Nehemiah Is Permitted to Go to Jerusalem
2:1 Then in the month of Nisan, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was brought to me,1 I took the wine and gave it to the king. Previously2 I had not been depressed3 in the king’s presence.4 2:2 So the king said to me, “Why do you appear to be depressed when you aren’t sick? What can this be other than sadness of heart?” This made me very fearful.
2:3 I replied to the king, “O king, live forever! Why would I not appear dejected when the city with the graves of my ancestors5 lies desolate and its gates destroyed6 by fire?” 2:4 The king responded,7 “What is it you are seeking?” Then I quickly prayed to the God of heaven 2:5 and said to the king, “If the king is so inclined8 and if your servant has found favor in your sight, dispatch me to Judah, to the city with the graves of my ancestors, so that I can rebuild it.” 2:6 Then the king, with his consort9 sitting beside him, replied, “How long would your trip take, and when would you return?” Since the king was amenable to dispatching me,10 I gave him a time. 2:7 I said to the king, “If the king is so inclined, let him give me letters for the governors of Trans-Euphrates11 that will enable me to travel safely until I reach Judah, 2:8 and a letter for Asaph the keeper of the king’s nature preserve,12 so that he will give me timber for beams for the gates of the fortress adjacent to the temple and for the city wall13 and for the house to which I go.” So the king granted me these requests,14 for the good hand of my God was on me. 2:9 Then I went to the governors of Trans-Euphrates, and I presented to them the letters from the king. The king had sent with me officers of the army and horsemen. 2:10 When Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite official15 heard all this, they were very displeased that someone had come to seek benefit for the Israelites.
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