Nehemiah's Prayer for Jerusalem
1 1 Words of Nehemiah son of Hachaliah. And it cometh to pass, in the month of Chisleu, the twentieth year, and I have been in Shushan the palace, 2 and come in doth Hanani, one of my brethren, he and men of Judah, and I ask them concerning the Jews, the escaped part that have been left of the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem; 3 and they say to me, 'Those left, who have been left of the captivity there in the province, 'are' in great evil, and in reproach, and the wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burnt with fire.' 4 And it cometh to pass, at my hearing these words, I have sat down, and I weep and mourn 'for' days, and I am fasting and praying before the God of the heavens.
5 And I say, 'I beseech thee, O Jehovah, God of the heavens, God, the great and the fearful, keeping the covenant and kindness for those loving Him, and for those keeping His commands, 6 let Thine ear be, I pray Thee, attentive, and Thine eyes open, to hearken unto the prayer of Thy servant, that I am praying before Thee to-day, by day and by night, concerning the sons of Israel Thy servants, and confessing concerning the sins of the sons of Israel, that we have sinned against Thee; yea, I and the house of my father have sinned; 7 we have acted very corruptly against Thee, and have not kept the commands, and the statutes, and the judgments, that Thou didst command Moses Thy servant. 8 'Remember, I pray Thee, the word that Thou didst command Moses Thy servant, saying, Ye—ye trespass—I scatter you among peoples; 9 and ye have turned back unto Me, and kept My commands, and done them—if your outcast is in the end of the heavens, thence I gather them, and have brought them in unto the place that I have chosen to cause My name to tabernacle there. 10 And they 'are' Thy servants, and Thy people, whom Thou hast ransomed by Thy great power, and by Thy strong hand. 11 'I beseech Thee, O Lord, let, I pray Thee, Thine ear be attentive unto the prayer of Thy servant, and unto the prayer of Thy servants, those delighting to fear Thy Name; and give prosperity, I pray Thee, to Thy servant to-day, and give him for mercies before this man;' and I have been butler to the king.
Nehemiah Sent to Jerusalem
2 1 And it cometh to pass, in the month of Nisan, the twentieth year of Artaxerxes the king, wine 'is' before him, and I lift up the wine, and give to the king, and I had not been sad before him; 2 and the king saith to me, 'Wherefore 'is' thy face sad, and thou not sick? this is nothing except sadness of heart;' and I fear very much, 3 and say to the king, 'Let the king to the age live! wherefore should not my face be sad, when the city, the place of the graves of my fathers, 'is' a waste, and its gates have been consumed with fire?' 4 And the king saith to me, 'For what art thou seeking?' and I pray unto the God of the heavens, 5 and say to the king, 'If to the king 'it be' good, and if thy servant be pleasing before thee, that thou send me unto Judah, unto the city of the graves of my fathers, and I built it.' 6 And the king saith to me (and the queen is sitting near him), 'How long is thy journey? and when dost thou return?' and it is good before the king, and he sendeth me away, and I set to him a time. 7 And I say to the king, 'If to the king 'it be' good, letters let be given to me for the governors beyond the River, that they let me pass over till that I come in unto Judah: 8 and a letter unto Asaph, keeper of the paradise that the king hath, that he give to me trees for beams 'for' the gates of the palace that the house hath, and for the wall of the city, and for the house into which I enter;' and the king giveth to me, according to the good hand of my God upon me.
9 And I come in unto the governors beyond the River, and give to them the letters of the king; and the king sendeth with me heads of a force, and horsemen; 10 and Sanballat the Horonite heareth, and Tobiah the servant, the Ammonite, and it is evil to them—a great evil—that a man hath come in to seek good for the sons of Israel.
