Nehemiah 1:1–2:20

*The words of aNehemiah the son of Hachaliah. And it came to pass in the month bChisleu, in cthe twentieth year, as I was in dShushan ethe palace, That fHanani, one of my brethren, came, he and certain men of Judah; and I asked them concerning the Jews that had escaped, which were left of the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem. And they said unto me, The remnant that are left of the captivity there in the province are in great affliction and reproach: the wall of Jerusalem also gis broken down, and hthe gates thereof are burned with fire. And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that iI sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven, And said, I beseech thee, O Lord God of heaven, kthe great and terrible God, lthat keepeth covenant and mercy for them that love him and observe his commandments: Let mthine ear now be attentive, and mnthine eyes open, that thou mayest hear the prayer of thy servant, which I pray before thee now, day and night, for the children of Israel thy servants, and oconfess the sins of the children of Israel, which we have sinned against thee: pboth I and my father’s house have sinned. We have qdealt very corruptly against thee, and have not kept the commandments, nor the statutes, nor the judgments, rwhich thou commandedst thy servant Moses. Remember, I beseech thee, the word that thou commandedst thy servant Moses, saying, sIf ye transgress, I will scatter you abroad among the nations: tBut if ye turn unto me, and keep my commandments, and do them; uthough there were of you cast out unto the uttermost part of the heaven, yet will I gather them from thence, and will bring them xunto the place that I have chosen to set my name there. 10 yNow these are thy servants and thy people, whom thou hast redeemed by thy great power, and by thy strong hand. 11 O Lord, I beseech thee, zlet now thine ear be attentive to the prayer of thy servant, and to the prayer of thy servants, awho desire to fear thy name: and prosper, I pray thee, thy servant this day, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man. For I was the king’s bcupbearer.

2 *And it came to pass in the month aNisan, in bthe twentieth year of Artaxerxes the king, that wine was before him: and cI took up the wine, and gave it unto the king. Now I had not been beforetime sad in his presence. Wherefore the king said unto me, dWhy is thy countenance sad, seeing thou art not sick? this is nothing else but esorrow of heart. Then I was very sore afraid, And said unto the king, fLet the king live for ever: why should not my countenance be sad, when gthe city, the place of my fathers’ sepulchres, lieth waste, and hthe gates thereof are consumed with fire? Then the king said unto me, For what dost thou make request? So I prayed to ithe God of heaven. And I said unto the king, If it please the king, and if thy servant have found favour in thy sight, that thou wouldest send me unto Judah, unto the city of my fathers’ sepulchres, that I may build it. And the king said unto me, (the queen also sitting by him,) For how long shall thy journey be? and when wilt thou return? So it pleased the king to send me; and I set him a jtime. Moreover I said unto the king, If it please the king, let letters be given me to the kgovernors beyond the river, that they may convey me over till I come into Judah; And a letter unto Asaph the keeper of the king’s lforest, that he may give me timber to make beams for the gates of the mpalace which appertained to the house, and for the wall of the city, and for nthe house that I shall enter into. And the king granted me, oaccording to the good hand of my God upon me.

*Then I came to the kgovernors beyond the river, and gave them the king’s letters. Now the king had sent captains of the army and horsemen with me. 10 When pSanballat the qHoronite, and rTobiah the servant, the sAmmonite, heard of it, it grieved them exceedingly that there was come a man tto seek the welfare of the children of Israel. 11 uSo I came to Jerusalem, and was there three days. 12 And I arose in the night, I and some few men with me; neither told I any man what my God had put in my heart to do at Jerusalem: neither was there any beast with me, save the beast that I rode upon. 13 And I went out by night by the wgate of the valley, even before the dragon well, and to the xdung port, and viewed the walls of Jerusalem, which were ybroken down, and zthe gates thereof were consumed with fire. 14 Then I went on to the agate of the fountain, and to the bking’s pool: but there was no place for the beast that was under me to pass. 15 Then went I up in the night by the cbrook, and viewed the wall, and turned back, and entered by the wgate of the valley, and so returned. 16 And the drulers knew not whither I went, or what I did; neither had I as yet told it to the Jews, nor to the priests, nor to the nobles, nor to the drulers, nor to the rest that did the work. 17 Then said I unto them, Ye see the distress that we are in, how Jerusalem elieth waste, and fthe gates thereof are burned with fire: come, and let us build up the wall of Jerusalem, that we be no more ga reproach. 18 Then I told them of hthe hand of my God which was good upon me; as also the king’s words that he had spoken unto me. And they said, Let us rise up and build. So they istrengthened their hands for this good work. 19 But when Sanballat the Horonite, and Tobiah the servant, the Ammonite, and kGeshem the Arabian, heard it, they llaughed us to scorn, and despised us, and said, What is this thing that ye do? mwill ye rebel against the king? 20 Then answered I them, and said unto them, The God of heaven, he will prosper us; therefore we his servants will arise and build: nbut ye have no portion, nor right, nor memorial, in Jerusalem.

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