1. The words of Nehemiah, the son of Hacaliah. And it happened that, in the month of Chislev, in the twentieth year, I was in the capital city of Susa.
2. And Hanani, one of my brothers, arrived, he and some men of Judah. And I questioned them about the Jews who had remained and were left behind from the captivity, and about Jerusalem.
3. And they said to me: “Those who have remained and have been left behind from the captivity, there in the province, are in great affliction and in disgrace. And the wall of Jerusalem has been broken apart, and its gates have been burned with fire.”
4. And when I had heard this manner of words, I sat down, and I wept and mourned for many days. I fasted and prayed before the face of the God of heaven.
5. And I said: “I beg you, O Lord, God of heaven, strong, great, and terrible, who keeps covenant and mercy with those who love you and who keep your commandments:
6. may your ears be attentive, and may your eyes be open, so that you may hear the prayer of your servant, which I am praying before you today, night and day, for the sons of Israel, your servants. And I am confessing the sins of the sons of Israel, which they have sinned against you. We have sinned, I and my father’s house.
7. We have been seduced by vanity. And we have not kept your commandments and ceremonies and judgments, which you have instructed to your servant Moses.
8. Remember the word which you commanded to your servant Moses, saying: ‘When you will have transgressed, I will disperse you among the nations.
9. But if you will return to me, and keep my precepts, and do them, even if you will have been led away to the furthest reaches of the heavens, I will gather you from there, and I will lead you back to the place that I have chosen so that my name would dwell there.’
10. And these same are your servants and your people, whom you have redeemed by your great strength and by your powerful hand.
11. I beg you, O Lord, may your ear be attentive to the prayer of your servant, and to the prayer of your servants who are willing to fear your name. And so, guide your servant today, and grant to him mercy before this man.” For I was the cupbearer of the king.