1The words of Nehemiah the son of Hachaliah. And it came to pass in the month Chislev, in the twentieth year, as I was in Shushan the fortress,
2that Hanani, one of my brethren, came, he and certain men of Judah. And I asked them concerning the Jews that had escaped, who were left of the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem.
3And they said to me, Those who remain, that are left of the captivity there in the province, are in great affliction and reproach; and the wall of Jerusalem is in ruins, and its gates are burned with fire.
4And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat and wept, and mourned for days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of the heavens,
5and said, I beseech thee, Jehovah, God of the heavens, the great and terrible God, that keepeth covenant and mercy for them that love him and keep his commandments.
6Let thine ear now be attentive, and thine eyes open, to hear the prayer of thy servant, which I pray before thee at this time, day and night, for the children of Israel thy servants, confessing the sins of the children of Israel, which we have sinned against thee: both I and my father's house have sinned.
7We have acted very perversely against thee, and have not kept the commandments, nor the statutes, nor the ordinances that thou commandedst thy servant Moses.
8Remember, I beseech thee, the word that thou commandedst thy servant Moses, saying, If ye act unfaithfully, I will scatter you among the peoples;
9but if ye return to me, and keep my commandments and do them, though there were of you cast out unto the uttermost part of the heavens, yet will I gather them from thence, and will bring them unto the place that I have chosen to set my name there.
10And they are thy servants and thy people, whom thou hast redeemed by thy great power and by thy strong hand.
11O Lord, I beseech thee, let now thine ear be attentive to the prayer of thy servant, and to the prayer of thy servants who delight to fear thy name; and prosper, I pray thee, thy servant this day, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man. Now I was the king's cupbearer.