5 Then there was a great outcry from the people and their wives against their fellow Jews. 1 2 There were those who said, “With our sons and daughters, we are many. We must obtain 2 grain in order to eat and stay alive.” 3 There were others who said, “We are putting up our fields, our vineyards, and our houses as collateral in order to obtain grain during the famine.” 4 Then there were those who said, “We have borrowed money to pay our taxes to the king 3 on our fields and our vineyards. 5 And now, though we share the same flesh and blood as our fellow countrymen, 4 and our children are just like their children, 5 still we have found it necessary to subject our sons and daughters to slavery. 6 Some of our daughters have been subjected to slavery, while we are powerless to help, 7 since our fields and vineyards now belong to other people.” 8
6 I was very angry when I heard their outcry and these complaints. 9 7 I considered these things carefully 10 and then registered a complaint with the wealthy 11 and the officials. I said to them, “Each one of you is seizing the collateral 12 from your own countrymen!” 13 Because of them I called for 14 a great public assembly. 8 I said to them, “To the extent possible we have bought back our fellow Jews 15 who had been sold to the Gentiles. But now you yourselves want to sell your own countrymen, 16 so that we can then buy them back!” They were utterly silent, and could find nothing to say.
9 Then I 17 said, “The thing that you are doing is wrong! 18 Should you not conduct yourselves 19 in the fear of our God in order to avoid the reproach of the Gentiles who are our enemies? 10 Even I and my relatives 20 and my associates 21 are lending them money and grain. But let us abandon this practice of seizing collateral! 22 11 This very day return to them their fields, their vineyards, their olive trees, and their houses, along with the interest 23 that you are exacting from them on the money, the grain, the new wine, and the olive oil.”
12 They replied, “We will return these things, 24 and we will no longer demand anything from them. We will do just as you say.” Then I called the priests and made the wealthy and the officials 25 swear to do what had been promised. 26 13 I also shook out my garment, 27 and I said, “In this way may God shake out from his house and his property every person who does not carry out 28 this matter. In this way may he be shaken out and emptied!” All the assembly replied, “So be it!” and they praised the LORD. Then the people did as they had promised. 29
14 From the day that I was appointed 30 governor 31 in the land of Judah, that is, from the twentieth year until the thirty-second year of King Artaxerxes – twelve years in all – neither I nor my relatives 32 ate the food allotted to the governor. 33 15 But the former governors who preceded me had burdened the people and had taken food and wine from them, in addition to 34 forty shekels of silver. Their associates were also domineering over the people. But I did not behave in this way, due to my fear of God. 16 I gave myself to the work on this wall, without even purchasing 35 a field. All my associates were gathered there for the work.
17 There were 150 Jews and officials who dined with me routinely, 36 in addition to those who came to us from the nations 37 all around us. 18 Every day one ox, six select sheep, and some birds were prepared for me, and every ten days all kinds of wine in abundance. Despite all this I did not require the food allotted to the governor, for the work was demanding on this people.
19 Please remember me for good, O my God, for all that I have done for this people.
6 When Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem the Arab, and the rest of our enemies heard that I had rebuilt the wall and no breach remained in it (even though up to that time I had not positioned doors in the gates), 2 Sanballat and Geshem sent word to me saying, “Come on! Let’s set up a time to meet together at Kephirim 1 in the plain of Ono.” Now they intended to do me harm.
3 So I sent messengers to them saying, “I am engaged in 2 an important work, and I am unable to come down. Why should the work come to a halt when I leave it to come down to you?” 4 They contacted 3 me four times in this way, and I responded the same way each time. 4
5 The fifth time that Sanballat sent his assistant to me in this way, he had an open letter in his hand. 6 Written in it were the following words:
“Among the nations it is rumored 5 (and Geshem 6 has substantiated 7 this) that you and the Jews have intentions of revolting, and for this reason you are building the wall. Furthermore, according to these rumors 8 you are going to become their king. 7 You have also established prophets to announce 9 in Jerusalem 10 on your behalf, ‘We have a king in Judah!’ Now the king is going to hear about these rumors. So come on! Let’s talk about this.” 11
8 I sent word back to him, “We are not engaged in these activities you are describing. 12 All of this is a figment of your imagination.” 13
9 All of them were wanting 14 to scare us, supposing, “Their hands will grow slack from the work, and it won’t get done.”
