And it came about in the monthNisan, 1in the twentiethyear of King2Artaxerxes, that wine was before him, and 3I took up the wine and gave it to the king. Now I had not beensad in his presence.
So the kingsaid to me, "Why is your facesad though you are not sick? 4This is nothing but sadness of heart." Then I was verymuchafraid.
I said to the king, "5Let the kingliveforever. Why should my face not be sad6when the city, the place of my fathers'tombs, lies desolate and its gates have been consumed by fire?"
Then the kingsaid to me, "What would you request?" 7So I prayed to the God of heaven.
I said to the king, "If it please the king, and if your servant has foundfavorbefore you, send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers'tombs, that I may rebuild it."
Then the kingsaid to me, the queensittingbeside him, "Howlong will your journey be, and when will you return?" So it pleased the king to send me, and 8I gave him a definitetime.
And I said to the king, "If it please the king, let letters be given me 9for the governors of the provinces beyond the River, that they may allow me to passthroughuntil I come to Judah,
and a letter to Asaph the keeper of the king's10forest, that he may give me timber to makebeams for the gates of 11the fortresswhich is by the atemple, for the wall of the city and for the house to which I will go." And the kinggranted them to me because 12the goodhand of my God was on me.
Then I came to 13the governors of the provinces beyond the River and gave them the king'sletters. Now 14the king had sent with me officers of the army and horsemen.
When 15Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonitebofficialheard about it, it was verydispleasing to them that someone had come to seek the welfare of the sons of Israel.
So I 16came to Jerusalem and was therethreedays.
And I arose in the night, I and a fewmen with me. I did not tellanyonewhat my God was putting into my cmind to do for Jerusalem and there was noanimal with me except the animal on which I was riding.
So I went out at night by 17the ValleyGate in the direction of the Dragon'sWell and on to the dRefuseGate, inspecting the walls of Jerusalem18which were brokendown and its 19gates which were consumed by fire.
Then I passed on to 20the FountainGate and 21the King'sPool, but there was noplace for emy mount to pass.
So I went up at night by the 22ravine and inspected the wall. Then I entered the ValleyGate again and returned.
The officials did not knowwhere I had gone or what I had done; nor had I as yettold the Jews, the priests, the nobles, the officials or the rest who did the work.
Then I said to them, "You see the badsituation we are in, that 23Jerusalem is desolate and its gatesburned by fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalemso that we will nolonger be a reproach."
I told them how the hand of my God had been favorable to me and also about the king'swordswhich he had spoken to me. Then they said, "Let us arise and build." 24So they put their hands to the good work.
But when Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonitefofficial, and 25Geshem the Arabheard it, 26they mocked us and despised us and said, "What is thisthing you are doing? 27Are you rebellingagainst the king?"
So I answered them and said to them, "28The God of heaven will give us success; therefore we His servants will arise and build, 29but you havenoportion, right or memorial in Jerusalem."