Nehemiah 1 Revised Standard Version (RSV)
Nehemiah Prays for His People
1 The words of Nehemi′ah the son of Hacali′ah.
Now it happened in the month of Chislev, in the twentieth year, as I was in Susa the capital, 2 that Hana′ni, one of my brethren, came with certain men out of Judah; and I asked them concerning the Jews that survived, who had escaped exile, and concerning Jerusalem. 3 And they said to me, “The survivors there in the province who escaped exile are in great trouble and shame; the wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates are destroyed by fire.”
4 When I heard these words I sat down and wept, and mourned for days; and I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven. 5 And I said, “O Lord God of heaven, the great and terrible God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments; 6 let thy ear be attentive, and thy eyes open, to hear the prayer of thy servant which I now pray before thee day and night for the people of Israel thy servants, confessing the sins of the people of Israel, which we have sinned against thee. Yea, I and my father’s house have sinned. 7 We have acted very corruptly against thee, and have not kept the commandments, the statutes, and the ordinances which thou didst command thy servant Moses. 8 Remember the word which thou didst command thy servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the peoples; 9 but if you return to me and keep my commandments and do them, though your dispersed be under the farthest skies, I will gather them thence and bring them to the place which I have chosen, to make my name dwell there.’ 10 They are thy servants and thy people, whom thou hast redeemed by thy great power and by thy strong hand. 11 O Lord, let thy ear be attentive to the prayer of thy servant, and to the prayer of thy servants who delight to fear thy name; and give success to thy servant today, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man.”
Now I was cupbearer to the king.