So now, strengthen my hands! 15
10 Then I went to the house of Shemaiah son of Delaiah, the son of Mehetabel. He was confined to his home. 16 He said, “Let’s set up a time to meet in the house of God, within the temple. Let’s close the doors of the temple, for they are coming to kill you. It will surely be at night that they will come to kill you.”
11 But I replied, “Should a man like me run away? Would someone like me flee to the temple in order to save his life? 17 I will not go!” 12 I recognized the fact that God had not sent him, for he had spoken the prophecy against me as a hired agent of Tobiah and Sanballat. 18 13 He had been hired to scare me so that I would do this and thereby sin. They would thus bring reproach on me and I 19 would be discredited. 20
14 Remember, O my God, Tobiah and Sanballat in light of these actions of theirs – also Noadiah the prophetess and the other prophets who were trying to scare me!
15 So the wall was completed on the twenty-fifth day of Elul, in just fifty-two days. 16 When all our enemies heard and all the nations who were around us saw 21 this, they were greatly disheartened. 22 They knew that this work had been accomplished with the help of our God.
17 In those days the aristocrats of Judah repeatedly sent letters to Tobiah, and responses from Tobiah were repeatedly coming to them. 18 For many in Judah had sworn allegiance to him, 23 because he was the son-in-law of Shecaniah son of Arah. His son Jonathan had married the daughter of Meshullam son of Berechiah. 19 They were telling me about his good deeds and then taking back to him the things I said. 24 Tobiah, on the other hand, sent letters in order to scare 25 me.
7 When the wall had been rebuilt and I had positioned the doors, and the gatekeepers, the singers, and the Levites had been appointed, 2 I then put in charge over Jerusalem 1 my brother Hanani and Hananiah 2 the chief of the citadel, for he was a faithful man and feared God more than many do. 3 I 3 said to them, “The gates of Jerusalem must not be opened in the early morning, 4 until those who are standing guard close the doors and lock them. 5 Position residents of Jerusalem as guards, some at their guard stations and some near their homes.” 4 Now the city was spread out 6 and large, and there were not a lot of people in it. 7 At that time houses had not been rebuilt. 5 My God placed it on my heart to gather the leaders, 8 the officials, and the ordinary people so they could be enrolled on the basis of genealogy. I found the genealogical records 9 of those who had formerly returned. Here is what I found written in that record: 10
6 These are the people 11 of the province who returned 12 from the captivity of the exiles, whom King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon had forced into exile. 13 They returned to Jerusalem and to Judah, each to his own city. 7 They came with Zerubbabel, Jeshua, Nehemiah, Azariah, Raamiah, Nahamani, Mordecai, Bilshan, Mispereth, Bigvai, Nehum, and Baanah.
The number of Israelite men 14 was as follows:
8 the descendants 15 of Parosh, 2,172;
9 the descendants of Shephatiah, 372;
10 the descendants of Arah, 652;
11 the descendants of Pahath-Moab (from the line 16 of Jeshua and Joab), 2,818;
12 the descendants of Elam, 1,254;
13 the descendants of Zattu, 845;
14 the descendants of Zaccai, 760;
15 the descendants of Binnui, 648;
16 the descendants of Bebai, 628;
17 the descendants of Azgad, 2,322;
18 the descendants of Adonikam, 667;
19 the descendants of Bigvai, 2,067;
20 the descendants of Adin, 655;
21 the descendants of Ater (through Hezekiah), 98;
22 the descendants of Hashum, 328;
23 the descendants of Bezai, 324;
24 the descendants of Harif, 112;
25 the descendants of Gibeon, 95;
26 The men of Bethlehem 17 and Netophah, 188;
27 the men of Anathoth, 128;
28 the men of the family 18 of Azmaveth, 42;
29 the men of Kiriath Jearim, Kephirah, and Beeroth, 743;
30 the men of Ramah and Geba, 621;
31 the men of Micmash, 122;
32 the men of Bethel 19 and Ai, 123;
33 the men of the other Nebo, 52;
34 the descendants of the other Elam, 1,254;
35 the descendants of Harim, 320;
36 the descendants of Jericho, 345;
37 the descendants of Lod, Hadid, and Ono, 721;
38 the descendants of Senaah, 3,930.
