The Book of Nehemiah, King James Version of the Bible


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Nehemiah Rebuilds the Wails of Jerusalem

[445 B.C.]

The words of Nehemiah the son of Hachalia.

And it came to pass in the month Chisleu, in the twentieth year, as I was in Shushan the palace, that Hanani, one of my brethren, came, he and certain men of Judah; and I asked them concerning the Jews that had escaped, which were left of the captivity, and concerning Jersusalem.

And they said unto me, "The remnant that are left of the captivity there in the province are in great affliction and reproach: the wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and the gates thereof are burned with fire."

And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven.

And it came to pass in the month Nisan, in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes the king, that wine was before him: and I took up the wine, and gave it unto the king. Now I had not been beforetime sad in his presence.

Wherefore the king said unto me, "Why is thy countenance sad, seeing

THUTMOSE III, THE NAFOLEON OF EGYPT, VICTOR AT ARMAGEDDON
ALEXANDER THE GREAT
thou art not sick? This is nothing else but sorrow of heart."

Then I was very sore afraid, and said unto the king, "Let the king live forever. Why should not my countenance be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers’ sepulchres, lieth waste, and the gates thereof are consumed with fire?"

Then the king said unto me, "For what dost thou make request?"

So I prayed to the God of heaven. And I said unto the king, "If it please the king, and if thy servant have found favour in thy sight, that thou wouldest send me unto Judah, unto the city of my fathers’ sepulchres, that I may build it."

And the king said to me (the queen also sitting by him), "For how long shall thy journey be? And when wilt thou return?"

So it pleased the king to send me; and I set him a time.

When Sanballat, the Horonite, and Tobiah the servant, the Ammonite, heard of it, it grieved them exceedingly that there was come a man to seek the welfare of the children of Israel.

So I came to Jerusalem, and 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 gate of the valley, even before the dragon well, and to the dung port, and viewed the walls of Jerusalem, which were broken down, and the gates thereof were consumed with fire.

Then I went on to the gate of the fountain, and to the king’s pool: but there was no place for the beast that was under me to pass.

Then I went up in the night by the brook, and viewed the wall, and turned back, and entered by the gate of the valley, and so returned.

And the rulers knew not whither I went, nor what I did; neither had I as yet told it to the Jews, nor to the priests, nor to the nobles, nor to the rulers, nor to the rest that 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."

That I told them of the 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 strengthened 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 ye have no portion, nor right, nor memorial, in Jerusalem."

Then Eliashib the high priest rose up with his brethren the priests, and they builded the sheep gate; they sanctified it, and set up the doors of it; even unto the tower of Meah they sanctified it, unto the tower of Hananeel.

[At this point Nehemiah, with true reportorial zeal and accuracy, listed the names and order of the builders, describing in turn the rebuilding of the fish gate, the tower of the furnaces, the valley gate, the dung gate, the gate of the fountain, and the various turnings of the wall.]

So built we the wall; and all the wall was joined together unto the half thereof: for the people had a mind to work.

But it came to pass, that when Sanballat, and Tobiah, and the Arabians, and the Ammonites, and the Ashdodites, heard that the wails of Jerusalem were made up, and that the breaches began to be stopped, then they were very wroth, and conspired all of them together to come and to fight against Jerusalem, and to hinder it.

And it came to pass from that time forth, that the half of my servants wrought in the work, and the other half of them held both the spears, the shields, and the bows, and the habergeons1; and the rulers were behind all the house of Judah.

For the builders, every one had his sword girded by his side, and so builded. Neither I, nor my brethren, nor my servants, nor the men of the guard which followed me, none of us put off our clothes, saving that every one put them off for washing.

Now it came to pass, when Sanballat, and Tobiah, and Geshem the Arabian, and the rest of our enemies, heard that I had builded the wall, and that there was no breach left therein, (though at that time I had not set up the doors upon the gates), that Sanballat and Geshem sent unto me, saying, "Come, let us meet together in some one of the villages in the plain of Ono."

But they thought to do me mischief.

And I sent messengers unto them, saying, "I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down. Why should the work cease, whilst I leave it, and come down to you?"

Yet they sent unto me four times after this sort; and I answered them after the same manner.

Then sent Sanballat his servant unto me in like manner, the fifth time, with an open letter in his hand, wherein was written, "It is reported among the heathen, and Gashmu saith it, that thou and the Jews think to rebel: for which cause thou buildest the wail, that thou mayest be their king."

Then I seat unto him, saying, "There are no such things done as thou sayest, but thou feignest them out of thine own heart."

So the wall was finished in the twenty and fifth day of the month Elul, in fifty and two days.

And it came to pass that when all our enemies heard thereof, and all the heathen that were about us saw these things, they were much cast down in their own eyes: for they perceived that this work was wrought of our God.

1A coat of mail or armor used to defend the neck and breast, formed of little iron rings united, and descending from the neck to the middle of the body.

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Chicago: The Book of Nehemiah, King James Version of the Bible in History in the First Person: Eyewitnesses of Great Events: They Saw It Happen, ed. Louis Leo Snyder and Richard B. Morris (Harrisburg, Pa.: Stackpole Co., 1951), Original Sources, accessed May 28, 2022, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=7A8P74E4ECI7S72.

MLA: . The Book of Nehemiah, King James Version of the Bible, in History in the First Person: Eyewitnesses of Great Events: They Saw It Happen, edited by Louis Leo Snyder and Richard B. Morris, Harrisburg, Pa., Stackpole Co., 1951, Original Sources. 28 May. 2022. http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=7A8P74E4ECI7S72.

Harvard: , The Book of Nehemiah, King James Version of the Bible. cited in 1951, History in the First Person: Eyewitnesses of Great Events: They Saw It Happen, ed. , Stackpole Co., Harrisburg, Pa.. Original Sources, retrieved 28 May 2022, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=7A8P74E4ECI7S72.