Then, at the evening sacrifice,(A) I rose from my self-abasement, with my tunic and cloak torn, and fell on my knees with my hands(B) spread out to the Lord my God and prayed:

“I am too ashamed(C) and disgraced, my God, to lift up my face to you, because our sins are higher than our heads and our guilt has reached to the heavens.(D) From the days of our ancestors(E) until now, our guilt has been great. Because of our sins, we and our kings and our priests have been subjected to the sword(F) and captivity,(G) to pillage and humiliation(H) at the hand of foreign kings, as it is today.

“But now, for a brief moment, the Lord our God has been gracious(I) in leaving us a remnant(J) and giving us a firm place[a](K) in his sanctuary, and so our God gives light to our eyes(L) and a little relief in our bondage. Though we are slaves,(M) our God has not forsaken us in our bondage. He has shown us kindness(N) in the sight of the kings of Persia: He has granted us new life to rebuild the house of our God and repair its ruins,(O) and he has given us a wall of protection in Judah and Jerusalem.

10 “But now, our God, what can we say after this? For we have forsaken the commands(P) 11 you gave through your servants the prophets when you said: ‘The land you are entering(Q) to possess is a land polluted(R) by the corruption of its peoples. By their detestable practices(S) they have filled it with their impurity from one end to the other. 12 Therefore, do not give your daughters in marriage to their sons or take their daughters for your sons. Do not seek a treaty of friendship with them(T) at any time, that you may be strong(U) and eat the good things(V) of the land and leave it to your children as an everlasting inheritance.’(W)

13 “What has happened to us is a result of our evil(X) deeds and our great guilt, and yet, our God, you have punished us less than our sins deserved(Y) and have given us a remnant like this. 14 Shall we then break your commands again and intermarry(Z) with the peoples who commit such detestable practices? Would you not be angry enough with us to destroy us,(AA) leaving us no remnant(AB) or survivor? 15 Lord, the God of Israel, you are righteous!(AC) We are left this day as a remnant. Here we are before you in our guilt, though because of it not one of us can stand(AD) in your presence.(AE)

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  1. Ezra 9:8 Or a foothold

The Israelites Confess Their Sins

On the twenty-fourth day of the same month, the Israelites gathered together, fasting and wearing sackcloth and putting dust on their heads.(A) Those of Israelite descent had separated themselves from all foreigners.(B) They stood in their places and confessed their sins and the sins of their ancestors.(C) They stood where they were and read from the Book of the Law of the Lord their God for a quarter of the day, and spent another quarter in confession and in worshiping the Lord their God. Standing on the stairs of the Levites(D) were Jeshua, Bani, Kadmiel, Shebaniah, Bunni, Sherebiah, Bani and Kenani. They cried out with loud voices to the Lord their God. And the Levites—Jeshua, Kadmiel, Bani, Hashabneiah, Sherebiah, Hodiah, Shebaniah and Pethahiah—said: “Stand up and praise the Lord your God,(E) who is from everlasting to everlasting.[a]

“Blessed be your glorious name,(F) and may it be exalted above all blessing and praise. You alone are the Lord.(G) You made the heavens,(H) even the highest heavens, and all their starry host,(I) the earth(J) and all that is on it, the seas(K) and all that is in them.(L) You give life to everything, and the multitudes of heaven(M) worship you.

“You are the Lord God, who chose Abram(N) and brought him out of Ur of the Chaldeans(O) and named him Abraham.(P) You found his heart faithful to you, and you made a covenant with him to give to his descendants the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Jebusites and Girgashites.(Q) You have kept your promise(R) because you are righteous.(S)

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  1. Nehemiah 9:5 Or God for ever and ever

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