Nehemiah’s Prayer

The words of Nehemiah son of Hakaliah:

In the month of Kislev(A) in the twentieth year, while I was in the citadel of Susa,(B) Hanani,(C) one of my brothers, came from Judah with some other men, and I questioned them about the Jewish remnant(D) that had survived the exile, and also about Jerusalem.

They said to me, “Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.(E)

When I heard these things, I sat down and wept.(F) For some days I mourned and fasted(G) and prayed before the God of heaven. Then I said:

Lord, the God of heaven, the great and awesome God,(H) who keeps his covenant of love(I) with those who love him and keep his commandments, let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear(J) the prayer(K) your servant is praying before you day and night for your servants, the people of Israel. I confess(L) the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father’s family, have committed against you. We have acted very wickedly(M) toward you. We have not obeyed the commands, decrees and laws you gave your servant Moses.

“Remember(N) the instruction you gave your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter(O) you among the nations, but if you return to me and obey my commands, then even if your exiled people are at the farthest horizon, I will gather(P) them from there and bring them to the place I have chosen as a dwelling for my Name.’(Q)

10 “They are your servants and your people, whom you redeemed by your great strength and your mighty hand.(R) 11 Lord, let your ear be attentive(S) to the prayer of this your servant and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name. Give your servant success today by granting him favor(T) in the presence of this man.”

I was cupbearer(U) to the king.

Artaxerxes Sends Nehemiah to Jerusalem

In the month of Nisan in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes,(V) 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!(W) Why should my face not look sad when the city(X) where my ancestors are buried lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire?(Y)

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(Z), 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,(AA) 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(AB) 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,(AC) the king granted my requests.(AD) 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(AE) with me.

10 When Sanballat(AF) the Horonite and Tobiah(AG) the Ammonite official heard about this, they were very much disturbed that someone had come to promote the welfare of the Israelites.(AH)

Nehemiah Inspects Jerusalem’s Walls

11 I went to Jerusalem, and after staying there three days(AI) 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(AJ) toward the Jackal[a] Well and the Dung Gate,(AK) examining the walls(AL) 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(AM) and the King’s Pool,(AN) 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.(AO) Come, let us rebuild the wall(AP) of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace.(AQ) 18 I also told them about the gracious hand of my God on me(AR) and what the king had said to me.

They replied, “Let us start rebuilding.” So they began this good work.

19 But when Sanballat(AS) the Horonite, Tobiah the Ammonite official and Geshem(AT) the Arab heard about it, they mocked and ridiculed us.(AU) “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,(AV) but as for you, you have no share(AW) in Jerusalem or any claim or historic right to it.”

Footnotes

  1. Nehemiah 2:13 Or Serpent or Fig

The Seven Bowls of God’s Wrath

16 Then I heard a loud voice from the temple(A) saying to the seven angels,(B) “Go, pour out the seven bowls of God’s wrath on the earth.”(C)

The first angel went and poured out his bowl on the land,(D) and ugly, festering sores(E) broke out on the people who had the mark of the beast and worshiped its image.(F)

The second angel poured out his bowl on the sea, and it turned into blood like that of a dead person, and every living thing in the sea died.(G)

The third angel poured out his bowl on the rivers and springs of water,(H) and they became blood.(I) Then I heard the angel in charge of the waters say:

“You are just in these judgments,(J) O Holy One,(K)
    you who are and who were;(L)
for they have shed the blood of your holy people and your prophets,(M)
    and you have given them blood to drink(N) as they deserve.”

And I heard the altar(O) respond:

“Yes, Lord God Almighty,(P)
    true and just are your judgments.”(Q)

The fourth angel(R) poured out his bowl on the sun,(S) and the sun was allowed to scorch people with fire.(T) They were seared by the intense heat and they cursed the name of God,(U) who had control over these plagues, but they refused to repent(V) and glorify him.(W)

10 The fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast,(X) and its kingdom was plunged into darkness.(Y) People gnawed their tongues in agony 11 and cursed(Z) the God of heaven(AA) because of their pains and their sores,(AB) but they refused to repent of what they had done.(AC)

12 The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates,(AD) and its water was dried up to prepare the way(AE) for the kings from the East.(AF) 13 Then I saw three impure spirits(AG) that looked like frogs;(AH) they came out of the mouth of the dragon,(AI) out of the mouth of the beast(AJ) and out of the mouth of the false prophet.(AK) 14 They are demonic spirits(AL) that perform signs,(AM) and they go out to the kings of the whole world,(AN) to gather them for the battle(AO) on the great day(AP) of God Almighty.

15 “Look, I come like a thief!(AQ) Blessed is the one who stays awake(AR) and remains clothed, so as not to go naked and be shamefully exposed.”(AS)

16 Then they gathered the kings together(AT) to the place that in Hebrew(AU) is called Armageddon.(AV)

17 The seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air,(AW) and out of the temple(AX) came a loud voice(AY) from the throne, saying, “It is done!”(AZ) 18 Then there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder(BA) and a severe earthquake.(BB) No earthquake like it has ever occurred since mankind has been on earth,(BC) so tremendous was the quake. 19 The great city(BD) split into three parts, and the cities of the nations collapsed. God remembered(BE) Babylon the Great(BF) and gave her the cup filled with the wine of the fury of his wrath.(BG) 20 Every island fled away and the mountains could not be found.(BH) 21 From the sky huge hailstones,(BI) each weighing about a hundred pounds,[a] fell on people. And they cursed God(BJ) on account of the plague of hail,(BK) because the plague was so terrible.

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Footnotes

  1. Revelation 16:21 Or about 45 kilograms

Psalm 147

Praise the Lord.[a]

How good it is to sing praises to our God,
    how pleasant(A) and fitting to praise him!(B)

The Lord builds up Jerusalem;(C)
    he gathers the exiles(D) of Israel.
He heals the brokenhearted(E)
    and binds up their wounds.(F)
He determines the number of the stars(G)
    and calls them each by name.
Great is our Lord(H) and mighty in power;(I)
    his understanding has no limit.(J)
The Lord sustains the humble(K)
    but casts the wicked(L) to the ground.

Sing to the Lord(M) with grateful praise;(N)
    make music(O) to our God on the harp.(P)

He covers the sky with clouds;(Q)
    he supplies the earth with rain(R)
    and makes grass grow(S) on the hills.
He provides food(T) for the cattle
    and for the young ravens(U) when they call.

10 His pleasure is not in the strength(V) of the horse,(W)
    nor his delight in the legs of the warrior;
11 the Lord delights(X) in those who fear him,(Y)
    who put their hope(Z) in his unfailing love.(AA)

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Footnotes

  1. Psalm 147:1 Hebrew Hallelu Yah; also in verse 20

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