9 Now when these things had been completed, the officials approached me, saying, “The people of Israel and the priests and the Levites have not separated themselves from the peoples of the lands, as to their abominations, those of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Egyptians, and the Amorites. 2 For they have taken some of their daughters as wives for themselves and for their sons, so that the holy [a]race has intermingled with the peoples of the lands; indeed, the hands of the officials and the leaders have taken the lead in this unfaithfulness.” 3 When I heard about this matter, I tore my garment and my robe, and pulled out some of the hair from my head and my beard, and sat down [b]appalled. 4 Then everyone who was frightened by the words of the God of Israel on account of the unfaithfulness of the exiles gathered to me, and I sat [c]appalled until the evening offering.
Prayer of Confession
5 But at the evening offering I stood up from my [d]humiliation, even with my garment and my robe torn, and I bowed down on my knees and spread out my [e]hands to the Lord my God; 6 and I said, “My God, I am ashamed and humiliated to lift up my face to You, my God, for our wrongful deeds have [f]risen above our heads, and our guilt has grown even to the heavens. 7 Since the days of our fathers to this day we have been in great guilt, and because of our wrongful deeds we, our kings, and our priests have been handed over to the kings of the lands, to the sword, to captivity, to plunder, and to [g]open shame, as it is this day. 8 But now for a brief moment grace has been shown from the Lord our God, to leave us an escaped remnant and to give us a [h]peg in His holy place, so that our God may enlighten our eyes and grant us a little reviving in our bondage. 9 For we are slaves; yet in our bondage our God has not abandoned us, but has extended favor to us in the sight of the kings of Persia, to give us reviving to erect the house of our God, to restore its ruins, and to give us a wall in Judah and Jerusalem.
10 “And now, our God, what shall we say after this? For we have abandoned Your commandments, 11 which You have commanded by Your servants the prophets, saying, ‘The land which you are entering to possess is an unclean land with the uncleanness of the peoples of the lands, with their abominations which have filled it from end to end, and with their impurity. 12 So now do not give your daughters to their sons nor take their daughters for your sons, and never seek their peace or their prosperity, so that you may be strong and may eat the good things of the land, and leave it as an inheritance to your sons forever.’ 13 And after everything that has come upon us for our evil deeds and our great guilt, since You our God have spared us by inflicting less than our wrongdoing deserves, and have given us such an escaped remnant as this, 14 shall we again break Your commandments and intermarry with the peoples [i]who commit these abominations? Would You not be angry with us [j]to the point of destruction, until there would be no remnant nor any who would escape? 15 Lord God of Israel, You are righteous, for we have been left an escaped remnant, as it is this day; behold, we are before You in our guilt, for no one can stand before You because of this.”