Chapter 6

1Now it came to pass, when it was heard by Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem the Arab, and the rest of our enemies that I had built the wall, and that no breach was left therein; also that until that time I had not erected doors in the gates.   אוַיְהִ֣י כַֽאֲשֶׁ֣ר נִשְׁמַ֣ע לְסַנְבַלַּ֣ט וְ֠טֽוֹבִיָּה וּלְגֶ֨שֶׁם הָֽעַרְבִ֜י וּלְיֶ֣תֶר אֹֽיְבֵ֗ינוּ כִּ֚י בָנִ֙יתִי֙ אֶת־הַ֣חוֹמָ֔ה וְלֹא־נ֥וֹתַר בָּ֖הּ פָּ֑רֶץ גַּם עַד־הָעֵ֣ת הַהִ֔יא דְּלָת֖וֹת לֹא־הֶֽעֱמַ֥דְתִּי בַשְּׁעָרִֽים:
and no breach was left therein: in the wall of the city.  
I had not erected: that doors were not made in the gates of the city.  
2Then Sanballat and Geshem sent to me, saying, "Come and let us meet together in Kefirim in the Valley of Ono"; and they were plotting to do me harm.   בוַיִּשְׁלַ֨ח סַנְבַלַּ֚ט וְגֶ֙שֶׁם֙ אֵלַ֣י לֵאמֹ֔ר לְכָ֕ה וְנִֽוָּֽעֲדָ֥ה יַחְדָּ֛ו בַּכְּפִירִ֖ים בְּבִקְעַ֣ת אוֹנ֑וֹ וְהֵ֙מָּה֙ חֹֽשְׁבִ֔ים לַֽעֲשׂ֥וֹת לִ֖י רָעָֽה:
in Kefirim: This is a name of a place.  
[which is] in the Valley of Ono: That is the name of the valley.  
and they were plotting: against me. I understood from them that they were plotting against me to assassinate me there.  
3And I sent messengers to them, saying, "I am doing great work, and I cannot go down. Why should the work stop when I leave it and come down to you?"   גוָֽאֶשְׁלְחָ֨ה עֲלֵיהֶ֚ם מַלְאָכִים֙ לֵאמֹ֔ר מְלָאכָ֚ה גְדוֹלָה֙ אֲנִ֣י עֹשֶׂ֔ה וְלֹ֥א אוּכַ֖ל לָרֶ֑דֶת לָ֣מָּה תִשְׁבַּ֚ת הַמְּלָאכָה֙ כַּֽאֲשֶׁ֣ר אַרְפֶּ֔הָ וְיָֽרַדְתִּ֖י אֲלֵיכֶֽם:
"I am doing great work: of the buildings (of the city); other editions read: [of the buildings] of dust.  
Why should… stop: Why should the work be curtailed?  
when I leave it: Heb. אַרְפֶּהָ, lit. [slacken] my hand from the building.  
and come down to you: to speak with and to meet with you.  
4And they sent to me four times according to this wording, and I answered them according to this wording.   דוַיִּשְׁלְח֥וּ אֵלַ֛י כַּדָּבָ֥ר הַזֶּ֖ה אַרְבַּ֣ע פְּעָמִ֑ים וָֽאָשִׁ֥יב אוֹתָ֖ם כַּדָּבָ֥ר הַזֶּֽה:
5Then Sanballat sent to me according to this wording a fifth time with his servant, and an open letter was in his hand.   הוַיִּשְׁלַח֩ אֵלַ֨י סַנְבַלַּ֜ט כַּדָּבָ֥ר הַזֶּ֛ה פַּ֥עַם חֲמִישִׁ֖ית אֶת־נַֽעֲר֑וֹ וְאִגֶּ֥רֶת פְּתוּחָ֖ה בְּיָדֽוֹ:
with his servant: through his servant.  
and an open letter was in his hand: He sent me a written letter through him.  
