1 [The words of Nehemiah the son of Hachaliah.] And it came to pass in the month Chisleu, in the twentieth year, as I was in the palace of Shushan, 2 That Hanani, one of my brothers, came—he and some men of Judah. And I asked them concerning the Jews who had escaped, who were left of the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem. 3 And they said to me, "The remnant who are left of the captivity there in the province are in great affliction and reproach. The wall of Jerusalem is also broken down and its gates are burned with fire."
4 And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept. And I mourned for some days, fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven, 5 And said, "I implore you, O LORD God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps covenant and mercy for those who love him and observe his commandments, 6 Let your ear now be attentive and your eyes open, so that you may hear the prayer of your servant, which I pray before you now day and night for the children of Israel your servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel, which we have sinned against you. Both I and my father's house have sinned. 7 We have dealt very corruptly against you and have not kept the commandments, nor the statutes, nor the judgments, which you commanded your servant Moses. 8 Remember, I implore you, the word that you commanded your servant Moses, saying, 'If you transgress, I will scatter you abroad among the nations, 9 But if you turn to me and keep my commandments and do them, though there were some of you driven to the uttermost part of the heaven, yet I will gather them from there and will bring them to the place where I have chosen to set my name.' 10 Now these are your servants and your people, whom you have redeemed by your great power and by your strong hand. 11 O Lord, I implore you, now let your ear be attentive to the prayer of your servant and to the prayer of your servants who desire to fear your name. And prosper, I pray you, your servant this day, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man." (I was the king's cup-bearer.)