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Nehemiah 9 GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)

A Day of Fasting and Confession

When the Israelites assembled on the twenty-fourth day of this month, they fasted, wore sackcloth, and threw dirt on their heads. Those who were descendants of Israel separated themselves from all foreigners. They stood and confessed their sins as well as the wicked things their ancestors had done. They stood in their places, and for one-fourth of the day, they listened as the Book of the Teachings of the Lord their God was read, and for another fourth of the day, they confessed their sins and worshiped the Lord their God.

A Day of Prayer

Then Jeshua, Bani, Kadmiel, Shebaniah, Bunni, Sherebiah, Bani, and Chanani stood on the stairs built for the Levites and cried loudly to the Lord their God. Then the Levites—Jeshua, Kadmiel, Bani, Hashabneiah, Sherebiah, Hodiah, Shebaniah, and Pethahiah—said, “Stand up, and thank the Lord your God:

Creation

From everlasting to everlasting your glorious name is praised
    and lifted high above all blessing and praise.
You alone are the Lord.
You made heaven, the highest heaven, with all its armies.
You made the earth and everything on it,
    the seas and everything in them.
You give life to them all, and the armies of heaven worship you.

Abraham

You are the Lord, the God who chose Abram
    and took him from Ur of the Chaldeans
        and gave him the name Abraham.
You found that his heart was faithful to you.
You made a promise[a] to him to give the land of the Canaanites, Hittites,
    Amorites, Perizzites, Jebusites, and Girgashites to his descendants.
You kept your promise because you are fair.

The Exodus

You saw how our ancestors suffered in Egypt,
    and you heard them crying at the Red Sea.
10 You performed miraculous signs and did amazing things to Pharaoh
    and all his servants and all the people in his land
        because you knew how arrogantly
            they were treating our ancestors.
You made a name for yourself, a name which remains to this day.
11 You divided the sea in front of them
    so that they could walk through the sea on dry ground.
You threw into deep water those who pursued your people
    as someone throws a stone into raging water.

Wandering in the Wilderness

12 You led them during the day by a column of smoke
    and during the night by a column of fire to give them light
        to see the way they should go.
13 You came from heaven to Mount Sinai
    and spoke with them from heaven.
You gave them fair rules, trustworthy teachings,
    and good laws and commandments.
14 You taught them about your holy day of rest.
You gave them commandments, laws, and teachings
    through your servant Moses.
15 You gave them bread from heaven to satisfy their hunger
    and made water flow from a rock to quench their thirst.
You told them to take possession of the land
    that you swore you would give them.
16 But they—our own ancestors—acted arrogantly.
    They became stubborn and wouldn’t obey your commands.
17     They refused to listen.
    They forgot the miracles you performed for them.
    They became stubborn and appointed a leader
        to take them back to slavery in Egypt.
But you are a forgiving God,
    one who is compassionate, merciful, patient,
        and always ready to forgive.
You never abandoned them,
18     even when they made a metal statue of a calf for themselves
        and said, ‘This is your god who took you out of Egypt.’
They committed outrageous sins.
19 But because of your endless compassion,
    you didn’t abandon them in the desert.
        The column of smoke didn’t leave them during the day,
            but it led them on their way.
        The column of fire didn’t leave them during the night,
            but it gave them light to see the way they should go.
20 You gave them your good Spirit to teach them.
You didn’t keep your manna to yourself.
You gave them water to quench their thirst.
21 You provided for them in the desert for 40 years,
    and they had everything they needed.
Their clothes didn’t wear out, and their feet didn’t swell.

Conquest of Canaan

22 You gave kingdoms and nations to the Israelites
    and assigned them their boundaries.
        So they took possession of the land of Sihon,
            the land of the king of Heshbon,
                and the land of King Og of Bashan.
23 You made their children as numerous as the stars in the sky.
You brought them into the land you told their parents to enter and possess.
24 Their children took possession of the land.
You defeated for them the Canaanites, who lived in the land.
You handed the Canaanite kings and their people over to them
    to do whatever they wanted with the Canaanites.
25 The Israelites captured fortified cities and a rich land.
They took possession of houses filled with all sorts of good things,
    cisterns, vineyards, olive trees,
        and plenty of fruit trees.
            So they ate and were satisfied and grew fat.
                They enjoyed the vast supply of good things you gave them.

