The words of Nehemiah the son of Hachaliah. And it came to pass in the month of Chislev, in the twentieth year, as I was in the palace at Shushan,
that Hanani one of my brethren came, he and certain men of Judah; and I asked them concerning the Jews who had escaped, who were left behind from the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem.
And they said unto me, "The remnant who are left behind from the captivity there in the province are in great affliction and reproach. The wall of Jerusalem also is broken down, and the gates thereof are burned with fire."
And it came to pass when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven
and said: "I beseech thee, O LORD God of heaven, the great and fearsome God, who keepeth covenant and mercy for those who love Him and observe His commandments,
let Thine ear now be attentive and Thine eyes open, that Thou mayest hear the prayer of Thy servant, which I pray before Thee now day and night for the children of Israel Thy servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel which we have sinned against Thee. Both I and my father's house have sinned.
We have dealt very corruptly against Thee, and have not kept the commandments, nor the statutes, nor the judgments which Thou commanded Thy servant Moses.
Remember, I beseech Thee, the word that Thou commanded Thy servant Moses, saying, `If ye transgress, I will scatter you abroad among the nations;
but if ye turn unto Me, and keep My commandments and do them, though there were some of you cast out unto the uttermost part of the heaven, yet will I gather them from thence, and will bring them unto the place that I have chosen to set My name there.'
Now these are Thy servants and Thy people, whom Thou hast redeemed by Thy great power and by Thy strong hand.
O Lord, I beseech Thee, let now Thine ear be attentive to the prayer of Thy servant, and to the prayer of Thy servants who desire to fear Thy name; and prosper, I pray Thee, Thy servant this day, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man." For I was the king's cupbearer.