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Nehemiah 1-5 21st Century King James Version (KJ21)

The words of Nehemiah the son of Hachaliah. And it came to pass in the month of Chislev, in the twentieth year, as I was in the palace at Shushan,

that Hanani one of my brethren came, he and certain men of Judah; and I asked them concerning the Jews who had escaped, who were left behind from the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem.

And they said unto me, “The remnant who are left behind from the captivity there in the province are in great affliction and reproach. The wall of Jerusalem also is broken down, and the gates thereof are burned with fire.”

And it came to pass when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven

and said: “I beseech thee, O Lord God of heaven, the great and fearsome God, who keepeth covenant and mercy for those who love Him and observe His commandments,

let Thine ear now be attentive and Thine eyes open, that Thou mayest hear the prayer of Thy servant, which I pray before Thee now day and night for the children of Israel Thy servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel which we have sinned against Thee. Both I and my father’s house have sinned.

We have dealt very corruptly against Thee, and have not kept the commandments, nor the statutes, nor the judgments which Thou commanded Thy servant Moses.

Remember, I beseech Thee, the word that Thou commanded Thy servant Moses, saying, ‘If ye transgress, I will scatter you abroad among the nations;

but if ye turn unto Me, and keep My commandments and do them, though there were some of you cast out unto the uttermost part of the heaven, yet will I gather them from thence, and will bring them unto the place that I have chosen to set My name there.’

10 Now these are Thy servants and Thy people, whom Thou hast redeemed by Thy great power and by Thy strong hand.

11 O Lord, I beseech Thee, let now Thine ear be attentive to the prayer of Thy servant, and to the prayer of Thy servants who desire to fear Thy name; and prosper, I pray Thee, Thy servant this day, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man.” For I was the king’s cupbearer.

And it came to pass in the month of Nisan, in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes the king, that wine was before him; and I took up the wine and gave it unto the king. Now I had not before been sad in his presence.

Therefore the king said unto me, “Why is thy countenance sad, seeing thou art not sick? This is nothing else but sorrow of heart.” Then I was very sore afraid,

and said unto the king, “Let the king live for ever. Why should not my countenance be sad when the city, the place of my fathers’ sepulchers, lieth waste, and the gates thereof are consumed with fire?”

Then the king said unto me, “For what dost thou make request?” So I prayed to the God of heaven.

And I said unto the king, “If it please the king, and if thy servant have found favor in thy sight, that thou wouldest send me unto Judah,unto the city of my fathers’ sepulchers, that I may build it.”

And the king said unto me (the queen also sitting by him), “For how long shall thy journey be? And when wilt thou return?” So it pleased the king to send me, and I set him a time.

Moreover I said unto the king, “If it please the king, let letters be given me to the governors beyond the river, that they may convey me over until I come into Judah,

also a letter unto Asaph the keeper of the king’s forest, that he may give me timber to make beams for the gates of the palace which appertained to the house, and for the wall of the city and for the house that I shall enter into.” And the king granted me, according to the good hand of my God upon me.

Then I came to the governors beyond the river, and gave them the king’s letters. Now the king had sent captains of the army and horsemen with me.

10 When Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the servant the Ammonite heard of it, it grieved them exceedingly that there had come a man to seek the welfare of the children of Israel.

11 So I came to Jerusalem and was there three days.

12 And I arose in the night, I and some few men with me. Neither told I any man what my God had put in my heart to do at Jerusalem; neither was there any beast with me, except the beast that I rode upon.

13 And I went out by night by the Gate of the Valley, even before the Dragon Well and to the dung port, and viewed the walls of Jerusalem which were broken down, and the gates thereof were consumed with fire.

14 Then I went on to the Gate of the Fountain and to the King’s Pool, but there was no place for the beast that was under me to pass.

15 Then went I up in the night by the brook and viewed the wall, and turned back and entered by the Gate of the Valley, and so returned.

16 And the rulers knew not whither I went or what I did; neither had I as yet told it to the Jews, nor to the priests, nor to the nobles, nor to the rulers, nor to the rest who did the work.

17 Then said I unto them, “Ye see the distress that we are in, how Jerusalem lieth waste, and the gates thereof are burned with fire. Come, and let us build up the wall of Jerusalem, that we be no more a reproach.”

18 Then I told them of the hand of my God which was good upon me, as also the king’s words that he had spoken unto me. And they said, “Let us rise up and build.” So they strengthened their hands for this good work.

19 But when Sanballat the Horonite, and Tobiah the servant, the Ammonite, and Geshem the Arabian heard it, they laughed us to scorn and despised us, and said, “What is this thing that ye do? Will ye rebel against the king?”

20 Then answered I them and said unto them, “The God of heaven, He will prosper us. Therefore we His servants will arise and build; but ye have no portion, nor right, nor memorial in Jerusalem.”

Then Eliashib the high priest rose up with his brethren the priests, and they built the Sheep Gate. They sanctified it and set up the doors of it; even unto the Tower of Meah they sanctified it, unto the Tower of Hananeel.

And next to him built the men of Jericho. And next to them built Zaccur the son of Imri.

