6 So we rebuilt the wall, and all the wall was joined together to half its height; for the people had a mind to work.
10 But Judah said, The strength of the burden-bearers is failing, and there is too much rubbish, so that we are unable to work on the wall. 11And our enemies said, They will not know or see anything before we come upon them and kill them and stop the work. 12When the Jews who lived near them came, they said to us ten times, From all the places where they live* they will come up against us.* 13So in the lowest parts of the space behind the wall, in open places, I stationed the people according to their families,* with their swords, their spears, and their bows. 14After I looked these things over, I stood up and said to the nobles and the officials and the rest of the people, Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your kin, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes.
15 When our enemies heard that their plot was known to us, and that God had frustrated it, we all returned to the wall, each to his work. 16From that day on, half of my servants worked on construction, and half held the spears, shields, bows, and body-armour; and the leaders posted themselves behind the whole house of Judah, 17who were building the wall. The burden-bearers carried their loads in such a way that each laboured on the work with one hand and with the other held a weapon. 18And each of the builders had his sword strapped at his side while he built. The man who sounded the trumpet was beside me. 19And I said to the nobles, the officials, and the rest of the people, The work is great and widely spread out, and we are separated far from one another on the wall. 20Rally to us wherever you hear the sound of the trumpet. Our God will fight for us.
21 So we laboured at the work, and half of them held the spears from break of dawn until the stars came out. 22I also said to the people at that time, Let every man and his servant pass the night inside Jerusalem, so that they may be a guard for us by night and may labour by day. 23So neither I nor my brothers nor my servants nor the men of the guard who followed me ever took off our clothes; each kept his weapon in his right hand.*
The New Revised Standard Version (Anglicized Edition), copyright 1989, 1995 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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10 February 2011