1 The words of Nehemiah, the son of Hachaliah. And it came to pass in the month Chisleu, in the twentieth year, as I was in Shushan, the palace,
2 that Hanani, one of my brethren, came, he and certain men of Judah; and I asked them concerning the Jews that had escaped, which were left of the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem.
3 And they said unto me, The remnant that are left of the captivity there in the province are in great affliction and reproach, and the wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates are burned with fire.
4 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 the heavens
5 and said, I beseech thee, O LORD God of the heavens, strong, great and terrible, who keeps covenant and mercy for those that love thee and observe thy commandments;
6 let thine ear now be attentive and thine eyes open, that thou may hear the prayer of thy slave, which I pray before thee now, day and night, for the sons of Israel, thy slaves, and I confess the sins of the sons of Israel, with which we have sinned against thee; both I and my father’s house have sinned.
7 We have dealt very corruptly against thee and have not kept the commandments nor the statutes nor the judgments, which thou didst command thy slave Moses.
8 Remember, I beseech thee, the word that thou didst command thy slave Moses, saying, If ye transgress, I will scatter you abroad among the peoples;
9 but if ye turn unto me and keep my commandments and do them; though there were of you cast out unto the uttermost part of the heavens, yet will I gather them from there and will bring them unto the place that I have chosen to cause my name to dwell there.
10 Now these are thy slaves and thy people, whom thou hast ransomed with thy great power and with thy strong hand.
11 O Lord, I beseech thee, let now thine ear be attentive to the prayer of thy slave and to the prayer of thy slaves who desire to fear thy name; and prosper, I pray thee, thy slave this day, and grant him grace before this man. For I was the king’s cupbearer.