Nehemiah Encourages the People to Rebuild the Walls
11 And I come in unto Jerusalem, and I am there three days, 12 and I rise by night, I and a few men with me, and have not declared to a man what my God is giving unto my heart to do for Jerusalem, and there is no beast with me except the beast on which I am riding. 13 And I go out through the gate of the valley by night, and unto the front of the fountain of the dragon, and unto the gate of the dunghill, and I am measuring about the walls of Jerusalem, that are broken down, and its gates consumed with fire. 14 And I pass over unto the gate of the fountain, and unto the pool of the king, and there is no place for the beast under me to pass over, 15 and I am going up through the brook by night, and am measuring about the wall, and turn back, and come in through the gate of the valley, and turn back. 16 And the prefects have not known whither I have gone, and what I am doing; and to the Jews, and to the priests, and to the freemen, and to the prefects, and to the rest of those doing the work, hitherto I have not declared 'it'; 17 and I say unto them, 'Ye are seeing the evil that we are in, in that Jerusalem 'is' waste, and its gates have been burnt with fire; come and we build the wall of Jerusalem, and we are not any more a reproach.' 18 And I declare to them the hand of my God that is good upon me, and also the words of the king that he said to me, and they say, 'Let us rise, and we have built;' and they strengthen their hands for good. 19 And Sanballat the Horonite heareth, and Tobiah the servant, the Ammonite, and Geshem the Arabian, and they mock at us, and despise us, and say, 'What 'is' this thing that ye are doing? against the king are ye rebelling?' 20 And I return them word, and say to them, 'The God of the heavens—He doth give prosperity to us, and we His servants rise and have built; and to you there is no portion, and right, and memorial in Jerusalem.'
The Sections Assigned for Repair
3 1 And Eliashib the high priest riseth, and his brethren the priests, and they build the sheep-gate; they have sanctified it, and set up its doors, even unto the tower of Meah they have sanctified it, unto the tower of Hananeel; 2 and by his hand have men of Jericho built; and by their hand hath Zaccur son of Imri built; 3 and the fish-gate have sons of Hassenaah built, they have walled it, and set up its doors, its locks, and its bars. 4 And by their hand hath Merimoth son of Urijah, son of Koz, strengthened; and by his hand hath Meshullam son of Berechiah, son of Meshezabeel, strengthened; and by his hand hath Zadok son of Baana strengthened; 5 and by his hand have the Tekoites strengthened, and their honourable ones have not brought in their neck to the service of their Lord. 6 And the old gate have Jehoiada son of Paseah, and Meshullam son of Besodeiah, strengthened; they have walled it, and set up its doors, and its locks, and its bars. 7 And by their hand hath Melatiah the Gibeonite strengthened, and Jadon the Meronothite, men of Gibeon and of Mizpah, to the throne of the governor beyond the River. 8 By his hand hath Uzziel son of Harhaiah of the refiners strengthened; and by his hand hath Hananiah son of 'one of' the compounders strengthened; and they leave Jerusalem unto the broad wall. 9 And by their hand hath Rephaiah son of Hur, head of the half of the district of Jerusalem, strengthened. 10 And by their hand hath Jedaiah son of Harumaph strengthened, and over-against his own house; and by his hand hath Hattush son of Hashabniah strengthened. 11 A second measure hath Malchijah son of Harim strengthened, and Hashub son of Pahath-Moab, even the tower of the furnaces. 12 And by his hand hath Shallum son of Halohesh, head of the half of the district of Jerusalem, strengthened, he and his daughters. 13 The gate of the valley hath Hanun strengthened, and the inhabitants of Zanoah; they have built it, and set up its doors, its locks, and its bars, and a thousand cubits in the wall unto the dung-gate. 14 And the dung-gate hath Malchijah son of Rechab, head of the district of Beth-Haccerem, strengthened; he doth built it, and set up its doors, its locks, and its bars. 15 And the gate of the fountain hath Shallum son of Col-Hozeh, head of the district of Mizpah, strengthened: he doth build it, and cover it, and set up its doors, its locks, and its bars, and the wall of the pool of Siloah, to the garden of the king, and unto the steps that are going down from the city of David. 16 After him hath Nehemiah son of Azbuk, head of the half of the district of Beth-Zur, strengthened, unto over-against the graves of David, and unto the pool that is made, and unto the house of the mighty ones. 17 After him have the Levites strengthened, 'and' Rehum son of Bani: by his hand hath Hashabiah, head of the half of the district of Keilah, strengthened, for his district. 18 After him have their brethren strengthened, 'and' Bavvai son of Henadad, head of the half of the district of Keilah. 19 And Ezer son of Jeshua, head of Mizpah, doth strengthen, by his hand, a second measure, from over-against the ascent of the armoury at the angle. 20 After him hath Baruch son of Zabbai hastened to strengthen a second measure from the angle unto the opening of the house of Eliashib the high priest. 21 After him hath Meremoth son of Urijah, son of Koz, strengthened, a second measure, from the opening of the house of Eliashib even unto the completion of the house of Eliashib. 