And it came to pass in the monthNisan, in the twentiethyear of Artaxerxes the king, that wine was before him: and I took up the wine, and gave it unto the king. Now I had not been beforetime sad in his presence.2
Wherefore the kingsaid unto me, Why is thy countenancesad, seeing thou art not sick ? this is nothing else but sorrow of heart. Then I was verysoreafraid ,
And said unto the king, Let the kinglive 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?4
Then the kingsaid unto me, For what dost thou make request ? So I prayed to the God of heaven.5
And I said unto the king, If it please the king, and if thy servant have found favour in thy sight, that thou wouldest send me unto Judah, unto the city of my fathers'sepulchres, that I may build it.
And the kingsaid 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.7
Moreover I said unto the king, If it please the king, let letters be given me to the governorsbeyond the river, that they may convey me over till I come into Judah;8
And a letter unto Asaph the keeper of the king'sforest, that he may give me timber to make beams for the gates of the palace which appertained to the house, and for the wall of the city, and for the house that I shall enter into . And the kinggranted me, according to the goodhand of my God upon me.