Of course I tried to put on a cheerful face before I went to work the next day, but my king is always most perceptive and promptly asked what was bothering me. So I took a deep breath and poured my heart out about my worry for Jerusalem with its broken walls. My king is most generous and asked what I thought should be done, so I begged him to let me go for a set time to Jerusalem to oversee the rebuilding of the walls. My blessed king not only granted my request, he gave me permission to use timber from the royal forest in my work!
It took me three days to travel to Jerusalem. My first night there, I went out to inspect the walls and gates and found them in a most deplorable state. So the next day I called together all the nobles, priests, and officials and announced to them that I had been sent there to be the governor in order to oversee the restoring of the city walls. Although a few were enthusiastic, for the most part the reception of my plans was tepid because of the machinations of Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah the Ammonite, and Geshem the Arab, may the dust blind their eyes and choke their throats. These degenerate sinners ridiculed me before all. I did my best to ignore them.