39 The priests:
the descendants of Jedaiah (through the family 20 of Jeshua), 973;
40 the descendants of Immer, 1,052;
41 the descendants of Pashhur, 1,247;
42 the descendants of Harim, 1,017.
43 The Levites:
the descendants of Jeshua (through Kadmiel, through the line of Hodaviah), 74.
44 The singers:
the descendants of Asaph, 148.
45 The gatekeepers:
the descendants of Shallum, the descendants of Ater, the descendants of Talmon, the descendants of Akkub, the descendants of Hatita, and the descendants of Shobai, 138.
46 The temple servants:
the descendants of Ziha, the descendants of Hasupha, the descendants of Tabbaoth, 47 the descendants of Keros, the descendants of Sia, the descendants of Padon, 48 the descendants of Lebanah, the descendants of Hagabah, the descendants of Shalmai, 49 the descendants of Hanan, the descendants of Giddel, the descendants of Gahar, 50 the descendants of Reaiah, the descendants of Rezin, the descendants of Nekoda, 51 the descendants of Gazzam, the descendants of Uzzah, the descendants of Paseah, 52 the descendants of Besai, the descendants of Meunim, the descendants of Nephussim, 53 the descendants of Bakbuk, the descendants of Hakupha, the descendants of Harhur, 54 the descendants of Bazluth, the descendants of Mehida, the descendants of Harsha, 55 the descendants of Barkos, the descendants of Sisera, the descendants of Temah, 56 the descendants of Neziah, the descendants of Hatipha.
57 The descendants of the servants of Solomon:
the descendants of Sotai, the descendants of Sophereth, the descendants of Perida, 58 the descendants of Jaala, the descendants of Darkon, the descendants of Giddel, 59 the descendants of Shephatiah, the descendants of Hattil, the descendants of Pokereth-Hazzebaim, and the descendants of Amon.
60 All the temple servants and the descendants of the servants of Solomon, 392.
61 These are the ones who came up from Tel Melah, Tel Harsha, Kerub, Addon, and Immer (although they were unable to certify 21 their family connection 22 or their ancestry, 23 as to whether they were really from Israel):
62 the descendants of Delaiah, the descendants of Tobiah, and the descendants of Nekoda, 642.
63 And from among the priests: the descendants of Hobaiah, the descendants of Hakkoz, and the descendants of Barzillai (who had married a woman from the daughters of Barzillai the Gileadite and was called by that name). 64 They searched for their records in the genealogical materials, but none were found. They were therefore excluded 24 from the priesthood. 65 The governor 25 instructed them not to eat any of the sacred food until there was a priest who could consult 26 the Urim and Thummim.
66 The entire group numbered 42,360, 67 not counting their 7,337 male and female servants. They also had 245 male and female singers. 68 They had 736 horses, 245 mules, 69 27 435 camels, and 6,720 donkeys. 70 Some of the family leaders 28 contributed to the work. The governor contributed to the treasury 1,000 gold drachmas, 29 50 bowls, and 530 priestly garments. 71 Some of the family leaders gave to the project treasury 20,000 gold drachmas and 2,200 silver minas. 72 What the rest of the people gave amounted to 20,000 gold drachmas, 2,000 silver minas, and 67 priestly garments.
73 The priests, the Levites, the gatekeepers, the singers, some of the people, the temple servants, and all the rest of Israel lived in their cities.
When the seventh month arrived and the Israelites 30 were settled in their cities, 31