1 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.
2 Therefore the king said to me, Why is your face sad, since you are not sick? This is
nothing but sorrow of heart. Then I was very much afraid,
3 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 have been consumed with
4 Then the king said to me, What do you request? So I prayed to the God of Heaven.
5 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
6 Then the king said to me (the queen also sitting beside him), How long shall your
journey be? And when will you return? So it pleased the king to send me; and I set him a
7 Furthermore I said to the king, If it pleases the king, let letters be given to me to the
governors of the region beyond the River, that they may allow me to pass through till I
come to Judah;
8 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 the temple which pertains to the house, for the city wall, and for the
house that I will occupy. And the king granted them to me according to the good hand of
my God upon me.
9 Then I went to the governors in the region 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 Sanballat the Horonite, and Tobiah the servant the Ammonite, heard of it, it
made them shudder over the great evil, that a man had come to seek the welfare of the
children of Israel.
11 So I came to Jerusalem and was there three days.
12 And I arose in the night, I and a few men with me. I told no one what my God had put
in my heart to do at Jerusalem; nor was there any animal with me, except the one on which
13 And I went out by night through the Valley Gate, to the Serpent Spring and the Refuse
Gate, and examined the walls of Jerusalem which were broken down, and its gates which
had been consumed with fire.
14 Then I went on to the Fountain Gate and to the King's Pool, but there was no room
for the animal under me to pass.
15 So I went up in the night by the river, and examined the wall; then I turned back and
entered by the Valley Gate, and so returned.
16 And the rulers did not know where I had gone or what I was doing; I had not yet told
the Jews, the priests, the nobles, the rulers, or the others who did the work.
17 Then I said to them, You see the distress that we are in, how Jerusalem lies waste, and
its gates are burned with fire. Come and let us build the wall of Jerusalem, that we may no
longer be a reproach.
18 And I told them of the hand of my God which had been good upon me, and also of the
king's words that he had spoken to me. Then they said, Let us rise up and build. So they
encouraged their hands for this good work.
19 But when Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah the servant the Ammonite, and Geshem the
Arab heard of it, they mocked and despised us, and said, What is this thing that you are
doing? Will you rebel against the king?
20 So I answered them, and said to them, The God of Heaven Himself will prosper us;
therefore we His servants will arise and build, but you have no portion or right or memorial