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Nehemiah 2:1–6

Nehemiah Goes to Jerusalem

Early the following spring, in the month of Nisan,* during the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes’ reign, I was serving the king his wine. I had never before appeared sad in his presence. So the king asked me, “Why are you looking so sad? You don’t look sick to me. You must be deeply troubled.”

Then I was terrified, but I replied, “Long live the king! How can I not be sad? For the city where my ancestors are buried is in ruins, and the gates have been destroyed by fire.”

The king asked, “Well, how can I help you?”

With a prayer to the God of heaven, I replied, “If it please the king, and if you are pleased with me, your servant, send me to Judah to rebuild the city where my ancestors are buried.”

The king, with the queen sitting beside him, asked, “How long will you be gone? When will you return?” After I told him how long I would be gone, the king agreed to my request.

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Nehemiah 2:1–6 — The New International Version (NIV)

In the month of Nisan in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was brought for him, I took the wine and gave it to the king. I had not been sad in his presence before, so the king asked me, “Why does your face look so sad when you are not ill? This can be nothing but sadness of heart.”

I was very much afraid, but I said to the king, “May the king live forever! Why should my face not look sad when the city where my ancestors are buried lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire?”

The king said to me, “What is it you want?”

Then I prayed to the God of heaven, and I answered the king, “If it pleases the king and if your servant has found favor in his sight, let him send me to the city in Judah where my ancestors are buried so that I can rebuild it.”

Then the king, with the queen sitting beside him, asked me, “How long will your journey take, and when will you get back?” It pleased the king to send me; so I set a time.

Nehemiah 2:1–6 — English Standard Version (ESV)

In the month of Nisan, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was before him, I 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 sadness of the heart.” Then I was very much afraid. I said to the king, “Let the king live forever! Why should not my face be sad, when 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 to 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 (the queen sitting beside him), “How long will you be gone, and when will you return?” So it pleased the king to send me when I had given him a time.

Nehemiah 2:1–6 — King James Version (KJV 1900)

And it came to pass in the month Nisan, in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes the king, that wine was before him: and I 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, Why is thy countenance sad, seeing thou art not sick? this is nothing else but sorrow of heart. Then I was very sore afraid, And said unto the king, Let the king live for ever: why should not my countenance be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers’ sepulchres, lieth waste, and the gates thereof are consumed with fire? Then the king said unto me, For what dost thou make request? So I prayed to the 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 time.

Nehemiah 2:1–6 — The New King James Version (NKJV)

And it came to pass in the month of Nisan, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was before him, that I took the wine and gave it to the king. Now I had never been sad in his presence before. Therefore the king said to me, “Why is your face sad, since you are not sick? This is nothing but sorrow of heart.”

So I became dreadfully afraid, and said to the king, “May the king live forever! Why should my face not be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers’ tombs, lies waste, and its gates are burned with fire?”

Then the king said to me, “What do you request?”

So I prayed to 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, I ask that you send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers’ tombs, that I may rebuild it.”

Then the king said to me (the queen also sitting beside him), “How long will your journey be? And when will you return?” So it pleased the king to send me; and I set him a time.

Nehemiah 2:1–6 — New Century Version (NCV)

It was the month of Nisan in the twentieth year Artaxerxes was king. He wanted some wine, so I took some and gave it to the king. I had not been sad in his presence before. So the king said, “Why does your face look sad even though you are not sick? Your heart must be sad.”

Then I was very afraid. I said to the king, “May the king live forever! My face is sad because the city where my ancestors are buried lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire.”

Then the king said to me, “What do you want?”

First I prayed to the God of heaven. Then I answered the king, “If you are willing and if I have pleased you, send me to the city in Judah where my ancestors are buried so I can rebuild it.”

The queen was sitting next to the king. He asked me, “How long will your trip take, and when will you get back?” It pleased the king to send me, so I set a time.

Nehemiah 2:1–6 — American Standard Version (ASV 1901)

And it came to pass in the month Nisan, in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes the king, when wine was before him, that I took up the wine, and gave it unto the king. Now I had not been beforetime sad in his presence. And the king said unto me, Why is thy countenance sad, seeing thou art not sick? this is nothing else but sorrow of heart. Then I was very sore afraid. And I said unto the king, Let the king live for ever: why should not my countenance be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers’ sepulchres, lieth waste, and the gates thereof are consumed with fire? Then the king said unto me, For what dost thou make request? So I prayed to the God of heaven. And I said unto the king, If it please the king, and if thy servant have found favor 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 time.

Nehemiah 2:1–6 — 1890 Darby Bible (DARBY)

And it came to pass in the month Nisan, in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes the king, that wine was before him, and I took up the wine and gave it to the king. Now, I had never been sad in his presence. And the king said to me, Why is thy face sad, seeing thou art not sick? this is nothing else but sadness of heart. And I was very sore afraid. And I said to the king, Let the king live for ever! Why should not my countenance be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers’ sepulchres, lies waste, and its gates are consumed with fire? And the king said to me, For what dost thou make request? So I prayed to the God of the heavens. And I said to the king, If it please the king, and if thy servant have found favour in thy sight, that thou wouldest send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers’ sepulchres, that I may build it. And the king said to me—the queen also sitting by him, —For how long shall thy journey be, and when wilt thou return? And it pleased the king to send me; and I set him a time.

