THE BOOK OF
Nehemiah 2 ©
Nehemiah, finding suitable opportunity, petitions king Artaxerxes, and obtains the favor, that he sends him to Jerusalem with a commission to reform and redress whatsoever was amiss there, and with letters to the keeper of the king’s wards, and to the governors, v. 1, etc. Nehemiah comes to the governors, and to Jerusalem, which is an eyesore to the enemies of God’s people, 9. He views by night the ruined walls and the burned gates of Jerusalem, 12. He opens the king’s commission before the most important of the people, and encourages them to build, in defiance and spite of the enemies, 17.
AND it came to pass in the month 1Nisan, in the twentieth year of 2Artaxerxes the king, that wine was before him: and 3I took up the wine, and gave it unto the king. Now I had not been beforetime 4sad 5in his presence.
Wherefore the king said unto me, Why is thy countenance sad, seeing thou art not sick? this is nothing else but sorrow of heart. Then I 6was very sore afraid,
And said unto the king, 7Let the king live 8for ever: 9why should not my countenance be sad, when the 10city, the 11place of my fathers' sepulchres, lieth waste, and the gates thereof are consumed with fire?
Then the king said unto me, 12For what dost thou make request? So I 13prayed to the God of heaven.
And I said unto the king, 14If it please the king, and if thy servant have found 15favour in thy sight, 16that thou wouldest send me unto Judah, unto the city of my fathers' sepulchres, that I may build it.
And the king said unto me, 17(the 18queen also sitting by him,) For how long shall thy journey be? and when wilt thou return? So it 19pleased the king to send me; and I set him a 20time.
Moreover I said unto the king, If it please the king, let letters be given me to the governors beyond the 21river, that they may convey me over till I come into Judah;
And a letter unto Asaph the 22keeper of the king's forest, that he may give me timber to make beams for the gates of the palace which appertained to the 23house, and for the wall of the city, and for the house that I shall enter into. And the king granted me, 24according to the good hand of my God upon me.
¶Then I came to the governors beyond the river, and gave them the king's letters. Now the king had sent captains of the army and horsemen with me.
When Sanballat the 25Horonite, and Tobiah the 26servant, the Ammonite, heard of it, it 27grieved them exceedingly that there was come a man to seek the welfare of the children of Israel.
So I came to Jerusalem, 28and was there three days.
¶And I arose in the night, I and some few men with me; neither told I any man what my God had put in my heart to do at Jerusalem: neither was there any beast with me, save the beast that I rode upon.
And I went out by night by the 29gate of the valley, even before the 30dragon well, and to the 31dung port,a and 32viewed the walls of Jerusalem, which were broken down, and the 33gates thereof were consumed with fire.
Then I went on to the 34gate of the fountain, and to the king’s 35pool: but there was 36no place for the beast that was under me to pass.
Then went I up in the night 37by the 38brook, and 39viewed the wall, and turned back, and entered by the gate of the valley, and so returned.
And the rulers knew not whither I went, or what I did; neither had I as yet told it to the Jews, nor to the priests, nor to the 40nobles, nor to the rulers, nor to the 41rest 42that did the work.
¶Then said I unto them, Ye see the distress that we are in, how Jerusalem lieth waste, and the gates thereof are burned with fire: come, and let us build up the wall of Jerusalem, that we be no more a reproach.
Then I told them of 43the hand of my God which was good upon me; as also the king's words that he had spoken unto me. And they said, Let us rise up and build. So they 44strengthened their hands for this good work.
But when Sanballat the Horonite, and Tobiah the servant, the Ammonite, and Geshem the Arabian, heard it, they laughed us to scorn, and despised us, and said, What is this thing that ye do? will ye rebel against the king?
Then answered I them, and said unto them, The God of heaven, he will prosper us; therefore we his servants will arise and build: but 45ye have no portion, nor right, nor memorial, in Jerusalem.