1* The words of Ne·he·miʹah+ the son of Hac·a·liʹah: Now it came about in the month Chisʹlev,*+ in the twentieth year,+ that I myself happened to be in Shuʹshan+ the castle.* 2 Then Ha·naʹni,+ one of my brothers, came in, he and other men from Judah, and I proceeded to ask+ them about the Jews,+ those who had escaped,+ who had been left over of the captivity,+ and also about Jerusalem. 3 Accordingly they said to me: “Those left over, who have been left over from the captivity, there in the jurisdictional district,+ are in a very bad plight+ and in reproach;+ and the wall+ of Jerusalem is broken down, and its very gates+ have been burned with fire.”
4 And it came about that, as soon as I heard these words, I sat down and began to weep and mourn for days, and I was continually fasting+ and praying before the God of the heavens.+ 5 And I went on to say: “Ah, Jehovah the God* of the heavens, the God* great and fear-inspiring,+ keeping the covenant+ and loving-kindness* toward those loving him+ and keeping his commandments,+ 6 please, let your ear become attentive+ and your eyes opened, to listen to the prayer of your servant,+ which I am praying before you today, day and night,+ concerning the sons of Israel your servants, all the while making confession+ concerning the sins+ of the sons of Israel with which we have sinned against you. We have sinned, both I and the house of my father.+ 7 We have unquestionably acted corruptly against you+ and have not kept the commandments+ and the regulations+ and the judicial decisions+ that you gave in command to Moses your servant.+
8 “Remember,+ please, the word that you commanded Moses your servant, saying, ‘Should YOU, for YOUR part, act unfaithfully, I, for my part, shall scatter YOU among the peoples.+ 9 When YOU will have returned to me+ and kept my commandments+ and done them,+ though YOUR dispersed people should happen to be at the end of the heavens, from there I shall collect+ them and certainly bring them+ to the place that I have chosen to have my name reside there.’+ 10 And they are your servants+ and your people,+ whom you redeemed by your great power+ and by your strong hand.+ 11 Ah, Jehovah,* please, let your ear become attentive to the prayer of your servant and to the prayer+ of your servants who take delight in fearing your name;+ and, please, do grant success to your servant today+ and make him an object of pity before this man.”+
Now I myself happened to be cupbearer+ to the king.