Nehemiah 2 1599 Geneva Bible (GNV)
2 1 After Nehemiah had obtained letters of Artaxerxes, 11 he came to Jerusalem, 17 and built the walls.
2 And the king said unto me, Why is thy countenance sad, seeing thou art not sick? this is nothing, but sorrow of heart. Then was I sore afraid,
3 And I said to the King, God save the king forever: why should not my countenance be sad, when the city and house of the sepulchers of my fathers lieth waste, and the gates thereof are devoured with fire?
4 And the king said unto me, For what thing doest thou require? Then I prayed [c]to the God of heaven,
5 And said unto the king, If it please the king, and if thy servant have found favor in thy sight, I desire that thou wouldest send me to Judah unto the city of the sepulchers of my fathers, that I may build it.
6 And the King said unto me, (the Queen also sitting by him:) How long shall thy journey be? and when wilt thou come again? So it pleased the king, and he sent me, and I set him a time.
7 After I said unto the King, If it please the King, let them give me letters to the captains beyond the [d]River, that they may convey me over, till I come into Judah,
8 And letters unto Asaph the keeper of the king’s [e]park, that he may give me timber to build the gates of the palace (which appertained to the house) and for the walls of the city, and for the house that I shall enter into. And the king gave me according to [f]the good hand of my God upon me.
9 ¶ Then came I to the captains beyond the River, and gave them the king’s letters. And the king had sent captains of the army and horsemen with me.
10 But [g]Sanballat the Horonite, and Tobiah a servant an Ammonite heard it, and it grieved them sore, that there was come a man which sought the wealth of the children of Israel.
11 So I came to Jerusalem, and was there three days.
12 And I rose in the night, I, and a few men with me: for I told no man, what God had put in mine heart to do at Jerusalem, and there was not a beast with me, save the beast whereon I rode.
13 And I went out by night by the gate of the valley, and came before the dragon well, and to the dung port, and viewed the walls of Jerusalem, how they were broken down, and the ports thereof devoured with the fire.
14 Then I went forth unto the gate of the [h]fountain, and to the king’s fish pool, and there was no room for the beast that was under me to pass.
15 Then went I up in the night by the brook, and viewed the wall, and turned back, and coming back, I entered by the gate of the valley, and returned.
16 And the rulers knew not whither I was gone, nor what I did, neither did I as yet tell it unto the Jews, nor to the Priests, nor to the noble men, nor to the rulers, nor to the rest that labored in the work.
17 Afterward I said unto them, Ye see the misery that we are in, how Jerusalem lieth waste, and the gates thereof are burnt with fire: come, and let us build the wall of Jerusalem, that we be no more [i]a reproach.
18 Then I told them of the hand of my God, (which was good over me) and also of the king’s words that he had spoken unto me. And they said, Let us rise, and build. So they [j]strengthened their hand to good.
19 But when Sanballat the Horonite, and Tobiah the servant an Ammonite, and [k]Geshem the Arabian heard it, they mocked us, and despised us, and said, What a thing is this that ye do? Will ye [l]rebel against the king?
20 Then answered I them, and said to them, The God of heaven, he will prosper us, and we his servants will rise up and build: but as for you, ye have no portion nor right, nor [m]memorial in Jerusalem.
Nehemiah 2 New International Version (NIV)
Artaxerxes Sends Nehemiah to Jerusalem
2 In the month of Nisan in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was brought for him, I took the wine and gave it to the king. I had not been sad in his presence before, 2 so the king asked me, “Why does your face look so sad when you are not ill? This can be nothing but sadness of heart.”
I was very much afraid, 3 but I said to the king, “May the king live forever! Why should my face not look sad when the city where my ancestors are buried lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire?”
4 The king said to me, “What is it you want?”
Then I prayed to the God of heaven, 5 and I answered the king, “If it pleases the king and if your servant has found favor in his sight, let him send me to the city in Judah where my ancestors are buried so that I can rebuild it.”
6 Then the king, with the queen sitting beside him, asked me, “How long will your journey take, and when will you get back?” It pleased the king to send me; so I set a time.
7 I also said to him, “If it pleases the king, may I have letters to the governors of Trans-Euphrates, so that they will provide me safe-conduct until I arrive in Judah? 8 And may I have a letter to Asaph, keeper of the royal park, so he will give me timber to make beams for the gates of the citadel by the temple and for the city wall and for the residence I will occupy?” And because the gracious hand of my God was on me, the king granted my requests. 9 So I went to the governors of Trans-Euphrates and gave them the king’s letters. The king had also sent army officers and cavalry with me.
10 When Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite official heard about this, they were very much disturbed that someone had come to promote the welfare of the Israelites.
Nehemiah Inspects Jerusalem’s Walls
11 I went to Jerusalem, and after staying there three days 12 I set out during the night with a few others. I had not told anyone what my God had put in my heart to do for Jerusalem. There were no mounts with me except the one I was riding on.
13 By night I went out through the Valley Gate toward the Jackal[a] Well and the Dung Gate, examining the walls of Jerusalem, which had been broken down, and its gates, which had been destroyed by fire. 14 Then I moved on toward the Fountain Gate and the King’s Pool, but there was not enough room for my mount to get through; 15 so I went up the valley by night, examining the wall. Finally, I turned back and reentered through the Valley Gate. 16 The officials did not know where I had gone or what I was doing, because as yet I had said nothing to the Jews or the priests or nobles or officials or any others who would be doing the work.
17 Then I said to them, “You see the trouble we are in: Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been burned with fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace.” 18 I also told them about the gracious hand of my God on me and what the king had said to me.
They replied, “Let us start rebuilding.” So they began this good work.
19 But when Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah the Ammonite official and Geshem the Arab heard about it, they mocked and ridiculed us. “What is this you are doing?” they asked. “Are you rebelling against the king?”
20 I answered them by saying, “The God of heaven will give us success. We his servants will start rebuilding, but as for you, you have no share in Jerusalem or any claim or historic right to it.”