The words of Nechemyah the son of Hakhalyah: It was in the month of Kislev, in the twentieth year, as I was in Shushan the capital,
that Hanani, one of my kinsmen, came out of Y'hudah with some men; and I asked them about the remnant of Judeans who had escaped the exile, and about Yerushalayim.
They answered me, "The remnant of the exile left there in the province are in great distress and are held in contempt, the wall of Yerushalayim is in ruins, and its gates have been completely burned up."
On hearing this answer, I sat down and wept; I mourned for several days, fasting and praying before the God of heaven.
I said, "Please, ADONAI! God of heaven! You great and fearsome God, who keeps his covenant and extends grace to those who love him and observe his mitzvot!
Let your ear now be attentive and your eyes be open, so that you will listen to the prayer of your servant, which I am praying before you these days, day and night, for the people of Isra'el your servants - even as I confess the sins of the people of Isra'el that we have committed against you. Yes, I and my father's house have sinned.
We have deeply offended you. We haven't observed the mitzvot, laws or rulings you ordered your servant Moshe.
Remember, please, the word you gave through your servant Moshe, 'If you break faith, I will scatter you among the peoples;
but if you return to me, observe my mitzvot and obey them, then, even if your scattered ones are in the most distant part of heaven, nevertheless, I will collect them from there and bring them to the place I have chosen for bearing my name.'
Now these are your servants, your people, whom you have redeemed by your great power and strong hand.
Adonai, please, let your ear now be attentive to the prayer of your servant and to the prayer of your servants who take joy in fearing your name: please let your servant succeed today and win this man's compassion"- for I was the king's personal attendant.