IF IT PLEASES THE KING, GIVE ME LEAVE TO GO TO THE CITY OF MY ANCESTORS AND REBUILD IT.
And it came to pass in the month of Nisan, in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes the king: that wine was before him, and he took up the wine and gave it to the king: and I was as one languishing away before his face.
And the king said to me: Why is thy countenance sad, seeing thou dost not appear to be sick? this is not without cause, but some evil, I know not what, is in thy heart. And I was seized with an exceeding great fear:
And I said to the king: O king, live for ever: why should not my countenance be sorrowful, seeing the city of the place of the sepulchres of my fathers is desolate, and the gates thereof are burnt with fire?
Then the king said to me: For what dost thou make request? And I prayed to the God of heaven,
And I said to the king: If it seem good to the king, and if thy servant hath found favour in thy sight, that thou wouldst send me into Judea to the city of the sepulchre of my father, and I will build it.
And the king said to me, and the queen sat by him: For how long shall thy journey be, and when wilt thou return? And I pleased the king, and he sent me: and I fixed him a time.
And I said to the king: If it seem good to the king, let him give me letters to the governors of the country beyond the river, that they convey me over, till I come into Judea:
And a letter to Asaph the keeper of the king’s forest, to give me timber that I may cover the gates of the tower of the house, and the walls of the city, and the house that I shall enter into. And the king gave me according to the good hand of my God with me.
V. The word of the Lord.
R. Thanks be to God.