6It was written in it, "It is heard among the nations, and Gashmu says that you and the Jews are plotting to rebel; therefore, you are building the wall, and you are their king." According to these words,   וכָּת֣וּב בָּ֗הּ בַּגּוֹיִ֚ם נִשְׁמָע֙ וְגַשְׁמ֣וּ אֹמֵ֔ר אַתָּ֚ה וְהַיְּהוּדִים֙ חֹֽשְׁבִ֣ים לִמְר֔וֹד עַל־כֵּ֛ן אַתָּ֥ה בוֹנֶ֖ה הַֽחוֹמָ֑ה וְאַתָּ֗ה הוֶֹ֚ה לָהֶם֙ לְמֶ֔לֶךְ כַּדְּבָרִ֖ים הָאֵֽלֶּה:
It was written in it: in that letter.  
It is heard among the nations: that it is known to all the nations that you and all the Jews are plotting to rebel.  
and Gashmu says: Gashmu is Geshem the Arab, and its interpretation is like a man who says to his friend, “This is the matter, and so-and-so says.”  
according to these words: This refers back to the text, and it is a transposed verse. It is as though it was written, “According to these words was heard among the nations, etc.”  
7"You have also set up speakers to call upon you in Jerusalem, saying, 'There is a king in Judea,' and now it will be reported to the king according to these words; so let us come and take counsel together."   זוְגַם־נְבִיאִ֡ים הֶֽעֱמַ֣דְתָּ לִקְרֹא֩ עָלֶ֨יךָ בִירֽוּשָׁלִַ֜ם לֵאמֹ֗ר מֶלֶךְ בִּֽיהוּדָ֔ה וְעַתָּה֙ יִשָּׁמַ֣ע לַמֶּ֔לֶךְ כַּדְּבָרִ֣ים הָאֵ֑לֶּה וְעַתָּ֣ה לְכָ֔ה וְנִוָּֽעֲצָ֖ה יַחְדָּֽו:
… also… speakers: Until “… and take counsel together” was written in the letter.  
speakers: Heb. נְבִיאִים, speakers, like (Isa. 57:19): “I created the speech (נִיב) of the lips.”  
saying: who say that there is a king in Judea.  
and now it will be reported to the king: After you have been called king, it will be reported to the king according to these words.  
8So I sent to him, saying, "Such as these words that you say never happened; you are inventing them from your heart.   חוָֽאֶשְׁלְחָ֚ה אֵלָיו֙ לֵאמֹ֔ר לֹ֚א נִֽהְיָה֙ כַּדְּבָרִ֣ים הָאֵ֔לֶּה אֲשֶׁ֖ר אַתָּ֣ה אוֹמֵ֑ר כִּ֥י מִֽלִּבְּךָ֖ אַתָּ֥ה בוֹדָֽם (כתיב בוֹדָֽאם) :
from your heart: Heb. כִּי. This כִּי is in place of אֶלָּא, but.  
invent them: contro(u)ves eles in Old French; you are concocting them, like (I Kings 12:33): “… that he had fabricated (בָּדָה) from his heart.”  
9For they all fear us, saying, 'Let their hands be slackened from the work, and let it not be done,' and now, strengthen my hands."   טכִּ֣י כֻלָּ֗ם מְיָֽרְאִ֚ים אוֹתָ֙נוּ֙ לֵאמֹ֔ר יִרְפּ֧וּ יְדֵיהֶ֛ם מִן־הַמְּלָאכָ֖ה וְלֹ֣א תֵֽעָשֶׂ֑ה וְעַתָּ֖ה חַזֵּ֥ק אֶת־יָדָֽי:
For they all: for all the nations.  
fear us: Heb. מְיָרְאִים. They fear us, and so they say, “Let their hands be slackened, etc.”  
and now, strengthen my hands: to help me with the building of the wall.  
10And I came to the house of Shemaiah the son of Delaiah, the son of Mehetabel, and he was confined, and he said, "Let us meet in the House of God, in the midst of the Temple, and let us close the doors of the Temple, for they are coming to assassinate you; tonight they are coming to assassinate you."   יוַֽאֲנִ֣י בָ֗אתִי בֵּ֣ית שְׁמַֽעְיָ֧ה בֶן־דְּלָיָ֛ה בֶּן־מְהֵֽיטַבְאֵ֖ל וְה֣וּא עָצ֑וּר וַיֹּ֡אמֶר נִוָּעֵד֩ אֶל־בֵּ֨ית הָֽאֱלֹהִ֜ים אֶל־תּ֣וֹךְ הַֽהֵיכָ֗ל וְנִסְגְּרָה֙ דַּלְת֣וֹת הַֽהֵיכָ֔ל כִּי בָּאִ֣ים לְהָרְגֶ֔ךָ וְלַ֖יְלָה בָּאִ֥ים לְהָרְגֶֽךָ:
and he was confined: for he found him at home.  
