going well in
Jerusalem. The walls of that great city have never been repaired.
The place is still in ruins. It is a shame that such a glorious
city lies in waste. The people who live there are now poor and
greatly troubled by their enemies."
Nehemiah went to
the king and asked, "If it please the king, and if I have
found favor in your eyes, I ask that you send me to Jerusalem to
rebuild the city of my fathers." The king agreed and with
Nehemiah he sent captains and soldiers from his army.
When Nehemiah and
his men came to Jerusalem, they rested for three days. Then one
night Nehemiah took a few soldiers and rode around the broken down
walls. He found the broken stones lying in heaps. In some places
his horse could not even find a path.
In the morning,
Nehemiah told the rulers and the priests why he had come. When he
told how God had answered prayer in letter him come to Jerusalem,
the leaders said, "Let us arise and build the wall."
cleared out the rubbish and gathered huge stones. While some
worked on long stretches of the wall, others repaired the wall
that was in front of their homes..
Now Sanballat and
Tobiah were enemies of the Jews. When these two heard what was
going on in Jerusalem, they were very angry. If the city were
strengthened, they would not be able to get in and oppress the
people. Together the two planned every way the could to bother the
letters to Nehemiah, saying, "You have come to rebuild
Jerusalem and make yourself king over the city. Then you plan to
rebel against the king of Persia."
"I have not
come for such a purpose," Nehemiah replied and went on
with his work.
This only made
the enemies angrier. They planned next to attack Jerusalem. When
Nehemiah heard about their plan, he armed his men with swords and
spears. Some worked on the wall with one hand and held a spear in
the other. Night and day guards stood on the wall to watch for the
enemy. Because the enemy heard that the men of the city were
armed, they did not attack.
At last the walls
were finished, but the doors had not been put on the gates. Now
Sanballat and Tobiah decided to act friendly toward Nehemiah and
get him out of the city. They sent a messenger to tell Nehemiah,
"Come and meet with us in one of the villages on the
this was only a trick. "This work is important and I
cannot stop to meet with you," he said.
days of hard work, the entire wall was finished. How thankful the
people were for Nehemiah. He had encouraged them and helped them
to rebuild the all of their ruined city.