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 not
[before] been sad in his presence.
2:2 Wherefore the king said to me, Why [is] thy countenance sad,
seeing thou [art] not sick? this [is] nothing but sorrow of
heart. Then I was very greatly afraid,
2:3 And 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' sepulchers, [lieth] waste, and its gates are consumed
2:4 Then the king said to me, For what dost thou make request?
So I prayed to the God of heaven.
2:5 And I said to the king, If it should please the king, and if
thy servant hath found favor in thy sight, that thou wouldst
send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers' sepulchers, that I
may build it.
2:6 And the king said to me, (the queen also sitting by him,)
For how long shall thy journey be? and when wilt thou return?
So it pleased the king to send me; and I set him a time.
2:7 Moreover, I said to the king, If it should please the king,
let letters be given me to the governors beyond the river, that
they may convey me over till I come into Judah:
2:8 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 [appertained] to the house, and for the wall of the city,
and for the house that I shall enter. And the king granted me,
according to the good hand of my God upon me.
2:9 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.
2:10 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.
2:11 So I came to Jerusalem, and was there three days.
2:12 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, save the
beast that I rode upon.
2:13 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 their gates
were consumed with fire.
2:14 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.
2:15 Then I went 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.
2:16 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 that did
2:17 Then said I to them, Ye see the distress that we [are] in,
how Jerusalem [lieth] waste, and its gates are burned with
fire: come, and let us build up the wall of Jerusalem, that we
may be no more a reproach.
2:18 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 to me. And they
said, Let us rise and build. So they strengthened their hands
for [this] good [work].
2:19 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?
2:20 Then I answered them, and said to 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