am presenting to you day and night on behalf of your servants, the Israelis. "I confess the sins that we Israelis have committed against you. Both I and my father's house have sinned. We have abandoned you by not keeping your commands, your ceremonies, and your judgments that you proscribed to your servant Moses. read more.
Please remember what you spoke in commanding your servant Moses. You said, "If you rebel, I will scatter you among the nations but if you return to me, keeping my commands and doing them, even if your exiled people are in the farthest horizon, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place where I have chosen to establish my Name.' These are your servants as well as your people, whom you have redeemed by your great power and by your strong hand. "And now, Lord, I ask you to listen to the prayer of your servant and to the prayers of your servants who delight in revering your Name. I ask you, please prosper your servant today by granting him to receive favor from this man." Now I was the king's senior security advisor.
"Listen, our God, because we are being mocked. Let their insults fall back on them, and let them be dragged away as captives into exile. Don't atone their iniquity, and don't let their sin be blotted out from before you, because they have demoralized the builders."
But we prayed to our God. We also set up guards day and night because of them.
Don't atone their iniquity, and don't let their sin be blotted out from before you, because they have demoralized the builders."
to return to Jerusalem. I learned of the evil thing that Eliashib had done for Tobiah in furnishing him with a room in the courts of the Temple of God. I was greatly upset, so I threw out all of Tobiah's property from the room. I ordered them to purify the chambers, and then they brought back the vessels from the Temple of God, along with the grain offerings and incense.
At that time I saw in Judah some who were treading wine presses on the Sabbath, bringing in sacks of grain, loading them onto donkeys, along with wine, grapes, figs, and all kinds of loads. They brought them into Jerusalem on the Sabbath day. So I rebuked them on the day on which they were selling food. Furthermore, Tyrians were living there who were importing fish and all kinds of merchandise, selling them to the people of Judah on the Sabbath, even in Jerusalem. I rebuked the officials of Judah, saying to them, "What's this evil thing that you're doing by profaning the Sabbath day? read more.
Didn't your ancestors do the same? And didn't our God bring on us and on this city all of this trouble? Now you're adding to the wrath against Israel by profaning the Sabbath!" As the Sabbath approached and it began to get dark at the gates of Jerusalem, I gave word to shut the gates, charging that they should not be opened until after the Sabbath. I stationed some of my men at the gates to ensure that no loads would be brought in on the Sabbath day. As a result, the merchants and sellers of all sorts of goods remained outside Jerusalem a couple of times. I argued with them, "Why are you staying outside the wall? If you do this again, I'll arrest you." From that time on, they didn't come anymore on the Sabbath. Then I commanded the descendants of Levi to purify themselves and to come as gate keepers to sanctify the Sabbath day. Remember me, my God, and show mercy to me according to the greatness of your gracious love. At that time I also noticed that Jews had married women from Ashdod, Ammon, and Moab. Furthermore, their children spoke half of the time in the language of Ashdod, and could not speak in the language of Judah. Instead, they spoke in the languages of various nations. So I rebuked them, cursed them, struck some of their men, tore out their hair, and made them take this oath in the name of God: "You are not to give your daughters to their sons nor take their daughters for your sons or for yourselves. Didn't Solomon, king of Israel, sin by doing these things, even though among many nations there was no king like him who was loved by his God, and God made him king over all Israel? Even so, foreign women caused him to sin. Should we listen to you and do all of this terrible evil by transgressing against our God to marry foreign wives?" One of the sons of Eliashib the high priest's son Joiada was a son-in-law to Sanballat the Horonite, so I drove him away from me.
When Sanballat heard that we were reconstructing the wall, he flew into a rage, became indignant, and mocked the Jews. He addressed his allies and the Samaritan officials, saying "What are these pathetic Jews doing? Are they intending to rebuild it by themselves? Do they intend to offer sacrifices? Will they finish in a single day? Can they make stones from this burned out rubble?" Tobiah the Ammonite stood to the side, commenting, "If a fox were to jump onto what they're building, it would collapse their stone wall!" read more.
"Listen, our God, because we are being mocked. Let their insults fall back on them, and let them be dragged away as captives into exile. Don't atone their iniquity, and don't let their sin be blotted out from before you, because they have demoralized the builders." So we rebuilt the wall, completing it halfway up, because the people were committed to working. But when Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites, and the Ashdodites heard that the repair work on the Jerusalem wall was progressing and that its breaches were being repaired, they flew into a rage. So they all conspired together to invade and fight against Jerusalem, creating confusion there. But we prayed to our God. We also set up guards day and night because of them. Meanwhile, the people of Judah said, "The builders are tired and there's so much rubble that we can't reconstruct the wall!" Our enemies said, "Before they notice or see us, we'll penetrate their midst, kill them, and stop the work!" The Jews who lived near them kept coming to us, reporting at least ten times, "They'll attack us from every direction." So I stationed the people by families behind the wall in the lower exposed areas, equipping them with their swords, spears, and bows. Looking things over, I stood up and spoke to the officials, the military leaders, and the rest of the people: "Don't fear them. Remember the great and awe-inspiring Lord. Fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes." Our opponents heard that we had learned about them, that God had brought their plans to failure, and that each and every one of us had come to work on the wall. From that day on, half of my helpers engaged in the work while the other half kept spears, shields, bows, and armor ready. The senior officials backed all of the Judeans who worked on the wall. Those who carried building materials worked with one hand, carrying a spear in the other. Each builder worked with a sword strapped to his side, while a trumpeter remained beside me to sound an alarm.