These are the words of Nehemiah son of Hacaliah. In the month of Kislev in the twentieth year, I, Nehemiah, was in the capital city of Susa.
One of my brothers named Hanani came with some other men from Judah. I asked them about Jerusalem and the Jewish people who lived through the captivity.
They answered me, "Those who are left from the captivity are back in Judah, but they are in much trouble and are full of shame. The wall around Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned."
When I heard these things, I sat down and cried for several days. I was sad and ate nothing. I prayed to the God of heaven,
"Lord, God of heaven, you are the great God who is to be respected. You are loyal, and you keep your agreement with those who love you and obey your commands.
Look and listen carefully. Hear the prayer that I, your servant, am praying to you day and night for your servants, the Israelites. I confess the sins we Israelites have done against you. My father's family and I have sinned against you.
We have been wicked toward you and have not obeyed the commands, rules, and laws you gave your servant Moses.
"Remember what you taught your servant Moses, saying, 'If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations.
But if you return to me and obey my commands, I will gather your people from the far ends of the earth. And I will bring them from captivity to where I have chosen to be worshiped.'
"They are your servants and your people, whom you have saved with your great strength and power.
Lord, listen carefully to the prayer of your servant and the prayers of your servants who love to honor you. Give me, your servant, success today; allow this king to show kindness to me." I was the one who served wine to the king.