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Nehemiah 1 International Standard Version (ISV)


In this document, I,[a] Hacaliah’s son Nehemiah, recount[b] what occurred during the twentieth year of Artaxerxes.[c]


In the month of Chislev,[d] while I was in Shushan at the palace, Hanani, one of my brothers, arrived with some men from Judah. I asked them about the Jews who had escaped, about those who had survived the Babylonian[e] captivity, and about Jerusalem.

They told me, “The survivors of the captivity there in the province are living in great distress and shame. Furthermore, the Jerusalem wall remains broken down and its gates have been burned by fire.”

Nehemiah’s Prayer

When I heard this, I sat down and cried, mourning for a number of days while I fasted and prayed in the presence of the God of Heaven. I said, “Please, Lord, God of Heaven, the great and fearsome God who keeps the covenant, showing[f] gracious love to those who love you and keep your commands, please turn your attention to observe carefully and listen to the prayer of your servant today that I am presenting to you day and night on behalf of your servants, the Israelis.

“I confess the sins that we Israelis have committed against you. Both I and my father’s house have sinned. We have abandoned you by not keeping your commands, your ceremonies, and your judgments that you proscribed to your servant Moses. Please remember what you spoke in commanding your servant Moses. You said,

‘If you rebel, I will scatter you among the nations[g] but if you return to me, keeping my commands and doing them, even if your exiled people are in the farthest horizon, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place where I have chosen to establish my Name.’[h]

10 These are your servants as well as your people, whom you have redeemed by your great power and by your strong hand.

11 “And now, Lord, I ask you to listen to the prayer of your servant—and to the prayers of your servants who delight in revering your Name. I ask you, please prosper your servant today by granting him to receive favor from this man.”[i]

Now I was the king’s senior security advisor.[j]


  1. Nehemiah 1:1 Lit. The words of
  2. Nehemiah 1:1 The Heb. lacks recount
  3. Nehemiah 1:1 The Heb. lacks of Artaxerxes; cf. 2:1
  4. Nehemiah 1:1 I.e. about 445-444 BC
  5. Nehemiah 1:2 The Heb. lacks Babylonian
  6. Nehemiah 1:5 The Heb. lacks showing
  7. Nehemiah 1:8 Lit. people
  8. Nehemiah 1:9 Cf. Deut 30:1-5
  9. Nehemiah 1:11 I.e. King Artaxerxes
  10. Nehemiah 1:11 Lit. king’s cupbearer; a servant who tested the king’s food and beverages for poison; cf. Gen 41:9
International Standard Version (ISV)

Copyright © 1995-2014 by ISV Foundation. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED INTERNATIONALLY. Used by permission of Davidson Press, LLC.

Nehemiah 1 New International Version (NIV)

Nehemiah’s Prayer

The words of Nehemiah son of Hakaliah:

In the month of Kislev in the twentieth year, while I was in the citadel of Susa, Hanani, one of my brothers, came from Judah with some other men, and I questioned them about the Jewish remnant that had survived the exile, and also about Jerusalem.

They said to me, “Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.

When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven. Then I said:

Lord, the God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night for your servants, the people of Israel. I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father’s family, have committed against you. We have acted very wickedly toward you. We have not obeyed the commands, decrees and laws you gave your servant Moses.

“Remember the instruction you gave your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations, but if you return to me and obey my commands, then even if your exiled people are at the farthest horizon, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place I have chosen as a dwelling for my Name.’

10 “They are your servants and your people, whom you redeemed by your great strength and your mighty hand. 11 Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name. Give your servant success today by granting him favor in the presence of this man.”

I was cupbearer to the king.

New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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