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Nehemiah 2 International Children’s Bible (ICB)

Nehemiah Is Sent to Jerusalem

It was the month of Nisan. It was in the twentieth year King Artaxerxes was king. He wanted some wine. So I took some and gave it to the king. I had not been sad in his presence before. So the king said, “Why does your face look sad? You are not sick. Your heart must be sad.”

Then I was very afraid. I said to the king, “May the king live forever! My face is sad because the city where my ancestors are buried lies in ruins. And its gates have been destroyed by fire.”

Then the king said to me, “What do you want?”

First I prayed to the God of heaven. Then I answered the king, “Send me to the city in Judah where my ancestors are buried. I will rebuild it. Do this if you are willing and if I have pleased you.”

The queen was sitting next to the king. He asked me, “How long will your trip take? When will you get back?” It pleased the king to send me. So I set a time.

I also said to him, “If you are willing, give me letters for the governors west of the Euphrates River. Tell them to let me pass safely through their lands on my way to Judah. And may I have a letter for Asaph? He is the keeper of the king’s forest. Tell him to give me timber. I will need it to make boards for the gates of the palace. It is by the Temple. The wood is also for the city wall and the house I will live in.” So the king gave me the letters. This was because God was showing kindness to me. So I went to the governors west of the Euphrates River. I gave them the king’s letters. The king had also sent army officers and soldiers on horses with me.

10 Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite leader heard about this. They were upset that someone had come to help the Israelites.

Nehemiah Inspects Jerusalem

11 I went to Jerusalem and stayed there three days. 12 Then at night I started out with a few men. I had not told anyone what God had caused me to do for Jerusalem. There were no animals with me except the one I was riding.

13 It was night. I went out through the Valley Gate. I rode toward the Dragon Well and the Trash Gate. I was inspecting the walls of Jerusalem. They had been broken down. And the gates had been destroyed by fire. 14 Then I rode on toward the Fountain Gate and the King’s Pool. But there was not enough room for the animal I was riding to get through. 15 So I went up the valley at night. I was inspecting the wall. Finally, I turned and went back in through the Valley Gate. 16 The officers did not know where I had gone or what I was doing. I had not yet said anything to the Jews, the priests, the important men or the officers. I had not said anything to any of the others who would do the work.

17 Then I said to them, “You can see the trouble we have here. Jerusalem is a pile of ruins. And its gates have been burned. Come, let’s rebuild the wall of Jerusalem. Then we won’t be full of shame any longer.” 18 I also told them how God had been kind to me. And I told them what the king had said to me.

Then they answered, “Let’s start rebuilding.” So they began to work hard.

19 But Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah the Ammonite leader and Geshem the Arab heard about it. They made fun of us and laughed at us. They said, “What are you doing? Are you turning against the king?”

20 But I answered them, “The God of heaven will give us success. We are God’s servants. We will start rebuilding. But you have no share in Jerusalem. You have no claim or past right to it.”

International Children’s Bible (ICB)

The Holy Bible, International Children’s Bible® Copyright© 1986, 1988, 1999, 2015 by Tommy Nelson™, a division of Thomas Nelson. Used by permission.

Nehemiah 2 New International Version (NIV)

Artaxerxes Sends Nehemiah to Jerusalem

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, 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, 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?

The king said to me, “What is it you want?”

Then I prayed to the God of heaven, 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.”

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.

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? 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. 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.”

Footnotes:

  1. Nehemiah 2:13 Or Serpent or Fig
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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