4th day, Av, Year 20
I’m glad I took my midnight ride before I told the city leaders about my plan to rebuild the wall. After I spoke to them, they became convinced that this was God’s will. The cooperation of the priests has really helped move this project forward. They and the nobles have beautifully organized themselves. The nobles have organized the people into companies. Each company is responsible for rebuilding a section of the wall or one of the gates.
Most of the companies are made up of family, city/district, or professional groups. One man who has no sons brought his daughters to help build. The merchants, goldsmiths, and Temple servants are the most active of the professionals.
Some people, especially the priests, have taken responsibility for rebuilding near their homes and in their districts. All the groups work side by side, and where one group ends its work, another one starts. There is not a section on the wall where someone isn’t working.
Everyone is cooperating except the Tekoite nobles. Some Tekoites do help, but most of them won’t lift a finger. I don’t understand their attitude. The work would go so much faster with their help. We need every hand we can get, and with the way everyone else is working, we’ll get the work done. Eliashib, the high priest, has been a tireless worker. He even consecrated the Sheep Gate that he has taken charge of rebuilding. His early support put fire under others to get them moving. Some of the nobles aren’t very skilled at the work, but their support makes up for their lack of skill.
I spend my days riding—and walking when I can’t ride—the length of the wall. Although everyone is enthusiastic, they still need direction. It takes me all day to ride the three miles because I have to stop and take care of problems as they come up. So far nothing really bad has happened—just running out of materials or minor injuries. Though their hands are raw from carrying materials, they are not complaining. I try to encourage them, because I want them to know that I really appreciate their diligence.
Sanballat and his friends are often around harassing people. They don’t get too close, but they’re shouting insults at the workers. I don’t think they’re dangerous, but I have to reassure some of the workers. When I see them, I shout, “The God of heaven will give us success” (Nehemiah 2:20).
Those who are building the gates have developed a system. They lay the beams, then they set the doors, bolts, and bars. Brilliant! I’m working with some very efficient people. These people are working on the gates:
Sheep: Eliashib’s group, Jericho city group, Imri family
Fish: Hassenaah family, Uriah/Hakkoz family, Berekiah/Meshezabel family, Zadok Baana, Tekoites
Jeshanah: Joiada and Meshullam, Gibeonites, Mizpah district, goldsmith group, perfume-makers, Rephaiah, Jedaiah, Hattush, Malkijah, Hashub, and Shallum Hallohesh with his daughters(!)
Valley: Zanoah City group (led by Hanun)
Trash: Malkijah Rechab of the Beth Hakkerem district (working by himself )
Fountain: Shallun Kol-Hozeh (Mizpah district ruler—also building the wall of the Pool of Siloam of the king’s garden, as far as the stairs)
Horse: Priests, each one opposite his own house
Inspection: Malchijah the goldsmith (opposite the gate)
The priests are repairing the areas around their homes.
I have drawn a map of the wall. This way I’ll know where to find my people, in case Sanballat threatens to attack.