Now it happened in the month Chislev, in the twentieth year, while I was in Susa the [a]capitol,2 that Hanani, one of my brothers, [b]and some men from Judah came; and I asked them about the Jews who had escaped [c]and had survived the captivity, and about Jerusalem.3 And they said to me, “The remnant there in the province who survived the captivity are in great distress and disgrace, and the wall of Jerusalem is broken down and its gates have been burned with fire.”
4 Now when I heard these words, I sat down and wept and mourned for days; and I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven.5 I said, “Please, Lord God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps the covenant and faithfulness for those who love Him and keep His commandments:6 let Your ear now be attentive and Your eyes open, to hear the prayer of Your servant which I am praying before You now, day and night, on behalf of the sons of Israel Your servants, confessing the sins of the sons of Israel which we have committed against You; I and my father’s house have sinned.7 We have acted very corruptly against You and have not kept the commandments, nor the statutes, nor the ordinances which You commanded Your servant Moses.8 Remember, please, the word which You commanded Your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the peoples;9 but if you return to Me and keep My commandments and do them, though those of you who have been scattered were in the most remote part of the heavens, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place where I have chosen to have My name dwell.’10 They are Your servants and Your people whom You redeemed by Your great power and by Your strong hand.11 Please, Lord, may Your ear be attentive to the prayer of Your servant and the prayer of Your servants who delight to [d]revere Your name, and please make Your servant successful today and grant him mercy before this man.”
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