The words of Nehemiah son of Hacaliah: In the month of Kislev1 in the twentieth year, while I was in the citadel of Susa,22
Hanani,3 one of my brothers, came from Judah with some other men, and I questioned them about the Jewish remnant4 that survived the exile, and also about Jerusalem.
They said to me, "Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.5"
When I heard these things, I sat down and wept.6 For some days I mourned and fasted7 and prayed before the God of heaven.
Then I said: "O LORD, God of heaven, the great and awesome God,8 who keeps his covenant of love9 with those who love him and obey his commands,
let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear10 the prayer11 your servant is praying before you day and night for your servants, the people of Israel. I confess12 the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father's house, have committed against you.
We have acted very wickedly13 toward you. We have not obeyed the commands, decrees and laws you gave your servant Moses.
"Remember14 the instruction you gave your servant Moses, saying, 'If you are unfaithful, I will scatter15 you among the nations,
but if you return to me and obey my commands, then even if your exiled people are at the farthest horizon, I will gather16 them from there and bring them to the place I have chosen as a dwelling for my Name.'1710
"They are your servants and your people, whom you redeemed by your great strength and your mighty hand.1811
O Lord, let your ear be attentive19 to the prayer of this your servant and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name. Give your servant success today by granting him favor20 in the presence of this man." I was cupbearer21 to the king.