Chapter 4

1Now it came to pass when Sanballat, and Tobiah, and the Arabs, and the Ammonites, and the Ashdodites heard that the wall of Jerusalem was repaired, that the people who were exposed had commenced to be closed in, that they became very angered.   אוַיְהִ֣י | כַּֽאֲשֶׁ֣ר שָׁמַ֣ע סַנְבַלַּ֡ט וְ֠טֽוֹבִיָּה וְהָֽעַרְבִ֨ים וְהָֽעַמֹּנִ֜ים וְהָֽאַשְׁדּוֹדִ֗ים כִּי־עָֽלְתָ֚ה אֲרוּכָה֙ לְחֹמ֣וֹת יְרֽוּשָׁלִַ֔ם כִּֽי־הֵחֵ֥לּוּ הַפְּרֻצִ֖ים לְהִסָּתֵ֑ם וַיִּ֥חַר לָהֶ֖ם מְאֹֽד:
was repaired: Heb. עָלְתָה אָרוּכָה, [lit. attained a cure,] that the wall was built.  
repaired: A [word having the] meaning of bandaging and healing.  
that the people who were exposed had commenced to be closed in: that the people of the city, who had heretofore been exposed without a wall, were now closed in by the building of the wall.  
2And they all banded together to come to wage war against Jerusalem and to wreak destruction therein.   בוַיִּקְשְׁר֚וּ כֻלָּם֙ יַחְדָּ֔ו לָב֖וֹא לְהִלָּחֵ֣ם בִּירֽוּשָׁלִָ֑ם וְלַֽעֲשׂ֥וֹת ל֖וֹ תּוֹעָֽה:
and to wreak destruction therein: to wreak upon the building of the wall ruin and destruction. It is like (Isa. 32:5): “… and to speak destructively (תּוֹעָה) about the Lord.”  
3And we prayed to our God, and we stationed a watch over them day and night because of them.   גוַנִּתְפַּלֵּ֖ל אֶל־אֱלֹהֵ֑ינוּ וַנַּֽעֲמִ֨יד מִשְׁמָ֧ר עֲלֵיהֶ֛ם יוֹמָ֥ם וָלַ֖יְלָה מִפְּנֵיהֶֽם:
over them: over the builders.  
because of them: because of the enemies.  
4And Judea said, "The porter's strength has failed, and there is much earth, and we cannot build the wall."   דוַיֹּ֣אמֶר יְהוּדָ֗ה כָּשַׁל֙ כֹּ֣חַ הַסַּבָּ֔ל וְהֶֽעָפָ֖ר הַרְבֵּ֑ה וַֽאֲ֙נַחְנוּ֙ לֹ֣א נוּכַ֔ל לִבְנ֖וֹת בַּחוֹמָֽה:
And Judea said: So were the people of Judea saying and complaining.  
The porter’s strength has failed: Those who bear and load the stones and the wood for the building of the wall have failed in their strength, for they have no more strength to build because of the enemies.  
and there is much earth: There is still much mud and clay to place into the wall, meaning that we still have much work, but we cannot build because of fear of the enemies.  
5And our adversaries said, "They will not know and they will not see until we come into their midst, and we shall slay them and stop the work."   הוַיֹּאמְר֣וּ צָרֵ֗ינוּ לֹ֚א יֵֽדְעוּ֙ וְלֹ֣א יִרְא֔וּ עַ֛ד אֲשֶׁר־נָב֥וֹא אֶל־תּוֹכָ֖ם וַֽהֲרַגְנ֑וּם וְהִשְׁבַּ֖תְנוּ אֶת־הַמְּלָאכָֽה:
And our adversaries said: Nehemiah proceeds to tell this.  
They will not know, and they will not see: So were our adversaries saying about us: “They will not know, and the Israelites will not recognize us until we come suddenly into their midst and kill them, and with this plot we will stop and curtail the building.”  
6Now it came to pass when the Jews who dwelt beside them came, that they said to us ten times, "From all the places that you shall return upon us."   ווַֽיְהִי֙ כַּֽאֲשֶׁר־בָּ֣אוּ הַיְּהוּדִ֔ים הַיּֽשְׁבִ֖ים אֶצְלָ֑ם וַיֹּ֚אמְרוּ לָ֙נוּ֙ עֶ֣שֶׂר פְּעָמִ֔ים מִכָּל־הַמְּקֹמ֖וֹת אֲשֶׁר־תָּשׁ֥וּבוּ עָלֵֽינוּ:
Now it came to pass when the Jews came: And now, the adversaries who had conspired together to wage war against us gathered with the Jews who were among them in their lands, and those Jews who had joined them came before the army, as is customary for soldiers to do, to speak to us, and in this manner the Jews conspired against the enemies. Now it came to pass when the Jews who dwelt beside them came, etc.  
that they said to us ten times: Those Jews warned us as many as ten times to wage war against our enemies because they were coming to war. And this is what they said to us, “From all the places, etc.” From all those places where you will be scattered while building the wall, here and there, be careful to assemble until you return upon us together to wage war against us.  
