1 Now I was cupbearer to the king. And it came to pass in the month Nisan, in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes the king, when wine was before him, that I took up the wine, and gave it to the king. Now I had not [formerly] been sad in 2 And the king said to me, Why is thy countenance sad, seeing thou are not sick? This is nothing else but sorrow of heart. Then I was very much afraid. 3 And I said to the king, Let the king live forever. Why should not my countenance be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers' sepulchers, lays waste, and the gates of it are consumed with fire?
4 Then the king said to me, For what do thou make request? So I prayed to the God of heaven. 5 And I said to the king, If it please the king, and if thy servant have found favor in thy sight, that thou would send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers' sepulchers, that I may build it.
6 And the king said to me (the queen also sitting by him), For how long shall thy journey be? And when will thou return? So it pleased the king to send me, and I set him a time.
7 Moreover I said to the king, If it please the king, let letters be given to me to the governors beyond the River, that they may let me pass through till I come to Judah, 8 and a letter to Asaph the keeper of the king's forest, that he may give me timber to make beams for the gates of the castle which appertains to the house, and for the wall of the city, and for the house that I shall enter into. And
9 Then I came to the governors beyond the River, and gave them the king's letters. Now the king had sent with me captains of the army and horsemen. 10 And when Sanballat the Horonite, and Tobiah the servant, the Ammonite, heard of it, it grieved them exceedingly that there came a man to seek the welfare of the sons of Israel.
11 So I came to Jerusalem, and was there three days. 12 And I arose in the night, I and some few men with me. I neither told any man what my God put into my heart to do for Jerusalem, nor was there any beast with me except the beast that I rode upon. 13 And I went out by night by the valley gate, even toward the jackal's well and to the dung gate, and viewed the walls of Jerusalem, which were broken down, and the gates of it were consumed with fire. 14 Then I went on to the fountain gate and to the king's pool, but there was no place for the beast that was under me to pass. 15 Then I went up in the night by the brook, and viewed the wall. And I turned back, and entered by the valley gate, and so returned. 16 And the rulers did not know where I went, or what I did, neither had I as yet told it to the Jews, nor to the priests, nor to the ranking men, nor to the rulers, nor to the rest who did the work. 17 Then I said to them, Ye see the evil condition that we are in, how Jerusalem lays waste, and the gates of it are burned with fire. Come, and let us build up the wall of Jerusalem that we be no more a reproach. 18 And I told them of the hand of my God which was good upon me, as also of the king's words that he had spoken to me. And they said, Let us rise up and build. So they strengthened their hands for the good [work].
19 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?