1Nowe in the moneth Nisan in the twentieth yere of king Artahshashte, the wine stoode before him, and I tooke vp the wine, and gaue it vnto the King. nowe I was not before time sad in his presence.
2And the king said vnto me, Why is thy coutenance sad, seeing thou art not sicke? this is nothing, but sorow of heart. Then was I sore afrayd,
3And I said to the King, God saue the King for euer: why should not my countenance be sad, when the citie and house of the sepulchres of my fathers lieth waste, and the gates thereof are deuoured with fire?
4And the King said vnto me, For what thing doest thou require? Then I prayed to the God of heauen,
5And sayde vnto the King, If it please the King, and if thy seruant haue found fauour in thy sight, I desire that thou wouldest send me to Iudah vnto the city of the sepulchres of my fathers, that I may buyld it.
6And the King sayd vnto me, (the Queene also sitting by him) How long shall thy iourney be? and when wilt thou come againe? So it pleased the King, and he sent me, and I set him a time.
7After I saide vnto the King, If it please the King, let them giue mee letters to the captaines beyond the Riuer, that they may conuay me ouer, till I come into Iudah,
8And letters vnto Asaph the keeper of the Kings parke, that hee may giue me timber to buylde the gates of the palace (which apperteined to the house) and for the walles of the citie, and for the house that I shall enter into. And the King gaue me according to the good hand of my God vpon me.
9Then came I to the captaines beyonde the Riuer, and gaue them the Kings letters. And the King had sent captaines of the armie and horsemen with me.
10But Sanballat the Horonite, and Tobiah a seruant an Ammonite heard it, and it grieued them sore, that there was come a man which sought the wealth of the children of Israel.
11So I came to Ierusalem, and was there three dayes.
12And I rose in the night, I, and a fewe men with me: for I told no man, what God had put in mine heart to do at Ierusalem, and there was not a beast with me, saue the beast whereon I rode.
13And I went out by night by the gate of the valley, and came before the dragon well, and to the dung porte, and vewed the walles of Ierusalem, howe they were broken downe, and the portes thereof deuoured with the fire.
14Then I went foorth vnto the gate of the fountaine, and to the Kings fishpoole, and there was no rowme for the beast that was vnder me to passe.
15Then went I vp in ye night by the brooke, and viewed the wall, and turned backe, and comming backe, I entred by the gate of the valley and returned.
16And the rulers knewe not whither I was gone, nor what I did, neither did I as yet tell it vnto the Iewes, nor to the Priestes, nor to the noble men, nor to the rulers, nor to the rest that laboured in the worke.
17Afterward I said vnto them, Ye see the miserie that we are in, how Ierusalem lyeth waste, and the gates thereof are burnt with fire: come and let vs buylde the wall of Ierusalem, that we be no more a reproche.
18Then I tolde them of the hande of my God, (which was good ouer me) and also of the Kings wordes that he had spoken vnto me. And they sayd, Let vs rise, and buyld. So they strengthened their hand to good.
19But when Sanballat the Horonite, and Tobiah the seruant an Ammonite, and Geshem the Arabian heard it, they mocked vs and despised vs, and said, What a thing is this that ye doe? Will ye rebell against the King?
20Then answered I them, and sayd to them, The God of heauen, he will prosper vs, and we his seruants will rise vp and buylde: but as for you, ye haue no portion nor right, nor memoriall in Ierusalem.