Nehemiah Sent to Jerusalem

During the month of Nisan[a] in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes,(A) when wine was set before him, I took the wine and gave it to the king. I had never been sad in his presence, so the king said to me, “Why are you[b] sad, when you aren’t sick? This is nothing but depression.”[c](B)

I was overwhelmed with fear and replied to the king, “May the king live forever! Why should I[d] not be sad when the city where my ancestors are buried lies in ruins and its gates have been destroyed by fire?”(C)

Then the king asked me, “What is your request?”

So I prayed to the God of heaven(D) and answered the king, “If it pleases the king, and if your servant has found favor with you, send me to Judah and to the city where my ancestors are buried,[e](E) so that I may rebuild it.”(F)

The king, with the queen seated beside him, asked me, “How long will your journey take, and when will you return?” So I gave him a definite time,(G) and it pleased the king to send me.

I also said to the king: “If it pleases the king, let me have letters written to the governors of the region west of the Euphrates River,(H) so that they will grant me safe passage until I reach Judah.(I) And let me have a letter written to Asaph, keeper of the king’s forest, so that he will give me timber to rebuild the gates of the temple’s fortress,(J) the city wall, and the home where I will live.”[f](K) The king granted my requests, for I was graciously strengthened by my God.[g](L)

I went to the governors of the region west of the Euphrates and gave them the king’s letters.(M) The king had also sent officers of the infantry and cavalry with me.

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  1. Nehemiah 2:1 = March–April; called Abib in the pre-exilic period; Ex 13:4; Dt 16:1
  2. Nehemiah 2:2 Lit Why is your face
  3. Nehemiah 2:2 Lit sadness of heart
  4. Nehemiah 2:3 Lit my face
  5. Nehemiah 2:5 Lit city, the house of the graves of my fathers,
  6. Nehemiah 2:8 Lit enter
  7. Nehemiah 2:8 Lit for the gracious hand of my God was on me

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