22 And after him have the priests, men of the circuit, strengthened. 23 After them hath Benjamin strengthened, and Hashub, over-against their house; after him hath Azariah son of Maaseiah, son of Ananiah, strengthened, near his house. 24 After him hath Binnui son of Henadad strengthened, a second measure, from the house of Azariah unto the angle, and unto the corner. 25 Palal son of Uzai, from over-against the angle, and the tower that is going out from the upper house of the king that 'is' at the court of the prison; after him Pedaiah son of Parosh. 26 And the Nethinim have been dwelling in Ophel, unto over-against the water-gate at the east, and the tower that goeth out. 27 After him have the Tekoites strengthened, a second measure, from over-against the great tower that goeth out, and unto the wall of Ophel. 28 From above the horse-gate have the priests strengthened, each over-against his house. 29 After them hath Zadok son of Immer strengthened, over against his house; and after him hath Shemaiah son of Shechaniah, keeper of the east gate, strengthened. 30 After him hath Hananiah son of Shelemiah strengthened, and Hanun the sixth son of Zalaph, a second measure; after him hath Meshullam son of Berechiah strengthened, over-against his chamber. 31 After him hath Malchijah son of the refiner strengthened, unto the house of the Nethinim, and of the merchants, over-against the gate of the Miphkad, and unto the ascent of the corner. 32 And between the ascent of the corner and the sheep-gate, have the refiners and the merchants strengthened.
The Workmen Guard against the Adversaries
4 1 And it cometh to pass, when Sanballat hath heard that we are building the wall, that it is displeasing to him, and he is very angry and mocketh at the Jews, 2 and saith before his brethren and the force of Samaria, yea, he saith, 'What 'are' the weak Jews doing? are they left to themselves? do they sacrifice? do they complete in a day? do they revive the stones out of the heaps of the rubbish?—and they burnt!' 3 And Tobiah the Ammonite 'is' by him and saith, 'Also, that which they are building—if a fox doth go up, then it hath broken down their stone wall.' 4 Hear, O our God, for we have been despised; and turn back their reproach on their own head, and give them for a spoil in a land of captivity; 5 and do not cover over their iniquity, and their sin from before Thee let not be blotted out, for they have provoked to anger—over-against those building. 6 And we build the wall, and all the wall is joined—unto its half, and the people have a heart to work.
7 And it cometh to pass, when Sanballat hath heard, and Tobiah, and the Arabians, and the Ammonites, and the Ashdodites, that lengthening hath gone up to the walls of Jerusalem, that the breeches have begun to be stopped, then it is very displeasing to them, 8 and they conspire, all of them together, to come in to fight against Jerusalem, and to do to it injury. 9 And we pray unto our God, and appoint a watch against them, by day and by night, because of them. 10 And Judah saith, 'The power of the burden-bearers hath become feeble, and the rubbish 'is' abundant, and we are not able to build on the wall.' 11 And our adversaries say, 'They do not know, nor see, till that we come in to their midst, and have slain them, and caused the work to cease.' 12 And it cometh to pass, when the Jews have come who are dwelling near them, that they say to us ten times from all the places whither ye return—'they are' against us. 13 And I appoint at the lowest of the places, at the back of the wall, in the clear places, yea, I appoint the people, by their families, with their swords, their spears, and their bows. 14 And I see, and rise up, and say unto the freemen, and unto the prefects, and unto the rest of the people, 'Be not afraid of them; the Lord, the great and the fearful, remember ye, and fight for your brethren, your sons, and your daughters, your wives, and your houses.' 15 And it cometh to pass, when our enemies have heard that it hath been known to us, and God doth frustrate their counsel, and we turn back, all of us, unto the wall, each unto his work;
16 yea, it cometh to pass, from that day, half of my servants are working in the business, and half of them are keeping hold of both the spears, the shields, and the bows, and the coats of mail; and the heads 'are' behind all the house of Judah. 17 The builders on the wall, and the bearers of the burden, those lading, 'each' with one of his hands is working in the business, and one is laying hold of the missile. 18 And the builders 'are' each with his sword, girded on his loins, and building, and he who is blowing with a trumpet 'is' beside me. 19 And I say unto the freemen, and unto the prefects, and unto the rest of the people, 'The work is abundant, and large, and we are separated on the wall, far off one from another; 20 in the place that ye hear the voice of the trumpet thither ye are gathered unto us; our God doth fight for us.' 21 And we are working in the business, and half of them are keeping hold of the spears, from the going up of the dawn till the coming forth of the stars. 22 Also, at that time I said to the people, 'Let each with his servant lodge in the midst of Jerusalem, and they have been to us by night a guard, and by day 'for' the work:' 23 and there are none—I and my brethren and my servants, the men of the guard who 'are' after me—there are none of us putting off our garments, each 'hath' his vessel of water.
