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and made my request to the king.

Nehemiah (to God and Artaxerxes): If I have won your favor, my king, and if it is your pleasure, send me to the city where my ancestors are buried. Let me rebuild the city in Judah.

With his queen sitting beside him, the king continued to probe.

Artaxerxes: How long will your journey take, and when may I look for your return?

Then I knew: I had received his blessing. He was sending me. In response to his question, I set a time.

Nehemiah (to the king): If it continues to please you, send me with letters bearing your name. Send me to those men you have appointed to govern the lands beyond the Euphrates River. Then I can be assured I will be safe, escorted to the borders of Judah by your armies.

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