The People Confess Their Sin
1Now on the twenty-fourth day of this month the sons of Israel assembled with fasting, in sackcloth, and with dirt upon them.
2And the descendants of Israel separated themselves from all foreigners, and stood and confessed their sins and the iniquities of their fathers.
3While they stood in their place, they read from the book of the law of the LORD their God for a fourth of the day; and for another fourth they confessed and worshiped the LORD their God.
4Now on the Levites’ platform stood Jeshua, Bani, Kadmiel, Shebaniah, Bunni, Sherebiah, Bani, and Chenani, and they cried with a loud voice to the LORD their God.
5Then the Levites, Jeshua, Kadmiel, Bani, Hashabneiah, Sherebiah, Hodiah, Shebaniah, and Pethahiah, said, “Arise, bless the LORD your God forever and ever!
O may Thy glorious name be blessed
And exalted above all blessing and praise!
6“Thou alone art the LORD.
Thou hast made the heavens,
The heaven of heavens with all their host,
The earth and all that is on it,
The seas and all that is in them.
Thou dost give life to all of them
And the heavenly host bows down before Thee.
7“Thou art the LORD God,
Who chose Abram
And brought him out from Ur of the Chaldees,
And gave him the name Abraham.
8“And Thou didst find his heart faithful before Thee,
And didst make a covenant with him
To give him the land of the Canaanite,
Of the Hittite and the Amorite,
Of the Perizzite, the Jebusite, and the Girgashite—
To give it to his descendants.
And Thou hast fulfilled Thy promise,
For Thou art righteous.
9“Thou didst see the affliction of our fathers in Egypt,
And didst hear their cry by the Red Sea.
10“Then Thou didst perform signs and wonders against Pharaoh,
Against all his servants and all the people of his land;
For Thou didst know that they acted arrogantly toward them,
And didst make a name for Thyself as it is this day.
11“And Thou didst divide the sea before them,
So they passed through the midst of the sea on dry ground;
And their pursuers Thou didst hurl into the depths,
Like a stone into raging waters.
12“And with a pillar of cloud Thou didst lead them by day,
And with a pillar of fire by night
To light for them the way
In which they were to go.
13“Then Thou didst come down on Mount Sinai,
And didst speak with them from heaven;
Thou didst give to them just ordinances and true laws,
Good statutes and commandments.
14“So Thou didst make known to them Thy holy sabbath,
And didst lay down for them commandments, statutes, and law,
Through Thy servant Moses.
15“Thou didst provide bread from heaven for them for their hunger,
Thou didst bring forth water from a rock for them for their thirst,
And Thou didst tell them to enter in order to possess
The land which Thou didst swear to give them.
16“But they, our fathers, acted arrogantly;
They became stubborn and would not listen to Thy commandments.
17“And they refused to listen,
And did not remember Thy wondrous deeds which Thou hadst performed among them;
So they became stubborn and appointed a leader to return to their slavery in Egypt.
But Thou art a God of forgiveness,
Gracious and compassionate,
Slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness;
And Thou didst not forsake them.
18“Even when they made for themselves
A calf of molten metal
And said, ‘This is your God
Who brought you up from Egypt,’
And committed great blasphemies,
19Thou, in Thy great compassion,
Didst not forsake them in the wilderness;
The pillar of cloud did not leave them by day,
To guide them on their way,
Nor the pillar of fire by night, to light for them the way in which they were to go.
20“And Thou didst give Thy good Spirit to instruct them,
Thy manna Thou didst not withhold from their mouth,
And Thou didst give them water for their thirst.
21“Indeed, forty years Thou didst provide for them in the wilderness and they were not in want;
Their clothes did not wear out, nor did their feet swell.
22“Thou didst also give them kingdoms and peoples,
And Thou didst allot them to them as a boundary.
And they took possession of the land of Sihon the king of Heshbon,
And the land of Og the king of Bashan.
23“And Thou didst make their sons numerous as the stars of heaven,
And Thou didst bring them into the land
Which Thou hadst told their fathers to enter and possess.
24“So their sons entered and possessed the land.
And Thou didst subdue before them the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites,
And Thou didst give them into their hand, with their kings, and the peoples of the land,
To do with them as they desired.
25“And they captured fortified cities and a fertile land.
They took possession of houses full of every good thing,
Hewn cisterns, vineyards, olive groves,
Fruit trees in abundance.
So they ate, were filled, and grew fat,
And reveled in Thy great goodness.
26“But they became disobedient and rebelled against Thee,
And cast Thy law behind their backs
And killed Thy prophets who had admonished them
So that they might return to Thee,
And they committed great blasphemies.
27“Therefore Thou didst deliver them into the hand of their oppressors who oppressed them,
But when they cried to Thee in the time of their distress,
Thou didst hear from heaven, and according to Thy great compassion
Thou didst give them deliverers who delivered them from the hand of their oppressors.
28“But as soon as they had rest, they did evil again before Thee;
Therefore Thou didst abandon them to the hand of their enemies, so that they ruled over them.
When they cried again to Thee, Thou didst hear from heaven,
And many times Thou didst rescue them according to Thy compassion,
29And admonished them in order to turn them back to Thy law.
Yet they acted arrogantly and did not listen to Thy commandments but sinned against Thine ordinances,
By which if a man observes them he shall live.
And they turned a stubborn shoulder and stiffened their neck, and would not listen.
30“However, Thou didst bear with them for many years,
And admonished them by Thy Spirit through Thy prophets,
Yet they would not give ear.
Therefore Thou didst give them into the hand of the peoples of the lands.
31“Nevertheless, in Thy great compassion Thou didst not make an end of them or forsake them,
For Thou art a gracious and compassionate God.
32“Now therefore, our God, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who dost keep covenant and lovingkindness,
Do not let all the hardship seem insignificant before Thee,
Which has come upon us, our kings, our princes, our priests, our prophets, our fathers, and on all Thy people,
From the days of the kings of Assyria to this day.
33“However, Thou art just in all that has come upon us;
For Thou hast dealt faithfully, but we have acted wickedly.
34“For our kings, our leaders, our priests, and our fathers have not kept Thy law
Or paid attention to Thy commandments and Thine admonitions with which Thou hast admonished them.
35“But they, in their own kingdom,
With Thy great goodness which Thou didst give them,
With the broad and rich land which Thou didst set before them,
Did not serve Thee or turn from their evil deeds.
36“Behold, we are slaves today,
And as to the land which Thou didst give to our fathers to eat of its fruit and its bounty,
Behold, we are slaves on it.
37“And its abundant produce is for the kings
Whom Thou hast set over us because of our sins;
They also rule over our bodies
And over our cattle as they please,
So we are in great distress.
A Covenant Results
38“Now because of all this
We are making an agreement in writing;
And on the sealed document are the names of our leaders, our Levites and our priests.”