Nehemiah's Prayer for Jerusalem
1 1 The words of Nehemiah the son of Hachaliah. And it came to pass in the month Chislev, in the twentieth year, as I was in Shushan the fortress, 2 that Hanani, one of my brethren, came, he and [certain] men of Judah. And I asked them concerning the Jews that had escaped, who were left of the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem. 3 And they said to me, Those who remain, that are left of the captivity there in the province, are in great affliction and reproach; and the wall of Jerusalem is in ruins, and its gates are burned with fire. 4 And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat and wept, and mourned for days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of the heavens,
5 and said, I beseech thee, Jehovah, God of the heavens, the great and terrible God, that keepeth covenant and mercy for them that love him and keep his commandments. 6 Let thine ear now be attentive, and thine eyes open, to hear the prayer of thy servant, which I pray before thee at this time, day and night, for the children of Israel thy servants, confessing the sins of the children of Israel, which we have sinned against thee: both I and my father's house have sinned. 7 We have acted very perversely against thee, and have not kept the commandments, nor the statutes, nor the ordinances that thou commandedst thy servant Moses. 8 Remember, I beseech thee, the word that thou commandedst thy servant Moses, saying, If ye act unfaithfully, I will scatter you among the peoples; 9 but if ye return to me, and keep my commandments and do them, though there were of you cast out unto the uttermost part of the heavens, yet will I gather them from thence, and will bring them unto the place that I have chosen to set my name there. 10 And they 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 delight to fear thy name; and prosper, I pray thee, thy servant this day, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man. Now I was the king's cupbearer.
Nehemiah Sent to Jerusalem
2 1 And it came to pass in the month Nisan, in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes the king, [that] wine was before him, and I took up the wine and gave it to the king. Now, I had never been sad in his presence. 2 And the king said to me, Why is thy face sad, seeing thou art not sick? this is nothing else but sadness of heart. And I was very sore afraid. 3 And I said to the king, Let the king live for ever! Why should not my countenance be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers' sepulchres, lies waste, and its gates are consumed with fire? 4 And the king said to me, For what dost thou make request? So I prayed to the God of the heavens. 5 And I said to the king, If it please the king, and if thy servant have found favour in thy sight, that thou wouldest send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers' sepulchres, that I may build it. 6 And the king said to me—the queen also sitting by him,—For how long shall thy journey be, and when wilt thou return? And it pleased the king to send me; and I set him a time. 7 And I said to the king, If it please the king, let letters be given me to the governors beyond the river, that they may set me forward till I come into Judah; 8 and a letter to Asaph the keeper of the king's forest, that he may give me timber to make beams for the gates of the palace which [appertains] 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.
9 And I came to the governors beyond the river, and gave them the king's letters. Now the king had sent captains of a force and horsemen with me. 10 And when Sanballat the Horonite, and Tobijah 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.
Nehemiah Encourages the People to Rebuild the Walls
11 And I came to Jerusalem, and was there three days. 12 And I arose in the night, I and some few men with me—but I told no man what my God had put in my heart to do for Jerusalem—and there was no beast with me, except the beast that I rode upon. 13 And I went out by night by the valley-gate, even toward the jackal-fountain, and to the dung-gate; and I viewed the walls of Jerusalem, which were in ruins, and its gates were consumed with fire. 14 And I went on to the fountain-gate, and to the king's pool; and there was no place for the beast under me to pass. 15 And I went up in the night through the valley, and viewed the wall, and turned back, and entered by the valley-gate and returned. 16 And the rulers did not know whither I went or what I did, for I had not 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 And I said to them, Ye see the distress that we are in, that Jerusalem lies waste, and its gates are burned with fire. Come, and let us build up the wall of Jerusalem, that we be no more a reproach. 18 And I told them of the hand of my God which had been good upon me; as also of the king's words which he had said unto me. And they said, Let us rise up and build. And they strengthened their hands for the good [work]. 19 And Sanballat the Horonite, and Tobijah the servant, the Ammonite, and Geshem the Arabian, heard it; and they mocked us and despised us, and said, What is this thing which ye do? will ye rebel against the king? 20 And I answered them, and said to them, The God of the heavens, he will prosper us, and we his servants will arise and build; but ye have no portion, nor right, nor memorial in Jerusalem.
