The Bible in Its Traditions

Nehemiah 1:1–11

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THE WORDS of Nehemiah the son of Hacaliah. Now it came to pass in the month Chislev, in the twentieth year, as I was in Shushan the castle,

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that Hanani, one of my brethren, came out of Judah, he and certain men; and I asked them concerning the Jews that had escaped, that were left of the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem.

And Anani, one of my brethren, came, he and some men of Juda; and I asked them concerning those that had escaped, who had been left of the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem.

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.

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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 also is broken down, and the gates thereof are burned with fire.'

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.”

And these men whom I asked said to me, The men who had escaped the captivity, behold, they are there in the city, dwelling in misery and reproach; the wall of Jerusalem also is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.

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

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.

When I heard these words, I sat down and wept and mourned for many days, and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.

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and said: 'I beseech Thee, O YHWH, the God of heaven, the great and awful God, that keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love Him and keep His commandments;

And I said, Nay, I pray thee, O Lord God of heaven, the mighty, the great and terrible, keeping thy covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to those that keep his commandments

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

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let Thine ear now be attentive, and Thine eyes open, that Thou mayest hearken unto the prayer of Thy servant, which I pray before Thee at this time, day and night, for the children of Israel Thy servants, while I confess the sins of the children of Israel, which we have sinned against Thee; yea, I and my father's house have sinned.

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.

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We have dealt very corruptly against Thee, and have not kept the commandments, nor the statutes, nor the ordinances which Thou didst command Thy servant Moses.

And we have not kept all the commandments nor the statutes nor the ordinances which thou didst command thy servant Moses.

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Remember, I beseech Thee, the word that Thou didst command Thy servant Moses, saying: If ye deal treacherously, I will scatter you abroad among the peoples;

Remember the word which you commanded to your servant Moses, saying: ‘When you will have transgressed, I will disperse you among the nations.

Remember now all the commandments which thou didst command thy servant Moses, saying, If you transgress against me, I will scatter you among the nations;

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but if ye return unto Me, and keep My commandments and do them, though your dispersed were in the uttermost part of the heaven, yet will I gather them from thence, and will bring them unto the place that I have chosen to cause My name to dwell there.

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  Now these are Thy servants and Thy people, whom Thou hast redeemed by Thy great power, and by Thy strong hand.

10  And these same are your servants and your people, whom you have redeemed by your great strength and by your powerful hand.

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11  O Lord, I beseech Thee, let now Thine ear be attentive to the prayer of Thy servant, and to the prayer of Thy servants, who delight to fear Thy name; and prosper, I pray Thee, Thy servant this day, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man.' Now I was cupbearer to the king.

11  Turn not away, I pray thee, O Lord, but let thine ear be attentive to the prayer of thy servant, and to the prayer of thy servants, who desire to fear thy name: and prosper, I pray thee, thy servant this day, and cause him to find mercy in the sight of this man. Now I was the king’s cup-bearer.

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.