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Nehemiah 2:11-20

Context
Nehemiah Arrives in Jerusalem

2:11 So I came to Jerusalem. 1  When I had been there for three days, 2:12 I got up during the night, along with a few men who were with me. But I did not tell anyone what my God was putting on my heart to do for Jerusalem. There were no animals with me, except for the one 2  I was riding. 2:13 I proceeded through the Valley Gate by night, in the direction of the Well of the Dragons 3  and the Dung Gate, 4  inspecting 5  the walls of Jerusalem that had been breached and its gates that had been destroyed by fire. 2:14 I passed on to the Gate of the Well and the King’s Pool, where there was not enough room for my animal to pass with me. 2:15 I continued up the valley during the night, inspecting the wall. Then I turned back and came to the Valley Gate, and so returned. 2:16 The officials did not know where I had gone or what I had been doing, for up to this point I had not told any of the Jews or the priests or the nobles or the officials or the rest of the workers. 2:17 Then I said to them, “You see the problem that we have: Jerusalem is desolate and its gates are burned. Come on! Let’s rebuild the wall of Jerusalem so that this reproach will not continue.” 2:18 Then I related to them how the good hand of my God was on me and what 6  the king had said to me. Then they replied, “Let’s begin rebuilding right away!” 7  So they readied themselves 8  for this good project. 2:19 But when Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah the Ammonite official, and Geshem the Arab heard all this, 9  they derided us and expressed contempt toward us. They said, “What is this you are doing? Are you rebelling against the king?” 2:20 I responded to them by saying, “The God of heaven will prosper us. We his servants will start the rebuilding. 10  But you have no just or ancient right in Jerusalem.” 11 

1 map For location see Map5 B1; Map6 F3; Map7 E2; Map8 F2; Map10 B3; JP1 F4; JP2 F4; JP3 F4; JP4 F4.

2 tn Heb “the animal.”

3 tn Or “Well of the Serpents”; or “Well of the Jackals” (cf. ASV, NIV, NLT).

4 tn Or “Rubbish Gate” (so TEV); NASB “Refuse Gate”; NCV “Trash Gate”; CEV “Garbage Gate.”

5 tc For the MT reading שֹׂבֵר (sover, “inspecting”) the LXX erroneously has שֹׁבֵר (shover, “breaking”). However, further destruction of Jerusalem’s walls was obviously not a part of Nehemiah’s purpose.

6 tn Heb “the words of the king which he had spoken to me.”

7 tn Heb “Arise! Let us rebuild!”

8 tn Heb “strengthened their hands.”

9 tn The Hebrew text does not include the words “all this,” but they have been added in the translation for clarity.

10 tn Heb “will arise and build.” The idiom “arise and…” means to begin the action described by the second verb.

11 tn Heb “portion or right or remembrance.” The expression is probably a hendiatris: The first two nouns retain their full nominal function, while the third noun functions adjectivally (“right or remembrance” = “ancient right”).



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