The Sections Assigned for Repair
3 1 And Eliashib the high priest rose up with his brethren the priests, and they built the sheep-gate. They hallowed it, and set up its doors; and they hallowed it even to the tower of Meah, to the tower of Hananeel. 2 And next to them built the men of Jericho. And next to them built Zaccur the son of Imri. 3 And the fish-gate did the sons of Senaah build: they laid its beams, and set up its doors, its locks and its bars. 4 And next to them repaired Meremoth the son of Urijah, the son of Koz. And next to them repaired Meshullam the son of Berechiah, the son of Meshezabeel. And next to them repaired Zadok the son of Baana. 5 And next to them the Tekoites repaired; but their nobles put not their necks to the work of their Lord. 6 And the gate of the old [wall] repaired Jehoiada the son of Paseah, and Meshullam the son of Besodiah; they laid its beams, and set up its doors, and its locks, and its bars. 7 And next to them repaired Melatiah the Gibeonite, and Jadon the Meronothite, the men of Gibeon and of Mizpah, to the seat of the governor on this side the river. 8 Next to them repaired Uzziel the son of Harhaiah, of the goldsmiths; and next to him repaired Hananiah of the perfumers, and they left Jerusalem [in its state] as far as the broad wall. 9 And next to them repaired Rephaiah the son of Hur, the ruler of the half part of Jerusalem. 10 And next to them repaired Jedaiah the son of Harumaph, even over against his house. And next to him repaired Hattush the son of Hashabniah. 11 Malchijah the son of Harim and Hasshub the son of Pahath-Moab repaired a second piece, and the tower of the furnaces. 12 And next to them repaired Shallum the son of Hallohesh, the ruler of the half part of Jerusalem, he and his daughters. 13 The valley-gate repaired Hanun, and the inhabitants of Zanoah; they built it, and set up its doors, its locks and its bars, and a thousand cubits of the wall as far as the dung-gate. 14 And the dung-gate repaired Malchijah the son of Rechab, the chief of the district of Beth-haccerem; he built it, and set up its doors, its locks and its bars. 15 And the fountain-gate repaired Shallun the son of Colhozeh, the chief of the district of Mizpah; he built it, and covered it, and set up its doors, its locks and its bars, and the wall of the pool of Shelah by the king's garden, and to the stairs that go down from the city of David. 16 After him repaired Nehemiah the son of Azbuk, the chief of the half district of Beth-zur, even over against the sepulchres of David, and to the pool that was made, and to the house of the mighty [men]. 17 After him repaired the Levites, Rehum the son of Bani. Next to him repaired Hashabiah, the chief of the half district of Keilah, for his district. 18 After him repaired their brethren, Bavvai the son of Henadad, the chief of the half district of Keilah. 19 And next to him repaired Ezer the son of Jeshua, the ruler of Mizpah, a second piece over against the going up to the armoury at the angle. 20 After him Baruch the son of Zabbai earnestly repaired another piece, from the angle to the entry of the house of Eliashib the high priest. 21 After him repaired Meremoth the son of Urijah, the son of Koz, another piece, from the door of the house of Eliashib as far as the end of the house of Eliashib. 22 And after him repaired the priests, the men of the plain [of Jordan]. 23 After them repaired Benjamin and Hasshub over against their house. After them repaired Azariah the son of Maaseiah, the son of Ananiah, by his house. 24 After him repaired Binnui the son of Henadad another piece, from the house of Azariah to the angle, as far as the corner. 25 Palal the son of Uzai, over against the angle, and the high tower that lies out from the king's house, which was by the court of the prison. After him, Pedaiah the son of Parosh. 26 (Now the Nethinim dwelt in Ophel, even over against the water-gate toward the east, and the tower which lies out.) 27 After him the Tekoites repaired a second piece, over against the great tower which lies out, as far as the wall of Ophel. 28 From above the horse-gate repaired the priests, every one over against his house. 29 After them repaired Zadok the son of Immer over against his house. And after him repaired also Shemaiah the son of Shechaniah, the keeper of the east gate. 30 After him repaired Hananiah the son of Shelemiah, and Hanun the sixth son of Zalaph, a second piece. After them repaired Meshullam the son of Berechiah over against his chamber. 31 After him repaired Malchijah of the goldsmiths to the place of the Nethinim and of the dealers, over against the gate Miphkad, and to the ascent of the corner. 32 And between the ascent of the corner and the sheep-gate repaired the goldsmiths and the dealers.
The Workmen Guard against the Adversaries
4 1 And it came to pass that when Sanballat heard that we built the wall, he was angry and very indignant, and mocked the Jews. 2 And he spoke before his brethren and the army of Samaria, and said, What do these feeble Jews? shall they be permitted to go on? Will they offer sacrifices? Will they finish in a day? Will they revive the stones out of the heaps of rubbish, when they are burned? 3 And Tobijah the Ammonite was by him, and he said, Even that which they build, if a fox went up, it would break down their stone wall.— 4 Hear, our God, for we are despised, and turn their reproach upon their own head, and give them for a prey in a land of captivity! 5 And cover not their iniquity, and let not their sin be blotted out from before thee; for they have provoked the builders. 6 But we built the wall; and all the wall was joined together to the half thereof; for the people had a mind to work.