Nehemiah 2:1–6 — GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)

In the month of Nisan, in Artaxerxes’ twentieth year as king, after some wine was brought for the king, I picked up the cup of wine and gave it to the king. I had never been sad in his presence before.

The king asked me, “Why do you look so sad? You aren’t sick, are you? You must be troubled about something.” (I was really afraid).

“May the king live forever!” I said to the king. “Why shouldn’t I look sad when the city, the place where my ancestors are buried, is in ruins and its gates are burned down?”

“What do you want?” the king asked me.

So I prayed to the God of heaven, and I asked the king, “If it pleases Your Majesty, and you are willing to grant my request, let me go to Judah, to the city where my ancestors are buried, so that I can rebuild it.”

Then, while the queen was sitting beside him, the king asked me, “How long will you be gone, and when will you come back?” When I gave him a specific date, he was willing to let me go.

Nehemiah 2:1–6 — The Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

During the month of Nisan in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was set before him, I took the wine and gave it to the king. I had never been sad in his presence, so the king said to me, “Why are you sad, when you aren’t sick? This is nothing but depression.”

I was overwhelmed with fear and replied to the king, “May the king live forever! Why should I not be sad when the city where my ancestors are buried lies in ruins and its gates have been destroyed by fire?”

Then the king asked me, “What is your request?”

So I prayed to the God of heaven and answered the king, “If it pleases the king, and if your servant has found favor with you, send me to Judah and to the city where my ancestors are buried, so that I may rebuild it.”

The king, with the queen seated beside him, asked me, “How long will your journey take, and when will you return?” So I gave him a definite time, and it pleased the king to send me.

Nehemiah 2:1–6 — The New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

In the month of Nisan, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was served him, I carried the wine and gave it to the king. Now, I had never been sad in his presence before. So the king said to me, “Why is your face sad, since you are not sick? This can only be sadness of the heart.” Then I was very much afraid. I said to the king, “May the king live forever! Why should my face not be sad, when the city, the place of my ancestors’ graves, lies waste, and its gates have been destroyed by fire?” Then the king said to me, “What do you request?” So I prayed to the God of heaven. Then I said to the king, “If it pleases the king, and if your servant has found favor with you, I ask that you send me to Judah, to the city of my ancestors’ graves, so that I may rebuild it.” The king said to me (the queen also was sitting beside him), “How long will you be gone, and when will you return?” So it pleased the king to send me, and I set him a date.

Nehemiah 2:1–6 — The Lexham English Bible (LEB)

It happened in the month of Nisan, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was before him, I carried the wine and gave it to the king. And I had never been sad before the king. So the king said to me, “Why is your face sad since you are not sick? This is nothing but sadness of the heart.” And I was very much afraid. I said to the king, “May the king live forever! Why should my face not be sad when the city of my ancestors’ burial site is ruined and her gates are consumed by fire?” Then the king said to me, “What is your request?” So I prayed to the God of the heavens. Then I said to the king, “If it pleases the king, and if your servant has found favor in your presence, I ask that you send me to Judah, to the city of my ancestors’ burial sites, so that I may rebuild it.”

With the queen sitting beside him, the king said to me, “How long will your journey be and when will you return?” So it pleased the king and he sent me, and I set for him an appointed time.

Nehemiah 2:1–6 — New International Reader’s Version (NIrV)

Wine was brought in for King Artaxerxes. It was the month of Nisan in the 20th year of his rule. I got the wine and gave it to him. I hadn’t been sad in front of him before. But now I was. So the king asked me, “Why are you looking so sad? You aren’t sick. You must be feeling sad deep down inside.”

I was really afraid. But I said to the king, “May you live forever! Why shouldn’t I look sad? The city where my people of long ago are buried has been destroyed. And fire has burned up its gates.”

The king said to me, “What do you want?”

I prayed to the God of heaven. Then I answered the king, “Are you pleased with me, King Artaxerxes? If it pleases you, send me to Judah. Let me go to the city of Jerusalem. That’s where my people are buried. I want to rebuild it.”

The queen was sitting beside the king. He turned and asked me, “How long will your journey take? When will you get back?” It pleased the king to send me. So I chose a certain time.

Nehemiah 2:1–6 — New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update (NASB95)

And it came about in the month Nisan, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, that wine was before him, and I took up the wine and gave it to the king. Now I had not been sad in his presence.

So the king said to me, “Why is your face sad though you are not sick? This is nothing but sadness of heart.” Then I was very much afraid.

I said to the king, “Let the king live forever. Why should my face not be sad when the city, the place of my fathers tombs, lies desolate and its gates have been consumed by fire?”

Then the king said to me, “What would you request?” So I prayed to the God of heaven.

I said to the king, “If it please the king, and if your servant has found favor before you, send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers tombs, that I may rebuild it.”

Then the king said to me, the queen sitting beside him, “How long will your journey be, and when will you return?” So it pleased the king to send me, and I gave him a definite time.