The Payment of Interest Abolished
5 1 And there is a great cry of the people and their wives, concerning their brethren the Jews, 2 yea, there are who are saying, 'Our sons, and our daughters, we—are many, and we receive corn, and eat, and live.' 3 And there are who are saying, 'Our fields, and our vineyards, and our houses, we are pledging, and we receive corn for the famine.' 4 And there are who are saying, 'We have borrowed money for the tribute of the king, 'on' our fields, and our vineyards; 5 and now, as the flesh of our brethren 'is' our flesh, as their sons 'are' our sons, and lo, we are subduing our sons and our daughters for servants, and there are of our daughters subdued, and our hand hath no might, and our fields and our vineyards 'are' to others.'
6 And it is very displeasing to me when I have heard their cry and these words, 7 and my heart reigneth over me, and I strive with the freemen, and with the prefects, and say to them, 'Usury one upon another ye are exacting;' and I set against them a great assembly, 8 and say to them, 'We have acquired our brethren the Jews, those sold to the nations, according to the ability that 'is' in us, and ye also sell your brethren, and they have been sold to us!' and they are silent, and have not found a word. 9 And I say, 'Not good 'is' the thing that ye are doing; in the fear of our God do ye not walk, because of the reproach of the nations our enemies? 10 And also, I, my brethren, and my servants, are exacting of them silver and corn; let us leave off, I pray you, this usury. 11 Give back, I pray you, to them, as to-day, their fields, their vineyards, their olive-yards, and their houses, and the hundredth 'part' of the money, and of the corn, of the new wine, and of the oil, that ye are exacting of them.' 12 And they say, 'We give back, and of them we seek nothing; so we do as thou art saying.' And I call the priests, and cause them to swear to do according to this thing; 13 also, my lap I have shaken, and I say, 'Thus doth God shake out every man, who doth not perform this thing, from his house, and from his labour; yea, thus is he shaken out and empty;' and all the assembly say, 'Amen,' and praise Jehovah; and the people do according to this thing.
14 Also, from the day that he appointed me to be their governor in the land of Judah, from the twentieth year even unto the thirty and second year of Artaxerxes the king—twelve years—I, and my brethren, the bread of the governor have not eaten: 15 the former governors who 'are' before me have made themselves heavy on the people, and take of them in bread and wine, besides in silver forty shekels; also, their servants have ruled over the people—and I have not done so, because of the fear of God. 16 And also, in the work of this wall I have done mightily, even a field we have not bought, and all my servants are gathered there for the work; 17 and of the Jews, and of the prefects, a hundred and fifty men, and those coming in unto us of the nations that 'are' round about us, 'are' at my table; 18 and that which hath been prepared for one day 'is' one ox, six fat sheep, also fowls have been prepared for me, and once in ten days of all wines abundantly, and with this, the bread of the governor I have not sought, for heavy is the service on this people. 19 Remember for me, O my God, for good, all that I have done for this people.