2 1And it came to pass in the month Nisan, in the twentieth year of
Artaxerxes the king, when wine was before him, that I took up the wine, and
gave it unto the king. Now I had not been beforetime sad in his
2And the king said unto me, Why is thy countenance sad, seeing
thou art not sick? this is nothing else but sorrow of heart. Then I was very
3And I said unto the king, Let the king live for ever: why
should not my countenance be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers'
sepulchres, lieth waste, and the gates thereof are consumed with fire?
4Then the king said unto me, For what dost thou make request? So I prayed
to the God of heaven.
5And I said unto the king, If it please the king,
and if thy servant have found favor in thy sight, that thou wouldest send me
unto Judah, unto the city of my fathers' sepulchres, that I may build it.
6And the king said unto me (the queen also sitting by him,) For how long
shall thy journey be? and when wilt thou return? So it pleased the king to
send me; and I set him a time.
7Moreover I said unto the king, If it
please the king, let letters be given me to the governors beyond the River,
that they may let me pass through till I come unto Judah;
8and a letter
unto Asaph the keeper of the king's forest, that he may give me timber to
make beams for the gates of the castle which appertaineth to the house, and
for the wall of the city, and for the house that I shall enter into. And the
king granted me, according to the good hand of my God upon me.
came to the governors beyond the River, and gave them the king's letters. Now
the king had sent with me captains of the army and horsemen.
Sanballat the Horonite, and Tobiah the servant, the Ammonite, heard of it, it
grieved them exceedingly, for that there was come a man to seek the welfare
of the children of Israel.
11So I came to Jerusalem, and was there three
12And I arose in the night, I and some few men with me; neither
told I any man what my God put into my heart to do for Jerusalem; neither was
there any beast with me, save the beast that I rode upon.
13And I went
out by night by the valley gate, even toward the jackal's well, and to the
dung gate, and viewed the walls of Jerusalem, which were broken down, and the
gates thereof were consumed with fire.
14Then I went on to the fountain
gate and to the king's pool: but there was no place for the beast that was
under me to pass.
15Then went I up in the night by the brook, and viewed
the wall; and I turned back, and entered by the valley gate, and so returned.
16And the rulers knew not whither I went, or what I did; neither had I as
yet told it to the Jews, nor to the priests, nor to the nobles, nor to the
rulers, nor to the rest that did the work.
17Then said I unto them, Ye
see the evil case that we are in, how Jerusalem lieth waste, and the gates
thereof are burned with fire: come, and let us build up the wall of
Jerusalem, that we be no more a reproach.
18And I told them of the hand
of my God which was good upon me, as also of the king's words that he had
spoken unto me. And they said, Let us rise up and build. So they strengthened
their hands for the good work.
19But when Sanballat the Horonite,
and Tobiah the servant, the Ammonite, and Geshem the Arabian, heard it, they
laughed us to scorn, and despised us, and said, What is this thing that ye
do? will ye rebel against the king?
20Then answered I them, and said unto
them, The God of heaven, he will prosper us; therefore we his servants will
arise and build: but ye have no portion, nor right, nor memorial, in