Israel’s Rebellion

26 But they were defiant and rebelled against you.
They threw your teachings over their shoulders
    and killed your prophets who warned them to turn back to you.
        They committed outrageous sins.
27 You handed them over to their enemies, who made them suffer.
    When they began to suffer, they cried to you.
You heard them from heaven.
You gave them saviors to rescue them from their enemies
    because of your endless compassion.
28 As soon as they felt some relief,
    they were again doing what you considered evil.
You abandoned them to their enemies, who conquered them.
They cried to you again, and you heard them from heaven.
You rescued them many times because of your compassion.
29 You warned them in order to bring them back to your teachings,
    but they became arrogant and would not obey your commandments.
They sinned by not following your regulations.
    If anyone follows them, he will find life in them.
But they gave you the cold shoulder,
    became impossible to deal with, and wouldn’t listen.
30 You were patient with them for many years.
You warned them by your Spirit through your prophets.
    However, they wouldn’t listen.
        So you handed them over to the people in the surrounding nations.
31 But your compassion is endless.
    You didn’t destroy them or abandon them.
        You are a merciful and compassionate God.

The Present

32 And now, our God, you are the great, mighty, and awe-inspiring God.
    You faithfully keep your promises.
Do not consider all the hardships
    that we have been going through as unimportant.
        The hardships have come to our kings, leaders, priests, prophets,
            ancestors, and all your people
                from the time of the kings of Assyria until now.
33 But you were fair about everything that has happened to us.
    You have been faithful, but we have been wicked.
34 Our kings, leaders, priests, and ancestors didn’t obey your teachings.
    They didn’t pay attention to your commandments or the warnings
        that you gave them.
35 When they lived in their own kingdom and enjoyed the many good things
    that you gave them in a vast, fertile land
        which was set in front of them, they didn’t serve you
            or turn away from their wicked lives.
36 Look at us now. We’re slaves!
    In the land you gave our ancestors,
        they could eat its produce and enjoy its good things.
            But now we’re slaves!
37 The many products from our land go to the kings you put over us.
    This is because of our sins.
        These kings have control over our bodies,
            and they do as they please with our livestock.
                We are in agony.[b]

An Agreement in Writing

38 “We are making a binding agreement and putting it in writing because of all this. Our leaders, Levites, and priests are putting their seals on the document.”

Footnotes:

  1. Nehemiah 9:8 Or “covenant.”
  2. Nehemiah 9:37 Nehemiah 9:38 in English Bibles is Nehemiah 10:1 in the Hebrew Bible.
GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)

Copyright © 1995 by God's Word to the Nations. Used by permission of God's Word Mission Society.

Nehemiah 9 New International Version (NIV)

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. Those of Israelite descent had separated themselves from all foreigners. They stood in their places and confessed their sins and the sins of their ancestors. 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 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, who is from everlasting to everlasting.[a]

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

“You are the Lord God, who chose Abram and brought him out of Ur of the Chaldeans and named him Abraham. 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. You have kept your promise because you are righteous.

“You saw the suffering of our ancestors in Egypt; you heard their cry at the Red Sea.[b] 10 You sent signs and wonders against Pharaoh, against all his officials and all the people of his land, for you knew how arrogantly the Egyptians treated them. You made a name for yourself, which remains to this day. 11 You divided the sea before them, so that they passed through it on dry ground, but you hurled their pursuers into the depths, like a stone into mighty waters. 12 By day you led them with a pillar of cloud, and by night with a pillar of fire to give them light on the way they were to take.

13 “You came down on Mount Sinai; you spoke to them from heaven. You gave them regulations and laws that are just and right, and decrees and commands that are good. 14 You made known to them your holy Sabbath and gave them commands, decrees and laws through your servant Moses. 15 In their hunger you gave them bread from heaven and in their thirst you brought them water from the rock; you told them to go in and take possession of the land you had sworn with uplifted hand to give them.