7So I stationed [mighty men] from below the place, from behind the wall on the bare rocks, and I stationed the people according to families, with their swords, their spears, and their bows.   זוָאַֽעֲמִ֞יד מִתַּחְתִּיּ֧וֹת לַמָּק֛וֹם מֵאַֽחֲרֵ֥י לַֽחוֹמָ֖ה בַּצְּחִיחִ֑ים (כתיב בַּצְּחִחִ֑יים) וָאַֽעֲמִ֚יד אֶת־הָעָם֙ לְמִשְׁפָּח֔וֹת עִם־חַרְבֹֽתֵיהֶ֛ם רָמְחֵיהֶ֖ם וְקַשְּׁתֹֽתֵיהֶֽם:
So I stationed from below… the wall: When I heard their words, I stationed [mighty men] from below that place around Jerusalem, from behind the wall of the city and on the bare rocks.  
according to families: of the people, of the mighty men among them with their weapons, to fight against our enemies when they would come.  
And I stationed from below, etc. and I stationed the people, etc.: This verse follows the pattern of (Exod. 4:9): “… and the water that you will take from the river will be… will become blood on the dry land;” (Ps. 92:10): “For behold, Your enemies, O Lord, for behold, Your enemies shall perish;” (Jud. 5:12): “Praise! Praise! Deborah. Praise! Praise! Utter a song;” (Ps. 115:1): “Not to us, O Lord, not to us.”  
8And I saw, and I arose, and I said to the nobles and to the prefects and to the rest of the people, "Do not be afraid of them; remember the great and awesome Lord, and fight for your brethren, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your households."   חוָאֵ֣רֶא וָֽאָק֗וּם וָֽאֹמַ֞ר אֶל־הַֽחֹרִ֚ים וְאֶל־הַסְּגָנִים֙ וְאֶל־יֶ֣תֶר הָעָ֔ם אַל־תִּֽירְא֖וּ מִפְּנֵיהֶ֑ם אֶת־אֲדֹנָ֞י הַגָּד֚וֹל וְהַנּוֹרָא֙ זְכֹ֔רוּ וְהִלָּֽחֲמ֗וּ עַל־אֲחֵיכֶם֙ בְּנֵיכֶ֣ם וּבְנֹֽתֵיכֶ֔ם נְשֵׁיכֶ֖ם וּבָֽתֵּיכֶֽם:
And I saw, and I arose: And when I saw the enemies coming, I arose to speak to the nobles and to the prefects to spur them to fight against our enemy.  
for your brethren: Heb. עַל אֲחֵיכֶם, for the sake of your brethren.  
9And it came to pass when our enemies heard that it had become known to us, that God had frustrated their counsel, that we all returned to the wall, each one to his work.   טוַיְהִ֞י כַּֽאֲשֶׁר־שָֽׁמְע֚וּ אוֹיְבֵ֙ינוּ֙ כִּי־נ֣וֹדַע לָ֔נוּ וַיָּ֥פֶר הָֽאֱלֹהִ֖ים אֶת־עֲצָתָ֑ם וַנָּ֚שָׁב (כתיב וַנָּ֚שָׁוב) כֻּלָּ֙נוּ֙ אֶל־הַ֣חוֹמָ֔ה אִ֖ישׁ אֶל־מְלַאכְתּֽוֹ:
that it had become known to us: that they were coming to fight against us.  
and we all returned: We all returned from the place where we had gathered to meet the enemies, each one to his work in the building of the wall.  
10And it was from that day on, half of my youths did work and half of them held spears, shields, bows, and coats of mail, and the rulers were behind the entire House of Judah.   יוַיְהִ֣י | מִן־הַיּ֣וֹם הַה֗וּא חֲצִ֣י נְעָרַי֘ עֹשִׂ֣ים בַּמְּלָאכָה֒ וְחֶצְיָ֗ם מַֽחֲזִיקִים֙ וְהָֽרְמָחִ֣ים הַמָּֽגִנִּ֔ים וְהַקְּשָׁת֖וֹת וְהַשִּׁרְיֹנִ֑ים וְהַ֨שָּׂרִ֔ים אַֽחֲרֵ֖י כָּל־בֵּ֥ית יְהוּדָֽה:
And it was from that day on: And from that day on, half the mighty men worked at the building of the wall, and the remaining half of the mighty men were armed with weapons to guard their brethren who were doing the work.  
spears: Heb. וְהָרְמָחִים. The “vav” is superfluous, like the “vav” of (Gen. 36:24): “And these are the sons of Zibeon: Aiah (וְאַיָה) and Anah.”  
and the rulers: were close behind the entire tribe of Judah to be cautious in the battle.  
