1 The words of Neemias the son of Chelcia. And it came to pass in the month Chaseleu, of the twentieth year, that I was in Susan the palace.
2 And Anani, one of my brethren, came, he and some men of Juda; and I asked them concerning those that had escaped, who had been left of the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem.
3 And they said to me, The remnant, even those that are left of the captivity, are there in the land, in great distress and reproach: and the walls of Jerusalem are thrown down, and its gates are burnt with fire.
4 And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned for several days, and continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven.
5 And I said, Nay, I pray thee, O Lord God of heaven, the mighty, the great and terrible, keeping thy covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to those that keep his commandments:
6 let now thine ear be attentive, and thine eyes open, that thou mayest hear the prayer of thy servant, which I pray before thee at this time, this day both day and night, for the children of Israel thy servants, and make confession for the sins of the children of Israel, which we have sinned against thee: both I and the house of my father have sinned.
7 We have altogether broken covenant with thee, and we have not kept the commandments, and the ordinances, and the judgments, which thou didst command thy servant Moses.
8 Remember, I pray thee, the word wherewith thou didst charge thy servant Moses, saying, If ye break covenant with me, I will disperse you among the nations.
9 But if ye turn again to me, and keep my commandments, and do them; if ye should be scattered under the utmost bound of heaven, thence will I gather them, and I will bring them into the place which I have chosen to cause my name to dwell there.
10 Now they are thy servants and thy people, whom thou hast redeemed with thy great power, and with thy strong hand.
11 Turn not away, I pray thee, O Lord, but let thine ear be attentive to the prayer of thy servant, and to the prayer of thy servants, who desire to fear thy name: and prosper, I pray thee, thy servant this day, and cause him to find mercy in the sight of this man. Now I was the king's cup-bearer.