1 These are the ·words [memoirs] of Nehemiah son of Hacaliah.
In the month of Kislev [C late autumn] in the twentieth year [C of the reign of King Artaxerxes I; 445 bc], I, Nehemiah, was in the ·capital city [or fortress; C the winter residence of Persian kings, separate from the city] of Susa. 2 One of my ·brothers [relatives] named Hanani came with some other men from Judah. I asked them about Jerusalem and the Jewish people who ·lived through [had escaped and survived] the ·captivity [exile].
3 They answered me, “·Those who are left [The survivors/remnant there in the province; C of Judah] from the ·captivity [exile] are in much ·trouble [distress; misery] and ·are full of shame [disgrace; humiliation]. The wall around Jerusalem is ·broken down [ruined; breached], and its gates have been burned [C either at the time of the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem (2 Kin. 25:10) or later].”
4 When I heard these things, I sat down and ·cried [wept] for several days. I ·was sad [mourned] and fasted. I prayed to the God of heaven, 5 “Lord, God of heaven, you are the great ·God who is to be respected [and awesome God]. You ·are loyal, and you keep your agreement [keep your loving covenant/treaty; keep your covenant/treaty of unfailing love] with those who love you and ·obey [keep] your commands. 6 ·Look and listen carefully [Let your ears be attentive and eyes open]. Hear the prayer that I, your servant, am praying to you day and night ·for [on behalf of] your servants, the Israelites. I confess the sins ·we Israelites [the people/sons of Israel] have ·done [L sinned] against you. My father’s ·family [L house] and I have sinned against you. 7 We have ·been wicked toward [acted corruptly against] you and have not obeyed the commands, ·rules [statutes; ordinances; requirements], and ·laws [judgments] you ·gave [commanded] your servant Moses [Ex. 19—24].
8 “Remember ·what you taught [the word you commanded] your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the ·nations [L peoples]. 9 But if you return to me and obey my commands [L and do/live by them], I will gather your people from the far ends of the ·earth [L heavens; sky; C a reference to the Babylonian exile]. And I will bring them from there to ·where [the place] I have chosen ·to be worshiped [L for my name to dwell; Deut. 4:25–31; 30:1–10].’
10 “They are your servants and your people, whom you have ·saved [redeemed; rescued] with your great strength and ·power [L strong hand]. 11 Lord, ·listen carefully [L may your ear be attentive] to the prayer of your servant and the prayers of your servants who ·love to honor you [take pleasure in revering/L fearing your name]. ·Give [Grant] me, your servant, success today; allow this king to show ·kindness [compassion] to me.”
I was the ·one who served wine to the king [king’s cupbearer].
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