Now it came to pass in the month Chislev, in the twentieth year, as I was in the fortress-city of Shushan,
2that Hanani, one of my brothers, came from Judah, he and certain men. And I asked them about the Jews who had escaped and survived the captivity, and about Jerusalem.
3And they said to me, “The remnant there in the province who survived the captivity are in great affliction and reproach. Also, the wall of Jerusalem is broken down and its gates are burned with fire.”
4It came to pass when I heard these words that I sat down and wept, and I mourned for a number of days, and I fasted and prayed before the God of heaven
5and said, “I beg you, Yahweh, the God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps covenant and covenant faithfulness with those who love him and keep his commandments:
6let your ear now be attentive and your eyes open, that you may listen to the prayer of your servant that I pray before you at this time, day and night, for the children of Israel your servants while I confess the sins of the children of Israel that we have sinned against you. Yes, I and my father’s house have sinned.
7We have dealt very corruptly against you and have not kept the commandments, or the statutes, or the ordinances that you commanded your servant Moses.
8“Remember, I beg you, the word that you commanded your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you abroad among the peoples;
9but if you return to me and keep my commandments and do them, though your outcasts were in the uttermost part of the heavens, yet will I gather them from there and will bring them to the place that I have chosen, to cause my name to dwell there.’
10“Now these are your servants and your people whom you have redeemed by your great power and by your strong hand.
11Lord, I beg you, let your ear be attentive now to the prayer of your servant, and to the prayer of your servants who delight to fear your name; and please prosper your servant this day and grant him mercy in the presence of this man.” Now I was cupbearer to the king.