2Early the following spring, in the month of Nisan, during the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes' reign, I was serving the king his wine. I had never before appeared sad in his presence.H2320H5212H6242H8141H783H4428H3196H6440H5375H3196H5414H4428H7451H6440 2So the king asked me, "Why are you looking so sad? You don't look sick to me. You must be deeply troubled." Then I was terrified,H4428H559H6440H7451H2470H7455H3820H3966H7235H3372 3but I replied, "Long live the king! How can I not be sad? For the city where my ancestors are buried is in ruins, and the gates have been destroyed by fire."H559H4428H4428H2421H5769H6440H3415H5892H1004H1H6913H2720H8179H398H784 4The king asked, "Well, how can I help you?" With a prayer to the God of heaven,H4428H559H1245H6419H430H8064 5I replied, "If it please the king, and if you are pleased with me, your servant, send me to Judah to rebuild the city where my ancestors are buried."H559H4428H2895H4428H5650H3190H6440H7971H3063H5892H1H6913H1129 6The king, with the queen sitting beside him, asked, "How long will you be gone? When will you return?" After I told him how long I would be gone, the king agreed to my request.H4428H559H7694H3427H681H4109H7725H3190H6440H4428H7971H5414H2165 7I also said to the king, "If it please the king, let me have letters addressed to the governors of the province west of the Euphrates River, instructing them to let me travel safely through their territories on my way to Judah.H559H4428H2895H4428H107H5414H6346H5676H5104H5674H935H3063 8And please give me a letter addressed to Asaph, the manager of the king's forest, instructing him to give me timber. I will need it to make beams for the gates of the Temple fortress, for the city walls, and for a house for myself." And the king granted these requests, because the gracious hand of God was on me.H107H623H8104H4428H6508H5414H6086H7136H8179H1002H1004H2346H5892H1004H935H4428H5414H2896H3027H430 9When I came to the governors of the province west of the Euphrates River, I delivered the king's letters to them. The king, I should add, had sent along army officers and horsemen to protect me.H935H6346H5676H5104H5414H4428H107H4428H7971H8269H2428H6571 10But when Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite official heard of my arrival, they were very displeased that someone had come to help the people of Israel.H5571H2772H2900H5650H5984H8085H3415H7451H1419H935H120H1245H2896H1121H3478 11So I arrived in Jerusalem. Three days later,H935H3389H7969H3117 12I slipped out during the night, taking only a few others with me. I had not told anyone about the plans God had put in my heart for Jerusalem. We took no pack animals with us except the donkey I was riding.H6965H3915H4592H4592H582H5046H120H430H5414H3820H6213H3389H929H929H7392 13After dark I went out through the Valley Gate, past the Jackal's Well, and over to the Dung Gate to inspect the broken walls and burned gates.H3318H3915H8179H1516H6440H8577H5869H5886H830H8179H7663H7665H2346H3389H6555H8179H398H784 14Then I went to the Fountain Gate and to the King's Pool, but my donkey couldn't get through the rubble.H5674H8179H5869H4428H1295H4725H929H5674 15So, though it was still dark, I went up the Kidron Valley instead, inspecting the wall before I turned back and entered again at the Valley Gate.H5927H3915H5158H7663H7665H2346H7725H935H8179H1516H7725 16The city officials did not know I had been out there or what I was doing, for I had not yet said anything to anyone about my plans. I had not yet spoken to the Jewish leaders - the priests, the nobles, the officials, or anyone else in the administration.H5461H3045H1980H6213H3651H5046H3064H3548H2715H5461H3499H6213H4399 17But now I said to them, "You know very well what trouble we are in. Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire. Let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem and end this disgrace!"H559H7200H7451H3389H2720H8179H3341H784H3212H1129H2346H3389H2781 18Then I told them about how the gracious hand of God had been on me, and about my conversation with the king. They replied at once, "Yes, let's rebuild the wall!" So they began the good work.H5046H3027H430H2896H4428H1697H559H559H6965H1129H2388H3027H2896 19But when Sanballat, Tobiah, and Geshem the Arab heard of our plan, they scoffed contemptuously. "What are you doing? Are you rebelling against the king?" they asked.H5571H2772H2900H5650H5984H1654H6163H8085H3932H959H559H1697H6213H4775H4428 20I replied, "The God of heaven will help us succeed. We, his servants, will start rebuilding this wall. But you have no share, legal right, or historic claim in Jerusalem."H7725H1697H559H430H8064H6743H5650H6965H1129H2506H6666H2146H3389
New Living Translation (NLT). Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a Division of Tyndale House Ministries, Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved. More details.