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English Standard Version

Nehemiah 1:1–7:3

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Report from Jerusalem

The words of aNehemiah the son of Hacaliah.

Now it happened in the month of bChislev, cin the twentieth year, as I was in dSusa the citadel, that eHanani, one of my brothers, came with certain men from Judah. And I asked them concerning the Jews who escaped, who had survived the exile, and concerning Jerusalem. And they said to me, “The remnant there in the province who had survived the exile is in great trouble and fshame. gThe wall of Jerusalem is broken down, hand its gates are destroyed by fire.”

Nehemiah’s Prayer

As soon as I heard these words I isat down and wept and mourned for days, and I continued fasting and praying before the jGod of heaven. And I said, “O Lord God of heaven, kthe great and awesome God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, llet your ear be attentive and your eyes open, to hear the prayer of your servant that I now pray before you day and night for the people of Israel your servants, mconfessing the sins of the people of Israel, which we have sinned against you. Even nI and my father’s house have sinned. oWe have acted very corruptly against you and have not kept the commandments, the statutes, and the rules pthat you commanded your servant Moses. Remember the word that you commanded your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, qI will scatter you among the peoples, rbut if you return to me and keep my commandments and do them, sthough your outcasts are in the uttermost parts of heaven, from there I will gather them and bring them tto the place that I have chosen, to make my name dwell there.’ 10 uThey are your servants and your people, whom you have redeemed by your great power and by your strong hand. 11 O Lord, llet your ear be attentive to the prayer of your servant, and to the prayer of your servants who delight to fear your name, and give success to your servant today, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man.”

Now I was vcupbearer to the king.

Nehemiah Sent to Judah

In the month of Nisan, win the twentieth year of King xArtaxerxes, when wine was before him, yI took up the wine and gave it to the king. Now I had not been sad in his presence. And the king said to me, “Why is your face sad, seeing you are not sick? This is nothing but zsadness of the heart.” Then I was very much afraid. I said to the king, a“Let the king live forever! Why should not my face be sad, bwhen the city, the place of my fathers’ graves, lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire?” Then the king said to me, “What are you requesting?” So I prayed cto the God of heaven. And I said to the king, “If it pleases the king, and if your servant has found favor in your sight, that you send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers’ graves, that I may rebuild it.” And the king said to me (dthe queen sitting beside him), “How long will you be gone, and when will you return?” So it pleased the king to send me ewhen I had given him a time. And I said to the king, “If it pleases the king, let letters be given me fto the governors of the province Beyond the River, that they may let me pass through until I come to Judah, and a letter to Asaph, the keeper of the king’s forest, that he may give me timber to make beams for the gates of gthe fortress of the temple, and for the wall of the city, and for the house that I shall occupy.” And the king granted me what I asked, hfor the good hand of my God was upon me.

Nehemiah Inspects Jerusalem’s Walls

Then I came to ithe governors of the province Beyond the River and gave them the king’s letters. Now the king had sent with me officers of the army and horsemen. 10 But when jSanballat the Horonite and kTobiah the Ammonite servant heard this, it displeased them greatly that someone had come to seek the welfare of the people of Israel.

11 lSo I went to Jerusalem and was there three days. 12 Then I arose in the night, I and a few men with me. And I told no one what my God had put into my heart to do for Jerusalem. There was no animal with me but the one on which I rode. 13 I went out by night by mthe Valley Gate to the Dragon Spring and to nthe Dung Gate, and I inspected the walls of Jerusalem othat were broken down pand its gates that had been destroyed by fire. 14 Then I went on to qthe Fountain Gate and to rthe King’s Pool, but there was no room for the animal that was under me to pass. 15 Then I went up in the night sby the valley and inspected the wall, and I turned back and entered by the Valley Gate, and so returned. 16 And the officials did not know where I had gone or what I was doing, and I had not yet told the Jews, the priests, the nobles, the officials, and the rest who were to do the work.

17 Then I said to them, “You see the trouble we are in, thow Jerusalem lies in ruins with its gates burned. Come, let us build the wall of Jerusalem, that we may no longer usuffer derision.” 18 And I told them vof the hand of my God that had been upon me for good, and also of the words that the king had spoken to me. And they said, “Let us rise up and build.” wSo they strengthened their hands for the good work. 19 But when Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite servant and xGeshem the Arab heard of it, ythey jeered at us and despised us and said, “What is this thing that you are doing? zAre you rebelling against the king?” 20 Then I replied to them, a“The God of heaven will make us prosper, and we his servants will arise and build, but you have no portion or right or claim1 in Jerusalem.”