7 And it came to pass, when Sanballat, and Tobijah, and the Arabians, and the Ammonites, and the Ashdodites heard that the walls of Jerusalem were being repaired, that the breaches began to be stopped, then they were very wroth, 8 and conspired all of them together to come to fight against Jerusalem, and to hinder it. 9 Then we prayed to 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 faileth, and there is much rubbish; so that we are not able to build at the wall. 11 And our adversaries said, They shall not know, neither see, till we come into the midst of them and kill them, and put an end to the work. 12 And it came to pass that when the Jews that dwelt by them came and told us so ten times, from all the places whence they returned to us, 13 I set in the lower places behind the wall in exposed places, I even set the people, according to their families, with their swords, their spears and their bows. 14 And I looked, and rose up, and said to the nobles, and to the rulers, and to the rest of the people, Be not afraid of them: remember the Lord who is great and terrible, and fight for your brethren, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your houses. 15 And it came to pass that when our enemies heard that it was known to us, and that God had defeated their counsel, we returned all of us to the wall, every one to his work.
16 And from that time forth the half of my servants wrought in the work, and the other half of them held the spears, and the shields, and the bows, and the corslets; and the captains were behind all the house of Judah. 17 They that built on the wall, and they that bore burdens, with those that loaded, wrought in the work with one hand, and with the other they held a weapon. 18 And the builders had every one his sword girded by his side, and built. And he that sounded the trumpet was by me. 19 And I said to the nobles, and to the rulers, and to the rest of the people, The work is great and extended, and we are scattered upon the wall, one far from another: 20 in what place ye hear the sound of the trumpet, thither shall ye assemble to us; our God will fight for us. 21 And we laboured in the work; and half of them held the spears from the rising of the dawn till the stars appeared. 22 Likewise at the same time I said to the people, Let every one with his servant lodge within Jerusalem, that in the night they may be a guard to us, and [be for] labour in the day. 23 And neither I, nor my brethren, nor my servants, nor the men of the guard that followed me, none of us put off our garments: every one had his weapon on his right side.
The Payment of Interest Abolished
5 1 And there was a great cry of the people and of their wives against their brethren the Jews. 2 And there were that said, We, our sons and our daughters, are many, and we must procure corn that we may eat and live. 3 And there were that said, We have had to pledge our fields, and our vineyards, and our houses, that we might procure corn in the dearth. 4 And there were that said, We have borrowed money for the king's tribute upon our fields and vineyards; 5 yet now our flesh is as the flesh of our brethren, our children as their children; and behold, we must bring into bondage our sons and our daughters to be servants, and some of our daughters are brought into bondage [already]; neither is it in the power of our hand [to redeem them], for other men have our fields and our vineyards.
6 And I was very angry when I heard their cry and these words. 7 And I consulted with myself; and I remonstrated with the nobles and the rulers, and said to them, Ye exact usury, every one of his brother! And I set a great assembly against them. 8 And I said to them, We, according to our ability, have redeemed our brethren the Jews, who were sold to the nations; and will ye even sell your brethren? or shall they be sold unto us? And they were silent and found no answer. 9 And I said, The thing that ye do is not good. Ought ye not to walk in the fear of our God, so as not to be the reproach of the nations our enemies? 10 I also, my brethren and my servants, we might exact usury of them, money and corn. I pray you, let us leave off this usury. 11 Restore, I pray you, to them this very day their fields, their vineyards, their olive-gardens, and their houses, also the hundredth [part] of the money, and of the corn, the wine and the oil, that ye have exacted of them. 12 And they said, We will restore [them], and will require nothing of them; so will we do, as thou hast said. And I called the priests, and took an oath of 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 earnings, that performeth not this promise: even thus be he shaken out and emptied! And all the congregation said, Amen! And they praised Jehovah. 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 to the thirty-second year of Artaxerxes the king, twelve years, I and my brethren have not eaten the bread of the governor. 15 But the former governors that were before me had been chargeable to the people, and had taken of them bread and wine, besides forty shekels of silver: even their servants bore rule over the people. But I did not so, because of the fear of God. 16 Yea, also I applied myself to this work of the wall, and we bought no fields; and all my servants were gathered thither for the work. 17 And there were at my table a hundred and fifty of the Jews and the rulers, besides those that came to us from among the nations that were about us. 18 And that which was prepared daily was one ox [and] six choice sheep; also fowls were prepared for me, and once in ten days all sorts of wine in abundance. Yet for all this I demanded not the bread of the governor; for the service was heavy upon this people. 19 Remember for me, my God, for good, all that I have done for this people.