1The words of Nehemiah the son of Hacaliah. And it came to pass in the month Chislev, in the twentieth year, as I was in Shushan the citadel,
2That Hanani, one of my brothers, came, he and certain men of Judah; and I asked them concerning the Jews that had escaped, who were left of the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem.
3And they said unto me, The remnant that are left of the captivity there in the province are in great distress and reproach: the wall of Jerusalem also is broken down, and the gates thereof are burned with fire.
4And 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,
5And said, I beseech you, O LORD God of heaven, the great and awesome God, that keeps covenant and mercy for them that love him and observe his commandments:
6Let your ear now be attentive, and your eyes open, that you may hear the prayer of your servant, which I pray before you now, day and night, for the children of Israel your servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel, which we have sinned against you: both I and my father's house have sinned.
7We have dealt very corruptly against you, and have not kept the commandments, nor the statutes, nor the ordinances, which you commanded your servant Moses.
8Remember, I beseech you, the word that you commanded your servant Moses, saying,
If you transgress, I will scatter you abroad among the nations:
9But if you turn unto me, and keep my commandments, and do them; though some of you were cast out unto the uttermost part of the heaven, yet will I gather them from there, and will bring them unto the place that I have chosen to set my name there.
10Now these are your servants and your people, whom you have redeemed by your great power, and by your strong hand.
11O Lord, I beseech you, let now your ear be attentive to the prayer of your servant, and to the prayer of your servants, who desire to fear your name: and prosper, I pray you, your servant this day, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man. For I was the king's cupbearer.