Rebuilding the Wall

Then bEliashib the high priest rose up with his brothers the priests, and they built cthe Sheep Gate. They consecrated it and dset its doors. They consecrated it as far as the Tower of the Hundred, as far as the eTower of Hananel. And next to him fthe men of Jericho built. And next to them1 Zaccur the son of Imri built.

The sons of Hassenaah built gthe Fish Gate. hThey laid its beams and dset its doors, its bolts, and its bars. And next to them iMeremoth the son of Uriah, son of Hakkoz repaired. And next to them jMeshullam the son of Berechiah, son of Meshezabel repaired. And next to them Zadok the son of Baana repaired. And next to them kthe Tekoites repaired, but their nobles would not stoop to serve their Lord.2

Joiada the son of Paseah and Meshullam the son of Besodeiah lrepaired the Gate of Yeshanah.3 hThey laid its beams and dset its doors, its bolts, and its bars. And next to them repaired Melatiah the Gibeonite and Jadon the Meronothite, the men of Gibeon and of Mizpah, the seat of mthe governor of the province Beyond the River. Next to them Uzziel the son of Harhaiah, goldsmiths, repaired. Next to him Hananiah, one of the perfumers, repaired, and they restored Jerusalem as far as nthe Broad Wall. Next to them Rephaiah the son of Hur, oruler of half the district of4 Jerusalem, repaired. 10 Next to them Jedaiah the son of Harumaph repaired opposite his house. And next to him Hattush the son of Hashabneiah repaired. 11 Malchijah the son of Harim and Hasshub the son of Pahath-moab repaired another section and pthe Tower of the Ovens. 12 Next to him Shallum the son of Hallohesh, qruler of half the district of Jerusalem, repaired, he and his daughters.

13 Hanun and the inhabitants of Zanoah repaired rthe Valley Gate. They rebuilt it and sset its doors, its bolts, and its bars, and repaired a thousand cubits5 of the wall, as far as tthe Dung Gate.

14 Malchijah the son of Rechab, ruler of the district of uBeth-haccherem, repaired tthe Dung Gate. He rebuilt it and sset its doors, its bolts, and its bars.

15 And Shallum the son of Col-hozeh, ruler of the district of Mizpah, repaired vthe Fountain Gate. He rebuilt it and covered it and sset its doors, its bolts, and its bars. And he built the wall of wthe Pool of Shelah of xthe king’s garden, as far as ythe stairs that go down from the city of David. 16 After him Nehemiah the son of Azbuk, ruler of half the district of Beth-zur, repaired to a point opposite zthe tombs of David, as far as athe artificial pool, and as far as the house of the mighty men. 17 After him the Levites repaired: Rehum the son of Bani. Next to him Hashabiah, ruler of half the district of Keilah, repaired for his district. 18 After him their brothers repaired: Bavvai the son of Henadad, ruler of half the district of Keilah. 19 Next to him Ezer the son of Jeshua, ruler of Mizpah, repaired another section opposite the ascent to the armory at bthe buttress.6 20 After him Baruch the son of Zabbai repaired7 another section from the buttress to the door of the house of cEliashib the high priest. 21 After him dMeremoth the son of Uriah, son of Hakkoz repaired another section from the door of the house of Eliashib to the end of the house of Eliashib. 22 After him the priests, the men of ethe surrounding area, repaired. 23 After them Benjamin and Hasshub repaired opposite their house. After them Azariah the son of Maaseiah, son of Ananiah repaired beside his own house. 24 After him Binnui the son of Henadad repaired another section, from the house of Azariah to the buttress and to fthe corner.25  Palal the son of Uzai repaired opposite the buttress and the tower projecting from the upper house of the king at gthe court of the guard. After him Pedaiah the son of Parosh 26 hand the temple servants living on iOphel repaired to a point opposite jthe Water Gate on the east and the projecting tower. 27 After him kthe Tekoites repaired another section opposite the great projecting tower as far as the wall of Ophel.

28 Above lthe Horse Gate the priests repaired, each one opposite his own house. 29 After them Zadok the son of Immer repaired opposite his own house. After him Shemaiah the son of Shecaniah, the keeper of the East Gate, repaired. 30 After him Hananiah the son of Shelemiah and Hanun the sixth son of Zalaph repaired another section. After him mMeshullam the son of Berechiah repaired opposite nhis chamber. 31 After him

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Or memorial

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Hebrew him

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Or lords

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Or of the old city

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Or foreman of half the portion assigned to; also verses 12, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18

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A cubit was about 18 inches or 45 centimeters

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Or corner; also verses 20, 24, 25

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Some manuscripts vigorously repaired

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