and he said, "Let us meet: Shemaiah was a false prophet who had received a bribe from Sanballat and his colleagues to frighten Nehemiah in order to stop the work.  
for they are coming to assassinate you: for Sanballat and his colleagues will come to assassinate you.  
and tonight they are coming: Therefore, he warned him to enter the Temple and to close the doors about himself, because the doors of the gates of the city had not been made, as it says at the beginning of the chapter (verse 1): “Also that until that time, I had not erected doors in the gates.”  
11So I said to him, "Will a man like me flee? And who is like me who will enter the Temple and live? I will not enter. "   יאוָאֹֽמְרָ֗ה הַאִ֚ישׁ כָּמ֙וֹנִי֙ יִבְרָ֔ח וּמִ֥י כָמ֛וֹנִי אֲשֶׁר־יָבֹ֥א אֶל־הַֽהֵיכָ֖ל וָחָ֑י לֹ֖א אָבֽוֹא:
Will a man like me flee: This is a question: Will a man like me flee to enter the Temple?  
I will not enter: I will not enter there because of fear of death, and I will not transgress the commandments of the Holy One, blessed be He, that a stranger (a non-Kohen) may not enter His Temple.  
12And I discerned, and behold, God had not sent him, for he spoke prophecy concerning me, and Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him.   יבוָֽאַכִּ֕ירָה וְהִנֵּ֥ה לֹֽא־אֱלֹהִ֖ים שְׁלָח֑וֹ כִּ֚י הַנְּבוּאָה֙ דִּבֶּ֣ר עָלַ֔י וְטֽוֹבִיָּ֥ה וְסַנְבַלַּ֖ט שְׂכָרֽוֹ:
And I discerned: I discerned in his words that the Holy One, blessed be He, had not sent him on this mission, but that he wanted me to commit a transgression because of fear of death.  
for he spoke prophesy concerning me: for he spoke these words concerning me in the name of prophecy.  
had hired him: Heb. שְּׂכָרוֹ. Each one of them had hired him and given him pay to frighten me and to curtail the building of the wall.  
13For this he was hired, in order that I fear and do so and sin, so that they should have this for a scandal in order to reproach me.   יגלְמַ֚עַן שָׂכוּר֙ ה֔וּא לְמַֽעַן־אִירָ֥א וְאֶֽעֱשֶׂה־כֵּ֖ן וְחָטָ֑אתִי וְהָיָ֚ה לָהֶם֙ לְשֵׁ֣ם רָ֔ע לְמַ֖עַן יְחָֽרְפֽוּנִי:
Because he was hired: he told me these things.  
in order that I fear: in order that I fear them, to do this to enter the Temple and sin.  
so that they should have this for a scandal: in order that they should have this as a scandal to reproach me with this sin.  
14Remember, my God, Tobiah and Sanballat according to these their deeds, and also Noadiah the prophetess and the rest of the prophets who were frightening me.   ידזָכְרָ֧ה אֱלֹהַ֛י לְטֽוֹבִיָּ֥ה וּלְסַנְבַלַּ֖ט כְּמַֽעֲשָׂ֣יו אֵ֑לֶּה וְגַ֨ם לְנֽוֹעַדְיָ֚ה הַנְּבִיאָה֙ וּלְיֶ֣תֶר הַנְּבִיאִ֔ים אֲשֶׁ֥ר הָי֖וּ מְיָֽרְאִ֥ים אוֹתִֽי:
and also Noadiah the prophetess: She and the rest of the false prophets received pay from Sanballat and his cohorts in order to frighten me with their false prophecies.  
