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Nehemiah 9Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

National Confession of Sin

On the twenty-fourth day of this month the Israelites assembled; they were fasting, wearing sackcloth, and had put dust on their heads. Those of Israelite descent separated themselves from all foreigners, and they stood and confessed their sins and the guilt of their fathers. While they stood in their places, they read from the book of the law of the Lord their God for a fourth of the day and spent another fourth of the day in confession and worship of the Lord their God. Jeshua, Bani, Kadmiel, Shebaniah, Bunni, Sherebiah, Bani, and Chenani stood on the raised platform built for the Levites and cried out loudly to the Lord their God. Then the Levites—Jeshua, Kadmiel, Bani, Hashabneiah, Sherebiah, Hodiah, Shebaniah, and Pethahiah—said, “Stand up. Praise Yahweh your God from everlasting to everlasting.”

Praise Your glorious name,
and may it be exalted above all blessing and praise.
You[a] alone are Yahweh.
You created the heavens,
the highest heavens with all their host,
the earth and all that is on it,
the seas and all that is in them.
You give life to all of them,
and the heavenly host worships You.
You are Yahweh,
the God who chose Abram
and brought him out of Ur of the Chaldeans,
and changed his name to Abraham.
You found his heart faithful in Your sight,
and made a covenant with him
to give the land of the Canaanites,
Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites,
Jebusites, and Girgashites—
to give it to his descendants.
You have kept Your promise,
for You are righteous.

You saw the oppression of our ancestors in Egypt
and heard their cry at the Red Sea.
10 You performed signs and wonders against Pharaoh,
all his officials, and all the people of his land,
for You knew how arrogantly they treated our ancestors.
You made a name for Yourself
that endures to this day.
11 You divided the sea before them,
and they crossed through it on dry ground.
You hurled their pursuers into the depths
like a stone into churning waters.
12 You led them with a pillar of cloud by day,
and with a pillar of fire by night,
to illuminate the way they should go.
13 You came down on Mount Sinai,
and spoke to them from heaven.
You gave them impartial ordinances, reliable instructions,
and good statutes and commands.
14 You revealed Your holy Sabbath to them,
and gave them commands, statutes, and instruction
through Your servant Moses.
15 You provided bread from heaven for their hunger;
You brought them water from the rock for their thirst.
You told them to go in and possess the land
You had sworn[b] to give them.

16 But our ancestors acted arrogantly;
they became stiff-necked and did not listen to Your commands.
17 They refused to listen
and did not remember Your wonders
You performed among them.
They became stiff-necked and appointed a leader
to return to their slavery in Egypt.[c]
But You are a forgiving God,
gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and rich in faithful love,
and You did not abandon them.
18 Even after they had cast an image of a calf
for themselves and said,
“This is your God who brought you out of Egypt,”
and they had committed terrible blasphemies,
19 You did not abandon them in the wilderness
because of Your great compassion.
During the day the pillar of cloud
never turned away from them,
guiding them on their journey.
And during the night the pillar of fire
illuminated the way they should go.
20 You sent Your good Spirit to instruct them.
You did not withhold Your manna from their mouths,
and You gave them water for their thirst.
21 You provided for them in the wilderness 40 years
and they lacked nothing.
Their clothes did not wear out,
and their feet did not swell.

22 You gave them kingdoms and peoples
and assigned them to be a boundary.
They took possession
of the land of Sihon[d] king of Heshbon
and of the land of Og king of Bashan.
23 You multiplied their descendants
like the stars of heaven
and brought them to the land
You told their ancestors to go in and take possession of it.
24 So their descendants went in and possessed the land:
You subdued the Canaanites who inhabited the land before them
and handed their kings and the surrounding peoples over to them,
to do as they pleased with them.
25 They captured fortified cities and fertile land
and took possession of well-supplied houses,
cisterns cut out of rock, vineyards,
olive groves, and fruit trees in abundance.
They ate, were filled,
became prosperous, and delighted in Your great goodness.

26 But they were disobedient and rebelled against You.
They flung Your law behind their backs
and killed Your prophets
who warned them
in order to turn them back to You.
They committed terrible blasphemies.
27 So You handed them over to their enemies,
who oppressed them.
In their time of distress, they cried out to You,
and You heard from heaven.
In Your abundant compassion
You gave them deliverers, who rescued them
from the power of their enemies.
28 But as soon as they had relief,
they again did what was evil in Your sight.
So You abandoned them to the power of their enemies,
who dominated them.
When they cried out to You again,
You heard from heaven and rescued them
many times in Your compassion.
29 You warned them to turn back to Your law,
but they acted arrogantly
and would not obey Your commands.
They sinned against Your ordinances,
which a person will live by if he does them.
They stubbornly resisted,[e]
stiffened their necks, and would not obey.
30 You were patient with them for many years,
and Your Spirit warned them through Your prophets,
but they would not listen.
Therefore, You handed them over to the surrounding peoples.
31 However, in Your abundant compassion,
You did not destroy them or abandon them,
for You are a gracious and compassionate God.

32 So now, our God—the great, mighty,
and awe-inspiring God who keeps His gracious covenant
do not view lightly all the hardships that have afflicted us,
our kings and leaders,
our priests and prophets,
our ancestors and all Your people,
from the days of the Assyrian kings until today.
33 You are righteous concerning all that has come on us,
because You have acted faithfully,
while we have acted wickedly.
34 Our kings, leaders, priests, and ancestors
did not obey Your law
or listen to Your commands
and warnings You gave them.
35 When they were in their kingdom,
with Your abundant goodness that You gave them,
and in the spacious and fertile land You set before them,
they would not serve You or turn from their wicked ways.

36 Here we are today,
slaves in the land You gave our ancestors
so that they could enjoy its fruit and its goodness.
Here we are—slaves in it!
37 Its abundant harvest goes to the kings
You have set over us,
because of our sins.
They rule over our bodies
and our livestock as they please.
We are in great distress.

Israel’s Vow of Faithfulness

38 [f]In view of all this, we are making a binding agreement in writing on a sealed document containing the names of our leaders, Levites, and priests.


  1. Nehemiah 9:6 LXX reads And Ezra said: You
  2. Nehemiah 9:15 Lit lifted Your hand
  3. Nehemiah 9:17 Some Hb mss, LXX; other Hb mss read in their rebellion
  4. Nehemiah 9:22 One Hb ms, LXX; other Hb mss, Vg read Sihon, even the land of the
  5. Nehemiah 9:29 Lit They gave a stubborn shoulder
  6. Nehemiah 9:38 Neh 10:1 in Hb

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