In the month of Nisan, 1in the twentieth year of King 2Artaxerxes, when wine was before him, 3I took up the wine and gave it to the king. Now I had not been sad in his presence.
And the king said to me, "Why is your face sad, seeing you are not sick? This is nothing but 4sadness of the heart." Then I was very much afraid.
I said to the king, 5"Let the king live forever! Why should not my face be sad, 6when the city, the place of my fathers' graves, lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire?"
Then the king said to me, "What are you requesting?" So I prayed 7to the God of heaven.
And I said to the king, "If it pleases the king, and if your servant has found favor in your sight, that you send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers' graves, that I may rebuild it."
And the king said to me (8the queen sitting beside him), "How long will you be gone, and when will you return?" So it pleased the king to send me 9when I had given him a time.
And I said to the king, "If it pleases the king, let letters be given me 10to the governors of the province Beyond the River, that they may let me pass through until I come to Judah,
and a letter to Asaph, the keeper of the king's forest, that he may give me timber to make beams for the gates of 11the fortress of the temple, and for the wall of the city, and for the house that I shall occupy." And the king granted me what I asked, 12for the good hand of my God was upon me.
Then I came to 13the governors of the province Beyond the River and gave them the king's letters. Now the king had sent with me officers of the army and horsemen.
But when 14Sanballat the Horonite and 15Tobiah the Ammonite servant heard this, it displeased them greatly that someone had come to seek the welfare of the people of Israel.