These are the memoirs of Nehemiah son of Hacaliah. In late autumn of the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes' reign, a I was at the fortress of Susa.
Hanani, one of my brothers, came to visit me with some other men who had just arrived from Judah. I asked them about the Jews who had survived the captivity and about how things were going in Jerusalem.
They said to me, "Things are not going well for those who returned to the province of Judah. They are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem has been torn down, and the gates have been burned."
When I heard this, I sat down and wept. In fact, for days I mourned, fasted, and prayed to the God of heaven.
Then I said, "O LORD, God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps his covenant of unfailing love with those who love him and obey his commands,
listen to my prayer! Look down and see me praying night and day for your people Israel. I confess that we have sinned against you. Yes, even my own family and I have sinned!
We have sinned terribly by not obeying the commands, laws, and regulations that you gave us through your servant Moses.
"Please remember what you told your servant Moses: 'If you sin, I will scatter you among the nations.
But if you return to me and obey my commands, even if you are exiled to the ends of the earth, I will bring you back to the place I have chosen for my name to be honored.'
"We are your servants, the people you rescued by your great power and might.
O Lord, please hear my prayer! Listen to the prayers of those of us who delight in honoring you. Please grant me success now as I go to ask the king b for a great favor. Put it into his heart to be kind to me."In those days I was the king's cup-bearer."
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)