¶ In the month Nisan in the twentieth year of king Artaxerses, when the wine stood before him, I took up the wine, and gave it unto the king and I was heavy in his presence. Then said the king unto me: Why lookest thou so sadly? Thou art not sick, that is not the matter, but thou art heavy hearted. Nevertheless I was sore afraid and said unto the king: God save the king's life forever, should I not look sadly? The city of my fathers' burial lieth waste and the gates thereof are consumed with fire. Then said the king unto me: what is then thy request? Then made I my prayer to the God of heaven, and said unto the king: If it please the king, and if thy servant be favoured in thy sight. I be seek thee send me in to Iudah unto the city of my fathers' burial, that I may build it. And the king said unto me, and so did the queen that sat by him: How long shall thy journey continue, and when wilt thou come again? And it pleased the king to send me, and I set him a time, and said unto the king: if it please the king, let him give me letters to the captains beyond the water, that they may convey me over, till I come into Iudah: And letters unto Asaph the lord of the king's wood, that he may give me wood for beams to the gates of the palace, which are hard on the house and hard on the walls of the city, and for the house that I shall enter into. And the king gave me according to the good hand of God upon me:
¶ And when I came to the captains beyond the water, I gave them the king's letters. And the king sent captains and horsemen with me. But when Sanabalat the Horonite and Tobiah the servant of the Ammonites heard that, it grieved them sore, that there was come a man which sought the wealth of the children of Israel. And when I came to Ierusalem, and had been there three days, I gat me up in the night season, and a few men with me: for I told no man what God had given me in my heart to do at Ierusalem: and there was not one beast with me, save it that I rode upon. And I rode by night unto the valley port before the Dragon well, and to the Dung port, and considered the walls of Ierusalem that were broken down, and the ports thereof consumed with the fire. And I went over unto the wellport, and to the king's conduit, and there was no room for my beast, that it could go under me. Then went I on in the night by the brook side, and considered the wall, and turned back and came home again to the valley port. And the rulers knew not whither I went or what I did: for hither to had I not told the Iews and the priests, the councelers and the rulers, and the other that laboured in the work. And I said unto them: Ye see the misery that we are in, how Ierusalem lieth waste, and how the gates thereof are brent with fire, come let us build up the walls of Ierusalem, that we be no more a rebuke. And I told them of the good hand of my God which was upon me: and the king's words that he had spoken unto me. And they said: then let us get up, and build: and their hands were strengthened to good. But when Sanabalat the Horonite, and Tobiah the servant of the Ammonites, and Gesem the Arabian heard it, they laughed us to scorn, and despised us, and said: what is this that ye do? Will ye fall away again from the king? Then answered I them, and said: the God of heaven he it is that causeth us to prosper: and we be his servants. Let us get up and build. As for you, ye have no portion, nor right, nor remembrance in Ierusalem.