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 And the king said vnto me, Why is thy coutenance sad, seeing thou art not sicke? this is nothing, but sorow of heart. Then was I sore afrayd,
3 And I said to the King, God saue the King for euer: why should not my countenance be sad, when the citie & house of the sepulchres of my fathers lieth waste, and the gates thereof are deuoured with fire?
4 Then the king said unto me, For what dost thou make request? So I prayed to the God of heaven.
5 And sayde vnto the King, If it please the King, and if thy seruant haue found fauour in thy sight, I desire that thou wouldest send me to Iudah vnto the city of the sepulchres of my fathers, that I may buyld it.
6 And the King sayd vnto me, (the Queene also sitting by him) How long shall thy iourney be? & when wilt thou come againe? So it pleased the King, and he sent me, and I set him a time.
7 After I saide vnto the King, If it please the King, let them giue mee letters to the captaines beyond the Riuer, that they may conuay me ouer, till I come into Iudah,
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.
9 Then came I to the captaines beyonde the Riuer, and gaue them the Kings letters; the King had sent captaines of the armie and horsemen with me.
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 Israel.
11 So I came to Ierusalem, & was there three dayes.
12 And I rose in the night, I, and a fewe men with me: for I told no man, what God had put in mine heart to do at Ierusalem, & there was not a beast with me, saue the beast whereon I rode.
13 And I went out by night by the gate of the valley, & came before the draggon well, and to the dung porte, and vewed the walles of Ierusalem, howe they were broken downe, and the portes thereof deuoured with the fire.
14 Then I went foorth vnto the gate of the fountaine, and to the Kings fishpoole, and there was no rowme for the beast that was vnder me to passe.
15 Then went I vp in ye night by the brooke, and viewed the wall, and turned backe, and comming backe, I entred by the gate of the valley & returned.
16 And the rulers knewe not whither I was gone, nor what I did, neither did I as yet tell it vnto the Iewes, nor to the Priestes, nor to the noble men, nor to the rulers, nor to the rest that laboured in the worke.
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.
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].
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?
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.