Nehemiah Chapter 2 |
1In the month of Nisan, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, wine was set before him; I took the wine and gave it to the king—I had never been out of sorts in his presence. 2The king said to me, “How is it that you look bad, though you are not ill? It must be bad thoughts.” I was very frightened, 3but I answered the king, “May the king live forever! How should I not look bad when the city of the graveyard of my ancestors lies in ruins, and its gates have been consumed by fire?” 4The king said to me, “What is your request?” With a prayer to the God of Heaven, 5I answered the king, “If it please the king, and if your servant has found favor with you, send me to Judah, to the city of my ancestors’ graves, to rebuild it.” 6With the consort seated at his side, the king said to me, “How long will you be gone and when will you return?” So it was agreeable to the king to send me, and I gave him a date. 7Then I said to the king, “If it please the king, let me have letters to the governors of the province of Beyond the River, directing them to grant me passage until I reach Judah; 8likewise, a letter to Asaph, the keeper of the King’s Park, directing him to give me timber for roofing the gatehouses of the temple fortress and the city walls and for the house I shall occupy.” The king gave me these, thanks to my God’s benevolent care for me. 9When I came to the governors of the province of Beyond the River I gave them the king’s letters. The king also sent army officers and cavalry with me.
10When Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite servant heard, it displeased them greatly that someone had come, intent on improving the condition of the Israelites.
11I arrived in Jerusalem. After I was there three days 12I got up at night, I and a few men with me, and telling no one what my God had put into my mind to do for Jerusalem, and taking no other beast than the one on which I was riding, 13I went out by the Valley Gate, at night, toward the Jackals’ Spring and the Dung Gate; and I surveyed the walls of Jerusalem that were breached, and its gates, consumed by fire. 14I proceeded to the Fountain Gate and to the King’s Pool, where there was no room for the beast under me to continue. 15So I went up the wadi by night, surveying the wall, and, entering again by the Valley Gate, I returned. 16The prefects knew nothing of where I had gone or what I had done, since I had not yet divulged it to the Jews—the priests, the nobles, the prefects, or the rest of the officials.
17Then I said to them, “You see the bad state we are in—Jerusalem lying in ruins and its gates destroyed by fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem and suffer no more disgrace.” 18I told them of my God’s benevolent care for me, also of the things that the king had said to me, and they said, “Let us start building!” They were encouraged by [His] benevolence.
19When Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite servant and Geshem the Arab heard, they mocked us and held us in contempt and said, “What is this that you are doing? Are you rebelling against the king?” 20I said to them in reply, “The God of Heaven will grant us success, and we, His servants, will start building. But you have no share or claim or stake in Jerusalem!”