1 These are the words of Nehemiah son of Hacaliah:
In the month of Chislev, a in the twentieth year, while I was in the citadel of Susa, 2 Hanani, one of my brothers, arrived with men from Judah. So I questioned them about the remnant of the Jews who had survived the exile, and also about Jerusalem.
3 And they told me, “The remnant who survived the exile are there in the province, in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates are burned with fire.”
4 When I heard these words, I sat down and wept. I mourned for days, fasting and praying before the God of heaven.
5 Then I said:
“O LORD, God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps His covenant of loving devotion b with those who love Him and keep His commandments, 6 let Your eyes be open and Your ears attentive to hear the prayer that I, Your servant, now pray before You day and night for Your servants, the Israelites.
I confess the sins that we Israelites have committed against You. Both I and my father’s house have sinned. 7 We have behaved corruptly against You and have not kept the commandments, statutes, and ordinances that You gave Your servant Moses.
8 Remember, I pray, the word that You commanded Your servant Moses when You said, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations, 9 but if you return to Me and keep and practice My commandments, then even if your exiles have been banished to the farthest horizon, c I will gather them from there and bring them to the place I have chosen as a dwelling for My Name.’ d
10 They are Your servants and Your people. You redeemed them by Your great power and mighty hand. 11 O Lord, may Your ear be attentive to my prayer and to the prayers of Your servants e who delight to revere Your name. Give Your servant success this day, I pray, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man.”
(At that time I was the cupbearer to the king.)
1 a Chislev is the ninth month of the Hebrew lunar calendar, usually occurring within the months of November and December.
5 b Forms of the Hebrew chesed are translated here and in most cases throughout the Scriptures as loving devotion ; the range of meaning includes love , goodness , kindness , faithfulness , and mercy , as well as loyalty to a covenant .
9 c Or to the extremity of the heavens
9 d Deuteronomy 30:1–4
11 e Literally to the prayer of Your servant and to the prayer of Your servants