16 “But they, our ancestors, became arrogant and stiff-necked, and they did not obey your commands. 17 They refused to listen and failed to remember the miracles you performed among them. They became stiff-necked and in their rebellion appointed a leader in order to return to their slavery. But you are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love. Therefore you did not desert them, 18 even when they cast for themselves an image of a calf and said, ‘This is your god, who brought you up out of Egypt,’ or when they committed awful blasphemies.

19 “Because of your great compassion you did not abandon them in the wilderness. By day the pillar of cloud did not fail to guide them on their path, nor the pillar of fire by night to shine on the way they were to take. 20 You gave your good Spirit to instruct them. You did not withhold your manna from their mouths, and you gave them water for their thirst. 21 For forty years you sustained them in the wilderness; they lacked nothing, their clothes did not wear out nor did their feet become swollen.

22 “You gave them kingdoms and nations, allotting to them even the remotest frontiers. They took over the country of Sihon[c] king of Heshbon and the country of Og king of Bashan. 23 You made their children as numerous as the stars in the sky, and you brought them into the land that you told their parents to enter and possess. 24 Their children went in and took possession of the land. You subdued before them the Canaanites, who lived in the land; you gave the Canaanites into their hands, along with their kings and the peoples of the land, to deal with them as they pleased. 25 They captured fortified cities and fertile land; they took possession of houses filled with all kinds of good things, wells already dug, vineyards, olive groves and fruit trees in abundance. They ate to the full and were well-nourished; they reveled in your great goodness.

26 “But they were disobedient and rebelled against you; they turned their backs on your law. They killed your prophets, who had warned them in order to turn them back to you; they committed awful blasphemies. 27 So you delivered them into the hands of their enemies, who oppressed them. But when they were oppressed they cried out to you. From heaven you heard them, and in your great compassion you gave them deliverers, who rescued them from the hand of their enemies.

28 “But as soon as they were at rest, they again did what was evil in your sight. Then you abandoned them to the hand of their enemies so that they ruled over them. And when they cried out to you again, you heard from heaven, and in your compassion you delivered them time after time.

29 “You warned them in order to turn them back to your law, but they became arrogant and disobeyed your commands. They sinned against your ordinances, of which you said, ‘The person who obeys them will live by them.’ Stubbornly they turned their backs on you, became stiff-necked and refused to listen. 30 For many years you were patient with them. By your Spirit you warned them through your prophets. Yet they paid no attention, so you gave them into the hands of the neighboring peoples. 31 But in your great mercy you did not put an end to them or abandon them, for you are a gracious and merciful God.

32 “Now therefore, our God, the great God, mighty and awesome, who keeps his covenant of love, do not let all this hardship seem trifling in your eyes—the hardship that has come on us, on our kings and leaders, on our priests and prophets, on our ancestors and all your people, from the days of the kings of Assyria until today. 33 In all that has happened to us, you have remained righteous; you have acted faithfully, while we acted wickedly. 34 Our kings, our leaders, our priests and our ancestors did not follow your law; they did not pay attention to your commands or the statutes you warned them to keep. 35 Even while they were in their kingdom, enjoying your great goodness to them in the spacious and fertile land you gave them, they did not serve you or turn from their evil ways.

36 “But see, we are slaves today, slaves in the land you gave our ancestors so they could eat its fruit and the other good things it produces. 37 Because of our sins, its abundant harvest goes to the kings you have placed over us. They rule over our bodies and our cattle as they please. We are in great distress.

The Agreement of the People

38 “In view of all this, we are making a binding agreement, putting it in writing, and our leaders, our Levites and our priests are affixing their seals to it.”[d]

Footnotes:

  1. Nehemiah 9:5 Or God for ever and ever
  2. Nehemiah 9:9 Or the Sea of Reeds
  3. Nehemiah 9:22 One Hebrew manuscript and Septuagint; most Hebrew manuscripts Sihon, that is, the country of the
  4. Nehemiah 9:38 In Hebrew texts this verse (9:38) is numbered 10:1.
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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