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Nehemiah 2

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 1 And it came to pass in the month Nisan, in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes the king, that wine was served before him; and I took up the wine, and gave it to the king. Now prior to this I had not been sad in his presence.

 2 Therefore the king said to me, "Why is your countenance sad, since you are not sick? This is nothing but sorrow of heart." Then I was very greatly afraid,

 3 And I said to the king, "Let the king live forever. Why should my countenance not be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers' sepulchers, lies in waste, and the gates of it have been consumed with fire?"

 4 Then the king said to me, "What do you desire from me?" So I prayed to the God of heaven.

 5 And I said to the king, "If it pleases the king, and if your servant has found favor in your sight, I request that you would send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers' sepulchers, that I may rebuild it.

 6 And the king said to me, (the queen was also sitting by him), "How long will your journey be, and when will you return?" So it pleased the king to send me; and I gave him a time.

 7 Moreover I said to the king, "If it pleases the king, let letters be given to me for the governors beyond the river, that they may convey me over until I come into Judah,

 8 And a letter to Asaph, the keeper of the king's forest, that he may give me timber to make beams for the gates of the fortress that is near the temple, and for the wall of the city, and for the house that I will occupy. And the king granted them all to me, because the good hand of my God was upon me.

 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.

 10 When Sanballat the Horonite, and Tobiah the servant, the Ammonite, heard of it, it grieved them exceedingly that a man had there come to seek the welfare of the children of Israel.

 11 So I came to Jerusalem, and was there three days.

 12 I arose in the night, I and a few men with me. I had not told any man what my God had put in my heart to do at Jerusalem; neither was there any animal with me, except the animal that I rode upon.

 13 I went out by night through the gate of the valley, close to the Dragon Well and the Dung Port, and viewed the walls of Jerusalem that were broken down, and its gates had been burnt down.

 14 Then I went on to the gate of the fountain and to the king's pool, but there was no place for the animal that I rode to pass through.

 15 Then I continued in the night to go up by the brook to view the wall. I then turned back and entered by the gate of the valley to return.

 16 The rulers did not know where I had gone or what I had done; neither had I as of 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.

 17 Then said I to them, "You see the distress that we are in, how Jerusalem lies in waste, and its gates thereof have been burned with fire; come, and let us build up the wall of Jerusalem, so that we are no longer a disgrace."

 18 Then I told them of the hand of my God, who was good upon me; as well as the king's words that he had spoken to me. And they said, "Let us rise up and build." So they applied their hands to 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 you are doing? "Will you rebel against the king?"

 20 Then answered I them, and said to them, "The God of heaven will prosper us; therefore we his servants will arise and build; but you have no portion, nor right, nor memorial, in Jerusalem."


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