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Nehemias hearing the miserable state of his countrymen in Judea, lamenteth, fasteth, and prayeth to God for their relief.

[1] The words of Nehemias the son of Helchias. And it came to pass in the month of Casleu, in the twentieth year, as I was in the castle of Susa, [2] That Hanani one of my brethren came, he and some men of Juda; and I asked them concerning the Jews, that remained and were left of the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem. [3] And they said to me: They that have remained, and are left of the captivity there in the province, are in great affliction, and reproach: and the wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and the gates thereof are burnt with fire. [4] And when I had heard these words, I sat down, and wept, and mourned for many days: and I fasted, and prayed before the face of the God of heaven. [5] And I said: I beseech thee, O Lord God of heaven, strong, great, and terrible, who keepest covenant and mercy with those that love thee, and keep thy commandments:

[6] Let thy ears be attentive, and thy eyes open, to hear the prayer of thy servant, which I pray before thee now, night and day, for the children of Israel thy servants: and I confess the sins of the children of Israel, by which they have sinned against thee: I and my father' s house have sinned. [7] We have been seduced by vanity, and have not kept thy commandments, and ceremonies and judgments, which thou hast commanded thy servant Moses. [8] Remember the word that thou commandedst to Moses thy servant, saying: If you shall transgress, I will scatter you abroad among the nations: [9] But if you return to me, and keep my commandments, and do them, though you should be led away to the uttermost parts of the world, I will gather you from thence, and bring you back to the place which I have chosen for my name to dwell there. [10] And these are thy servants, and thy people: whom thou hast redeemed by thy great strength, and by thy mighty hand.

[11] I beseech thee, O Lord, let thy ear be attentive to the prayer of thy servant, and to the prayer of thy servants who desire to fear thy name: and direct thy servant this day, and give him mercy before this man. For I was the king' s cupbearer.

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