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.
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.’