1And it came to be in the month of Nisan, in the twentieth year of Artaḥshashta the sovereign, when wine was before him, that I took the wine and gave it to the sovereign. And I had never been sad in his presence.
2And the sovereign said to me, “Why is your face sad, since you are not sick? This is none else but sorrow of heart.” Then I was very much afraid,
3and said to the sovereign, “Let the sovereign live forever! Why should my face not be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers’ tombs, lies waste, and its gates are burned with fire?”
4And the sovereign said to me, “What are you asking for?” Then I prayed to the Elohim of the heavens,
5and said to the sovereign, “If it seems good to the sovereign, and if your servant is pleasing before you, I ask that you send me to Yehuḏah, to the city of my fathers’ tombs, so that I build it.”
6And the sovereign, with the sovereigness sitting beside him, said to me, “How long would your journey take? And when do you return?” So it seemed good before the sovereign to send me. And I set him a time.
7And I said to the sovereign, “If it seems good to the sovereign, let letters be given to me for the governors beyond the River, that they should let me to pass through till I come to Yehuḏah,
8and a letter to Asaph the keeper of the sovereign’s forest, that he should give me timber to make beams for the gates of the palace that belongs to the House, and for the city wall, and for the house I would enter.” And the sovereign gave them to me according to the good hand of my Elohim upon me.
9Then I came to the governors beyond the River, and gave to them the letters of the sovereign. Now the sovereign had sent commanders of the army and horsemen with me.
10And Sanballat the Ḥoronite and Toḇiyah the Ammonite official heard of it, and to them it was evil, a great evil that a man had come to seek good for the children of Yisra’ĕl.
11Then I came to Yerushalayim and was there three days.
12And I rose up in the night, I and a few men with me, but informed no one what my Elohim had put in my heart to do at Yerushalayim, nor was there any beast with me, except the beast on which I rode.
13And I went out by night through the Valley Gate to the Jackals’ Fountain and the Dung Gate, and examined the walls of Yerushalayim which were broken down and its gates which were burned with fire.
14And I went on to the Fountain Gate and to the Sovereign’s Pool, but there was no room for the beast that was under me to pass.
15And I went up in the night by the wadi, and examined the wall, and turned back, and entered by the Valley Gate, and returned.
16And the deputy rulers did not know where I had gone nor what I had done. Nor had I yet informed the Yehuḏim, or the priests, or the nobles, or the deputy rulers, or the others who did the work.
17Then I said to them, “You see the evil which we are in, how Yerushalayim lies waste, and its gates are burned with fire. Come and let us build the wall of Yerushalayim, and let us no longer be a reproach.”
18And I informed them of the hand of my Elohim which had been good upon me, and also of the sovereign’s words he had spoken to me. And they said, “Let us rise up and we shall build.” So they made their hands strong for good.
19But when Sanballat the Ḥoronite heard, and Toḇiyah the servant, the Ammonite, and Geshem the Araḇ, they mocked us and despised us, and said, “What is this you are doing? Are you rebelling against the sovereign?”
20And I answered them, and said to them, “The Elohim of the heavens, He shall bless us and let us, His servants, rise and build, but you have no portion or right or remembrance in Yerushalayim.”
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