15The wall was completed on the twenty-fifth of Ellul, after fifty-two days.   טווַתִּשְׁלַם֙ הַֽחוֹמָ֔ה בְּעֶשְׂרִ֥ים וַֽחֲמִשָּׁ֖ה לֶֽאֱל֑וּל לַֽחֲמִשִּׁ֥ים וּשְׁנַ֖יִם יֽוֹם:
on the twenty-fifth: day of the month of Ellul, in the twentieth year of King Darius, for in the twentieth year of Darius, Nehemiah went up from Babylon, and in that year he built the ruins of Jerusalem.  
after fifty-two days: The construction of the wall was completed fifty-two days after they had started building it.  
16Now it came to pass when all our enemies heard that, all the nations around us became frightened, and they fell very low in their own eyes, and they knew that this work had been performed by our God.   טזוַיְהִ֗י כַּֽאֲשֶׁ֚ר שָֽׁמְעוּ֙ כָּל־א֣וֹיְבֵ֔ינוּ וַיִּֽרְא֗וּ כָּל־הַגּוֹיִם֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר סְבִֽיבֹתֵ֔ינוּ וַיִּפְּל֥וּ מְאֹ֖ד בְּעֵֽינֵיהֶ֑ם וַיֵּ֣דְע֔וּ כִּי מֵאֵ֣ת אֱלֹהֵ֔ינוּ נֶֽעֶשְׂתָ֖ה הַמְּלָאכָ֥ה הַזֹּֽאת:
Now it came to pass when all our enemies heard: this matter, that the construction of the wall was completed.  
that all the nations became frightened: when all the nations saw that the construction of the wall of the city had been completed.  
and they fell very low in their own eyes: They themselves fell in their own eyes; they despised themselves, for the fear of the Jews had fallen upon them.  
17Even in those days, the rulers of Judea increasingly sent their letters to Tobiah, and Tobiah's were coming to them.   יזגַּ֣ם | בַּיָּמִ֣ים הָהֵ֗ם מַרְבִּ֞ים חֹרֵ֚י יְהוּדָה֙ אִגְּרֹ֣תֵיהֶ֔ם הֽוֹלְכ֖וֹת עַל־טֽוֹבִיָּ֑ה וַֽאֲשֶׁ֥ר לְטֽוֹבִיָּ֖ה בָּא֥וֹת אֲלֵיהֶֽם:
the rulers of Judea: Heb. חֹרֵי, the princes of Judea.  
to Tobiah: Heb. עַל-טוֹבִיָה. He was a renegade Israelite.  
and Tobiah’s: i.e., Tobiah’s letters.  
18For many in Judea were his confederates, for he was the son-in-law of Shechaniah the son of Arah, and Jehohanan his son had married the daughter of Meshullam the son of Berechiah.   יחכִּֽי־רַבִּ֣ים בִּֽיהוּדָ֗ה בַּֽעֲלֵ֚י שְׁבוּעָה֙ ל֔וֹ כִּי־חָתָ֥ן ה֖וּא לִשְׁכַנְיָ֣ה בֶן־אָרַ֑ח וִיהֽוֹחָנָ֣ן בְּנ֔וֹ לָקַ֕ח אֶת־בַּת־מְשֻׁלָּ֖ם בֶּ֥ן בֶּֽרֶכְיָֽה:
For many in Judea: Heb. רַבִּים, who were great rulers in Judea, were partners in a covenant and an oath with him.  
for he was the son-in-law: Tobiah [was the son-in-law] of Shechaniah.  
and Jehohanan his son: [the son] of Tobiah.  
the daughter of Meshullam: Meshullam was a great man and a ruler.  
19They also spoke of his good qualities before me, and they divulged my words to him; Tobiah sent letters to frighten me.   יטגַּ֣ם טֽוֹבֹתָ֗יו הָי֚וּ אֹֽמְרִים֙ לְפָנַ֔י וּדְבָרַ֕י הָי֥וּ מֽוֹצִיאִ֖ים ל֑וֹ אִגְּר֛וֹת שָׁלַ֥ח טֽוֹבִיָּ֖ה לְיָֽרְאֵ֖נִי:
also of his good qualities: His confederates and his kinsmen would speak of them before me.  
his good qualities: Heb. טוֹבֹתָיו ses proezes, in Old French, his gallant exploits.  
they divulged to him: to tell Tobiah.  
Tobiah sent letters: He constantly sent letters to frighten me so that we would not build the wall.