1 The history of Nehemiah, the son of Hacaliah. Now it came about, in the month of Chislev, in the twentieth year, when I was in Shushan, the castle,
2 Hanani, one of my brothers, came with men from Judah. This was in answer to my request for news about the Jews who had been prisoners and escaped from captivity and about Jerusalem.
3 They said to me: »The small band of Jews now living there in the land is in deep trouble and shame. The wall of Jerusalem has been broken down, and its doorways burned with fire.«
4 After I heard these words I sat down on the ground and cried for days. I ate no food and offered prayer to the God of heaven.
5 I said: »O Jehovah, the God of heaven, the great God, greatly to be respected, keeping faith and mercy with those who have love for him and are true to his laws:
6 »Let your ear now take note and let your eyes be open. Please give ear to the prayer of your servant. At this time, day and night I pray for the children of Israel, your servants. I put before you the sins of the children of Israel that we have done against you: truly, my fathers people and I are sinners.
7 »We have done great wrong against you. We have not obeyed the orders, the rules, and the decisions, which you gave to your servant Moses.
8 »Keep in mind, O Jehovah, the order you gave your servant Moses, saying: If you do wrong I will send you wandering among the peoples:
9 »If you come back to me and obey my orders, even if you have been forced out and are living in the farthest horizons, I will gather you from there, and bring you to the place I have chosen as a dwelling for my name.
10 »These are your servants and your people, whom you have made yours by your great power and by your strong hand.
11 »O Jehovah, let your ear take note of the prayer of your servant. Of the prayers of all your servants, who take delight in worshipping your name: give help, O Jehovah, to your servant this day, and let him have mercy in the eyes of this man.« Now I was the king's wine-servant.