1 The 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,
2 that 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.
3 And 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.
4 And 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,
5 and 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.
6 Let 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.
7 We have acted very perversely against thee, and have not kept the commandments, nor the statutes, nor the ordinances that thou commandedst thy servant Moses.
8 Remember, I beseech thee, the word that thou commandedst thy servant Moses, saying, If ye act unfaithfully, I will scatter you among the peoples;
9 but 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.
10 And they are thy servants and thy people, whom thou hast redeemed by thy great power and by thy strong hand.
11 O 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.