But the Fish Gate did the sons of Hassenaah build, who also laid the beams thereof and set up the doors thereof, the locks thereof and the bars thereof.

And next unto them repaired Meremoth the son of Urijah, the son of Koz. And next unto them repaired Meshullam the son of Berechiah, the son of Meshezabeel. And next unto them repaired Zadok the son of Baana.

And next unto them the Tekoites repaired; but their nobles put not their necks to the work of their Lord.

Moreover Jehoiada the son of Paseah and Meshullam the son of Besodeiah repaired the Old Gate; they laid the beams thereof, and set up the doors thereof and the locks thereof and the bars thereof.

And next unto them Melatiah the Gibeonite and Jadon the Meronothite, the men of Gibeon and of Mizpah, repaired unto the throne of the governor on this side of the river.

Next unto him Uzziel the son of Harhaiah, of the goldsmiths, repaired. Next unto him also repaired Hananiah the son of one of the apothecaries; and they fortified Jerusalem unto the Broad Wall.

And next unto them Rephaiah the son of Hur, the ruler of the half part of Jerusalem, repaired.

10 And next unto them Jedaiah the son of Harumaph repaired, even opposite his house. And next unto him Hattush the son of Hashabniah repaired.

11 Malchijah the son of Harim and Hashub the son of Pahathmoab repaired the other piece, and the Tower of the Furnaces.

12 And next unto him Shallum the son of Hallohesh, the ruler of the half part of Jerusalem, repaired — he and his daughters.

13 The Valley Gate was repaired by Hanun and the inhabitants of Zanoah; they built it and set up the doors thereof, the locks thereof and the bars thereof, and a thousand cubits on the wall unto the Dung Gate.

14 But Malchijah the son of Rechab, the ruler of part of Bethhaccerem repaired the Dung Gate; he built it and set up the doors thereof, the locks thereof and the bars thereof.

15 But the Gate of the Fountain Shallun the son of Colhozeh, the ruler of part of Mizpah, repaired; he built it and covered it, and set up the doors thereof, the locks thereof and the bars thereof, and the wall of the Pool of Shelah by the king’s garden and unto the stairs that go down from the City of David.

16 After him Nehemiah the son of Azbuk, the ruler of the half part of Bethzur, repaired unto the place opposite the sepulchers of David, and to the pool that was made and unto the House of the Mighty.

17 After him repaired the Levites, Rehum the son of Bani. Next unto him repaired Hashabiah, the ruler of the half part of Keilah, in his part.

18 After him repaired their brethren, Bavai the son of Henadad, the ruler of the half part of Keilah.

19 And next to him Ezer the son of Jeshua, the ruler of Mizpah, repaired another piece opposite the ascent to the armory at the turning of the wall.

20 After him Baruch the son of Zabbai earnestly repaired the other piece, from the turning of the wall unto the door of the house of Eliashib the high priest.

21 After him Meremoth the son of Urijah the son of Koz repaired another piece, from the door of the house of Eliashib even to the end of the house of Eliashib.

22 And after him repaired the priests, the men of the plain.

23 After him repaired Benjamin and Hashub opposite their house. After him repaired Azariah the son of Maaseiah, the son of Ananiah, by his house.

24 After him Binnui the son of Henadad repaired another piece, from the house of Azariah unto the turning of the wall, even unto the corner.

25 Palal the son of Uzai made repairs opposite the turning of the wall, and the tower which lieth out from the king’s high house that was by the court of the prison; after him Pedaiah the son of Parosh.

26 Moreover the Nethinim dwelt in Ophel unto the place opposite the Water Gate toward the east, and the tower that lieth out.

27 After them the Tekoites repaired another piece, opposite the great tower that lieth out, even unto the wall of Ophel.

28 From above the Horse Gate repaired the priests, every one opposite his house.

29 After them Zadok the son of Immer repaired opposite his house. After him repaired also Shemaiah the son of Shechaniah, the keeper of the East Gate.

30 After him Hananiah the son of Shelemiah and Hanun the sixth son of Zalaph repaired another piece. After him repaired Meshullam the son of Berechiah opposite his chamber.

31 After him Malchijah the goldsmith’s son repaired unto the place of the Nethinim and of the merchants, opposite the Gate Miphkad and to the ascent of the corner chamber.

32 And between the ascent of the corner unto the Sheep Gate repaired the goldsmiths and the merchants.

But it came to pass that when Sanballat heard that we were building the wall, he was wroth and felt great indignation and mocked the Jews.

And he spoke before his brethren and the army of Samaria, and said, “What are these feeble Jews doing? Will they fortify themselves? Will they make sacrifice? Will they finish it in a day? Will they revive the stones out of the heaps of the rubbish which are burned?”

Now Tobiah the Ammonite was by him, and he said, “Indeed that which they build, if a fox go up, even he shall break down their stone wall.”

Hear, O our God, for we are despised; and turn their reproach upon their own head, and give them as a prey in the land of captivity.

And cover not their iniquity, and let not their sin be blotted out from before Thee; for they have provoked Thee to anger before the builders.

