Artaxerxes Sends Nehemiah to Jerusalem
2:1 And it came to pass in the month Nisan, in the
twentieth year of Artaxerxes the king, that wine was before
him: and I took up the wine, and gave it unto the king. Now
I had not been beforetime sad in his presence.
2:2 Wherefore the king said unto me, Why is thy countenance
sad, seeing thou art not sick? this is nothing else but
sorrow of heart. Then I was very sore afraid,
2:3 And said unto the king, Let the king live for ever: why
should not my countenance be sad, when the city, the place
of my fathers' sepulchres, lieth waste, and the gates
thereof are consumed with fire?
2:4 Then the king said unto me, For what dost thou make
request? So I prayed to the God of heaven.
2:5 And I said unto the king, If it please the king, and if
thy servant have found favour in thy sight, that thou
wouldest send me unto Judah, unto the city of my fathers'
sepulchres, that I may build it.
2:6 And the king said unto me, (the queen also sitting by
him,) For how long shall thy journey be? and when wilt thou
return? So it pleased the king to send me; and I set him a
2:7 Moreover I said unto the king, If it please the king,
let letters be given me to the governors beyond the river,
that they may convey me over till I come into Judah;
2:8 And a letter unto Asaph the keeper of the king's
forest, that he may give me timber to make beams for the
gates of the palace which appertained to the house, and for
the wall of the city, and for the house that I shall enter
into. And the king granted me, according to the good hand of
my God upon me.
2:9 Then I came to the governors beyond the river, and gave
them the king's letters. Now the king had sent captains of
the army and horsemen with me.
2:10 When Sanballat the Horonite, and Tobiah the servant,
the Ammonite, heard of it, it grieved them exceedingly that
there was come a man to seek the welfare of the children of
2:11 So I came to Jerusalem, and was there three
2:12 And I arose in the night, I and some few men with me;
neither told I any man what my God had put in my heart to do
at Jerusalem: neither was there any beast with me, save the
beast that I rode upon.
2:13 And I went out by night by the gate of the valley,
even before the dragon well, and to the dung port, and
viewed the walls of Jerusalem, which were broken down, and
the gates thereof were consumed with fire.
2:14 Then I went on to the gate of the fountain, and to the
king's pool: but there was no place for the beast that was
under me to pass.
2:15 Then went I up in the night by the brook, and viewed
the wall, and turned back, and entered by the gate of the
valley, and so returned.
2:16 And the rulers knew not whither I went, or what I did;
neither had I as yet told it to the Jews, nor to the
priests, nor to the nobles, nor to the rulers, nor to the
rest that did the work.
2:17 Then said I unto them, Ye see the distress that we are
in, how Jerusalem lieth waste, and the gates thereof are
burned with fire: come, and let us build up the wall of
Jerusalem, that we be no more a reproach.
2:18 Then I told them of the hand of my God which was good
upon me; as also the king's words that he had spoken unto
me. And they said, Let us rise up and build. So they
strengthened their hands for this good work.
2:19 But when Sanballat the Horonite, and Tobiah the
servant, the Ammonite, and Geshem the Arabian, heard it,
they laughed us to scorn, and despised us, and said, What is
this thing that ye do? will ye rebel against the king?
2:20 Then answered I them, and said unto them, The God of
heaven, he will prosper us; therefore we his servants will
arise and build: but ye have no portion, nor right, nor
memorial, in Jerusalem.