EJ2000(i) 1 ¶ And it came to pass in the month Nisan, in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes, the king, that as wine was before him, I took up the wine and gave it unto the king. And as I had not been sad before in his presence, 2 the king said unto me, Why is thy countenance sad, seeing thou art not sick? This is nothing else but brokenness of heart. Then I was very sore afraid 3 and said unto the king, Let the king live for ever; why should not my countenance be sad, when the city, the house of my fathers’ sepulchres, lies waste, and its gates are consumed with fire? 4 Then the king said unto me, For what dost thou make request? So I prayed to the God of the heavens. 5 And I said unto the king, If it pleases the king, and if thy slave has found favour in thy sight, that thou would send me unto Judah, unto the city of my fathers’ sepulchres, that I may rebuild it. 6 Then the king said unto me (the queen also sitting by him), For how long shall thy journey be, and when wilt thou return? So the matter pleased the king, and he sent me; and I set him a time. 7 Moreover, I said unto the king, If it pleases the king, let letters be given me to the captains on the other side of the river, that they may convey me over until I come into Judah, 8 and 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 of 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 the LORD upon me. 9 ¶ Then I came to the captains of the other side of the river and gave them the king’s letters. Now the king had sent princes of the army and horsemen with me. 10 When Sanballat, the Horonite, and Tobiah, the slave, the Ammonite, heard of it, it grieved them exceedingly that there was come a man to seek the welfare of the sons 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 did I tell 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 fountain of the dragon and to the dung port and considered the walls of Jerusalem, which were broken down, and its gates 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 considered the wall and turned back and entered by the gate of the valley and so returned. 16 And the rulers did not know where I had gone or what I had done; 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 that did the work. 17 Then said I unto them, Ye see the distress that we are in, how Jerusalem lies waste and its gates are burned with fire; come, and let us build up the wall of Jerusalem, that we be no longer in reproach. 18 Then I told them how the hand of my God was good upon me and likewise the king’s words that he had spoken unto me. And they said, Let us rise up and build. So they comforted their hands for good. 19 But when Sanballat, the Horonite, and Tobiah, the slave, 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 I gave them a reply and said unto them, The God of the heavens, he will prosper us; therefore, we, his slaves, will arise and build; but ye have no portion nor righteousness, nor memorial in Jerusalem.