11The builders of the wall and the carriers of the loads were loading, with one hand doing the work and one holding the sword.   יאהַבּוֹנִ֧ים בַּחוֹמָ֛ה וְהַנֹּֽשְׂאִ֥ים בַּסֵּ֖בֶל עֹֽמְשִׂ֑ים בְּאַחַ֚ת יָדוֹ֙ עֹשֶׂ֣ה בַמְּלָאכָ֔ה וְאַחַ֖ת מַֽחֲזֶ֥קֶת הַשָּֽׁלַח:
The builders of the wall, etc.: Those who were building the wall and those who were loading and carrying the loads were working with one hand, and carrying weapons with the other.  
the sword: Heb. הַשָּׁלַח, an implement of war, like (Job 33:18): "… from perishing by the sword (מֵעֲבֹר בַּשָּׁלַח). And so did Menahem associate it (Machbereth Menahem p. 174).  
12And the builders, each one with his sword bound to his waist, and [they were] building, and the one who sounded the shofar was beside me.   יבוְהַ֨בּוֹנִ֔ים אִ֥ישׁ חַרְבּ֛וֹ אֲסוּרִ֥ים עַל־מָתְנָ֖יו וּבוֹנִ֑ים וְהַתּוֹקֵ֥עַ בַּשּׁוֹפָ֖ר אֶצְלִֽי:
And the builders: How were they building? They were all girded, each one with his sword on his waist, and thus did they build.  
beside me: He was always beside me.  
13And I said to the nobles and to the prefects and to the rest of the people, "There is much work, and [it is] widespread, and we are separated on the wall, one far from the other.   יגוָֽאֹמַ֞ר אֶל־הַחֹֽרִ֚ים וְאֶל־הַסְּגָנִים֙ וְאֶל־יֶ֣תֶר הָעָ֔ם הַמְּלָאכָ֥ה הַרְבֵּ֖ה וּרְחָבָ֑ה וַֽאֲנַ֗חְנוּ נִפְרָדִים֙ עַל־הַ֣חוֹמָ֔ה רְחוֹקִ֖ים אִ֥ישׁ מֵֽאָחִֽיו:
much: Heb. הַרְבֵּה, a great [amount of work].  
14In the place that you will hear the sound of the shofar, there you shall gather to us; our God will fight for us."   ידבִּמְק֞וֹם אֲשֶׁ֚ר תִּשְׁמְעוּ֙ אֶת־ק֣וֹל הַשּׁוֹפָ֔ר שָׁ֖מָּה תִּקָּֽבְצ֣וּ אֵלֵ֑ינוּ אֱלֹהֵ֖ינוּ יִלָּ֥חֶם לָֽנוּ:
will fight for us: [as translated,] will fight for us.  
15And we were doing work, and half of them were holding spears from the rise of dawn until the emergence of the stars.   טווַֽאֲנַ֖חְנוּ עֹשִׂ֣ים בַּמְּלָאכָ֑ה וְחֶצְיָ֗ם מַֽחֲזִיקִים֙ בָּֽרְמָחִ֔ים מֵֽעֲל֣וֹת הַשַּׁ֔חַר עַ֖ד צֵ֥את הַכּוֹכָבִֽים:
16Also at that time I said to the people, "Let each man and his youth lodge in the midst of Jerusalem, and the night will be for our watch and the day for work."   טזגַּ֣ם בָּעֵ֚ת הַהִיא֙ אָמַ֣רְתִּי לָעָ֔ם אִ֣ישׁ וְנַֽעֲר֔וֹ יָלִ֖ינוּ בְּת֣וֹךְ יְרֽוּשָׁלִָ֑ם וְהָֽיוּ־לָ֧נוּ הַלַּ֛יְלָה מִשְׁמָ֖ר וְהַיּ֥וֹם מְלָאכָֽה:
Let each man and his youth: each of the builders and a youth with him.  
lodge in the midst of Jerusalem: And the night was for their watch, and [during] the day they were doing work. The result was that they did not sleep at all.  
17And I, and my brothers, and my youths, and the men of the watch who followed me-we did not take off our clothes; no man took it even to the water.   יזוְאֵ֨ין אֲנִ֜י וְאַחַ֣י וּנְעָרַ֗י וְאַנְשֵׁ֚י הַמִּשְׁמָר֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר אַֽחֲרַ֔י אֵֽין־אֲנַ֥חְנוּ פֹֽשְׁטִ֖ים בְּגָדֵ֑ינוּ אִ֖ישׁ שִׁלְח֥וֹ הַמָּֽיִם:
we did not take off our clothes: We were always zealous in guarding.  
man took it even to the water: This refers back to “not” above, like (I Sam. 2:3): “… let not arrogance come out of your mouth.” None of us would take off his clothes to lie down or to wash them with water, and this is a double expression, [repeating,] we did not undress.  
took it off: Heb. שִּׁלְחוֹ, taking off, like (Lev. 6:4): “He shall then take off his garments,” which is translated by Targum as וְיִשְּׁלַח.