So built we the wall; and all the wall was joined together unto half its height, for the people had a mind to work.

But it came to pass that when Sanballat and Tobiah and the Arabians and the Ammonites and the Ashdodites heard that the walls of Jerusalem were being rebuilt, and that the breaches began to be stopped, then they were very wroth,

and conspired all of them together to come and to fight against Jerusalem and to hinder it.

Nevertheless we made our prayer unto our God, and set a watch against them day and night, because of them.

10 And Judah said, “The strength of the bearers of burdens is decayed, and there is much rubbish, so that we are not able to build the wall.”

11 And our adversaries said, “They shall not know, neither see, until we come in the midst among them and slay them and cause the work to cease.”

12 And it came to pass that when the Jews who dwelt by them came, they said unto us ten times, “From all places whence ye shall return unto us, they will be upon you.”

13 Therefore set I men in the lower places behind the wall, and on the higher places; I even set the people by families with their swords, their spears, and their bows.

14 And I looked, and rose up, and said unto the nobles and to the rulers and to the rest of the people, “Be not ye afraid of them; remember the Lord, who is great and fearsome, and fight for your brethren, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your houses.”

15 And it came to pass, when our enemies heard that it was known unto us and God had brought their counsel to nought, that we returned all of us to the wall, every one unto his work.

16 And it came to pass from that time forth, that the half of my servants wrought in the work, and the other half of them held both the spears, the shields and the bows and the jackets of mail; and the rulers were behind all the house of Judah.

17 Those who built on the wall and those who bore burdens with those who loaded — every one with one of his hands wrought in the work and with the other hand held a weapon.

18 For the builders, every one, had his sword girded by his side, and so built. And he that sounded the trumpet was by me.

19 And I said unto the nobles and to the rulers and to the rest of the people, “The work is great and large, and we are separated upon the wall, one far from another.

20 In what place therefore ye hear the sound of the trumpet, resort ye thither unto us. Our God shall fight for us.”

21 So we labored in the work; and half of them held the spears from the rising of the morning until the stars appeared.

22 Likewise at the same time said I unto the people, “Let every one with his servant lodge within Jerusalem, that in the night they may be a guard to us, and labor in the day.”

23 So neither I, nor my brethren, nor my servants, nor the men of the guard who followed me, none of us, put off our clothes, except that every one put them off for washing.

And there was a great cry of the people and of their wives against their brethren the Jews.

For there were those who said, “We, our sons and our daughters are many; therefore we take up corn for them, that we may eat and live.”

There were some also who said, “We have mortgaged our lands, vineyards, and houses, that we might buy corn because of the dearth.”

There were also those who said, “We have borrowed money for the king’s tribute, and that upon our lands and vineyards.

Yet now our flesh is as the flesh of our brethren, our children as their children; and lo, we bring into bondage our sons and our daughters to be servants, and some of our daughters are brought unto bondage already; neither is it in our power to redeem them, for other men have our lands and vineyards.”

And I was very angry when I heard their cry and these words.

Then I consulted with myself, and I rebuked the nobles and the rulers and said unto them, “Ye exact usury, every one from his brother.” And I set a great assembly against them.

And I said unto them, “We, according to our ability, have redeemed our brethren the Jews who were sold unto the heathen. And will ye even sell your brethren? Or shall they be sold unto us?” Then they held their peace, and found nothing to answer.

Also I said, “It is not good what ye do. Ought ye not to walk in the fear of our God because of the reproach of the heathen, our enemies?

10 I likewise, and my brethren and my servants, might exact from them money and corn; I pray you, let us leave off this usury.

11 Restore, I pray you, to them even this day their lands, their vineyards, their oliveyards, and their houses, also the hundredth part of the money and of the corn, the wine, and the oil that ye exact from them.”

12 Then said they, “We will restore them, and will require nothing of them. So will we do as thou sayest.” Then I called the priests and took an oath from them, that they should do according to this promise.

13 Also I shook my lap, and said, “So God shake out every man from his house and from his labor who performeth not this promise; eventhus be he shaken out and emptied.” And all the congregation said, “Amen,” and praised the Lord. And the people did according to this promise.

14 Moreover, from the time that I was appointed to be their governor in the land of Judah, from the twentieth year even unto the two and thirtieth year of Artaxerxes the king (that is, twelve years), I and my brethren have not eaten the bread of the governor.

15 But the former governors who had been before me were chargeable unto the people, and had taken from them bread and wine, besides forty shekels of silver. Yea, even their servants ruled over the people, but so did I not, because of the fear of God.

16 Yea, also I continued in the work of this wall, neither bought we any land; and all my servants were gathered thither for the work.

17 Moreover there were at my table a hundred and fifty of the Jews and rulers, besides those who came unto us from among the heathen who are about us.

18 Now that which was prepared for me daily was one ox and six choice sheep; also fowls were prepared for me, and once in ten days, a store of all sorts of wine; yet for all this I required not the bread of the governor, because the bondage was heavy upon this people.

19 Think upon me, my God, for good, according to all that I have done for this people.


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