1 The words of Neemias the son of Chelcia. And it came to pass in the month Chaseleu, of the twentieth year, that I was in Susan the 1palace. 2 And Anani, one of my brethren, came, he and some men of Juda; and I asked them concerning those that had escaped, who had been left of the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem. 3 And they said to me, The remnant, even those that are left of the captivity, are there in the land, in great distress and reproach: and the walls of Jerusalem are thrown down, and its gates are burnt with fire.
4 And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned for several days, and continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven. 5 And I said, Nay, I pray thee, O Lord God of heaven, the mighty, the great and terrible, keeping thy covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to those that keep his commandments: 6 let now thine ear be attentive, and thine eyes open, that thou mayest hear the prayer of thy servant, which I pray before thee at this time, this day both day and night, for the children of Isræl thy servants, and make confession for the sins of the children of Isræl, which we have sinned against thee: both I and the house of my father have sinned. 7 We have altogether broken covenant with thee, and we have not kept the commandments, and the ordinances, and the judgments, which thou didst command thy servant Moses. 8 Remember, I pray thee, the word wherewith thou didst charge thy servant Moses, saying, If ye break covenant with me, I will disperse you among the nations. 9 But if ye turn again to me, and keep my commandments, and do them; if ye should be scattered under the utmost bound of heaven, thence will I gather them, and I will bring them into the place which I have chosen to cause my name to dwell there. 10 Now they are thy servants and thy people, whom thou hast redeemed with thy great power, and with thy strong hand.
11 Turn not away, I pray thee, O Lord, but let thine ear be attentive to the prayer of thy servant, and to the prayer of thy servants, who desire to fear thy name: and prosper, I pray thee, thy servant this day, and 2cause him to find mercy in the sight of this man. Now I was the king's cup-bearer.
1 And it came to pass in the month Nisan of the twentieth year of king Arthasastha, that the wine was before me: and I took the wine, and gave it to the king: and there was not another before him.
2 And the king said to me, Why is thy countenance 3sad, and dost thou not control thyself? and now this is nothing but 4sorrow of heart. Then I was very much alarmed, 3 and I said to the king, Let the king live for ever: why should not my countenance be said, forasmuch as the city, even the home of the sepulchres of my fathers, has been laid waste, and her gates have been devoured with fire? 4 And the king said to me, 5For what dost thou ask thus? So I prayed to the God of heaven. 5 And I said to the king, If it seem good to the king, and if thy servant shall have found favour in thy sight, I ask that thou wouldest send him into Juda, to the city of the sepulchres of my fathers; then will I rebuild it.
6 And the king, and his concubine that sat next to him, said to me, For how long will thy journey be, and when wilt thou return? and the proposal was pleasing before the king, and he sent me away, and I appointed him a time. 7 And I said to the king, If it seem good to the king, let him give me letters to the governors beyond the river, so as to forward me till I come to Juda;
9 And I came to the governors beyond the river, and I gave them the king's letters. (Now the king had sent with me captains of the army and horsemen.) 10 And Sanaballat the Aronite heard it, and Tobia the servant, the Ammonite, and it was grievous to them that a man was come to seek good for the children of Isræl.
11 So I came to Jerusalem, and was there three days. 12 And I rose up by night, I and a few men with me; and I told no man what God put into my heart to do with Isræl; and there was no beast with me, except the beast which I rode upon. 13 And I went forth by the gate 7of the valley by night, and to the mouth of the well of 8fig trees, and to the dung-gate: and I mourned over the wall of Jerusalem which they were destroying, and her gates were devoured with fire. 14 And I passed on to the fountain gate, and to the king's pool; and there was no room for the beast to pass under me. 15 And I went up by the wall of the brook by night, and mourned over the wall, and passed through the gate of the valley, and returned.
16 And the sentinels knew not why I went, nor what I was doing; and until that time I told it not to the Jews, or to the priests, or to the nobles, or to the captains, or to the rest of the men who wrought the works. 17 Then I said to them, Ye see this evil, in which we are, how Jerusalem is desolate, and her gates have been set on fire: come, and let us build throughout the wall of Jerusalem, and we shall be no longer a reproach. 18 And I told them of the hand of God which 9was good upon me, also about the words of the king which he spoke to me: and I said, Let us arise and build. And their hands were strengthened for the good work.
19 And Sanaballat the Aronite, and Tobia the servant, the Ammonite, and Gesam the Arabian, heard it, and they laughed us to scorn, and came to us, and said, What is this thing that ye are doing? are ye revolting against the king? 20 And I answered them, and said to them, The God of heaven, he shall prosper us, and we his servants are pure, and we will build: but ye have no part, nor right, nor memorial, in Jerusalem.
1 Or, court, i.e. city of royal residence.
2 Gr. give him to pities.
3 Gr. evil.
4 Gr. mischief, or, wickedness.
5 Or, for whom?
6 Or, park.
7 The Gr. is a compound of two Heb. words.
8 The LXX. appear to have read תאנים 'figs', for תנים 'dragons.'
9 Gr. is.
Calvin College. Last modified on 08/11/06. Contact the CCEL.