2:4 The king responded, 1 “What is it you are seeking?” Then I quickly prayed to the God of heaven 2:5 and said to the king, “If the king is so inclined 2 and if your servant has found favor in your sight, dispatch me to Judah, to the city with the graves of my ancestors, so that I can rebuild it.” 2:6 Then the king, with his consort 3 sitting beside him, replied, “How long would your trip take, and when would you return?” Since the king was amenable to dispatching me, 4 I gave him a time. 2:7 I said to the king, “If the king is so inclined, let him give me letters for the governors of Trans-Euphrates 5 that will enable me to travel safely until I reach Judah, 2:8 and a letter for Asaph the keeper of the king’s nature preserve, 6 so that he will give me timber for beams for the gates of the fortress adjacent to the temple and for the city wall 7 and for the house to which I go.” So the king granted me these requests, 8 for the good hand of my God was on me. 2:9 Then I went to the governors of Trans-Euphrates, and I presented to them the letters from the king. The king had sent with me officers of the army and horsemen. 2:10 When Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite official 9 heard all this, they were very displeased that someone had come to seek benefit for the Israelites.
Nehemiah Arrives in Jerusalem
2:11 So I came to Jerusalem. 10 When I had been there for three days, 2:12 I got up during the night, along with a few men who were with me. But I did not tell anyone what my God was putting on my heart to do for Jerusalem. There were no animals with me, except for the one 11 I was riding. 2:13 I proceeded through the Valley Gate by night, in the direction of the Well of the Dragons 12 and the Dung Gate, 13 inspecting 14 the walls of Jerusalem that had been breached and its gates that had been destroyed by fire. 2:14 I passed on to the Gate of the Well and the King’s Pool, where there was not enough room for my animal to pass with me. 2:15 I continued up the valley during the night, inspecting the wall. Then I turned back and came to the Valley Gate, and so returned. 2:16 The officials did not know where I had gone or what I had been doing, for up to this point I had not told any of the Jews or the priests or the nobles or the officials or the rest of the workers. 2:17 Then I said to them, “You see the problem that we have: Jerusalem is desolate and its gates are burned. Come on! Let’s rebuild the wall of Jerusalem so that this reproach will not continue.”