1 Then, on the twenty-fourth day of the same month, the sons of Israel came together in fasting and in sackcloth, and with soil upon them.
2 And the offspring of the sons of Israel were separated from all the sons of foreigners. And they stood up, and they confessed their sins and the iniquities of their fathers.
3 And they arose to stand. And they read in the volume of the law of the Lord their God, four times in the day, and four times they confessed. And they adored the Lord their God.
Ezra Reads the Book of the Law
4 Then, upon the step of the Levites, Jeshua, and Bani, and Kadmiel, Shebaniah, Bunni, Sherebiah, Bani, and Chenani rose up. And they cried out in a great voice to the Lord their God.
5 And the Levites, Jeshua and Kadmiel, Bunni, Hashabneiah, Sherebiah, Hodiah, Shebaniah, and Pethahiah said: “Rise up. Bless the Lord your God, from eternity even to eternity! And blessed be the exalted name of your glory, with all blessing and praise.
6 You yourself alone, O Lord, made heaven, and the heaven of the heavens, and all their host, the earth and all things that are in it, the seas and all things that are in them. And you gave life to all these things. And the host of heaven adores you.
7 You yourself, O Lord God, are the One who chose Abram. And you led him away from the fire of the Chaldeans, and you gave him the name Abraham.
8 And you found his heart to be faithful before you. And you formed a covenant with him, so that you might give to him the land of the Canaanite, of the Hittite, and of the Amorite, and of the Perizzite, and of the Jebusite, and of the Girgashite, so that you might give it to his offspring. And you have fulfilled your words, for you are just.
9 And you saw the affliction of our fathers in Egypt. And you heard their outcry beside the Red Sea.
10 And you gave signs and portents to Pharaoh, and to all his servants, and to the people of his land. For you knew that they acted arrogantly against them. And you made a name for yourself, just as it is in this day.
11 And you divided the sea before them, and they crossed through the midst of the sea on dry land. But their pursuers you cast into the depths, like a stone into great waters.
12 And in the pillar of cloud, you were their leader by day, and in the pillar of fire, by night, so that they might see the way along which they might advance.
13 You also descended to mount Sinai, and you spoke with them from heaven. And you gave them upright judgments, and the law of truth, and ceremonies, and good precepts.
14 You revealed to them your sanctified Sabbath, and you instructed them in commandments, and ceremonies, and the law, by the hand of Moses, your servant.
15 You also gave them bread from heaven in their hunger, and you brought forth water from the rock for them in their thirst. And you said to them that they should enter and possess the land, over which you lifted up your hand so that you might give it to them.
16 Yet truly, they and our fathers acted arrogantly, and they hardened their necks, and they did not listen to your commandments.
17 And they were not willing to hear, and they did not remember, your miracles which you had accomplished for them. And they hardened their necks, and they offered their head, so that they would return to their servitude, as if in contention. But you, a forgiving God, lenient and merciful, longsuffering and full of compassion, did not abandon them.
18 Indeed, even when they had made for themselves a molten calf, and they had said, ‘This is your God, who led you away from Egypt!’ and had committed great blasphemies,
19 even so, in the multitude of your mercies, you did not send them away in the desert. The pillar of cloud did not withdraw from them by day, so that it might lead them on the way, nor the pillar of fire by night, so that it might show them the way along which they might advance.
20 And you gave them your good Spirit, so that he might teach them, and you did not withhold your manna from their mouth, and you gave them water in their thirst.
21 For forty years, you fed them in the desert, and nothing was lacking to them; their garments did not grow old, and their feet were not worn down.
22 And you gave them kingdoms and peoples, and you distributed to them by lot. And they possessed the land of Sihon, and the land of the king of Heshbon, and the land of Og, the king of Bashan.
23 And you multiplied their sons like the stars of heaven. And you led them into the land, about which you had said to their fathers that they would enter and possess it.
24 And the sons arrived and possessed the land. And you humbled the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites, before them. And you delivered them into their hands, with their kings, and the people of the land, so that they might do with them just as it was pleasing to them.
25 And so they seized fortified cities and fat soil. And they possessed houses filled with all kinds of goods, cisterns made by others, vineyards, and olive groves, and fruit trees in abundance. And they ate and were satisfied. And they were fattened, and they abounded with delights from your great goodness.
26 But they provoked you to wrath, and they withdrew from you, and they cast your law behind their backs. And they killed your prophets, who contended with them so that they might return to you. And they committed great blasphemies.
27 And so you gave them into the hand of their enemies, and they afflicted them. And in the time of their tribulation, they cried out to you, and from heaven you heard them. And in accord with your great compassion, you gave to them saviors, who might save them from the hand of their enemies.
28 But after they had rested, they turned back, so that they did evil in your sight. And you abandoned them to the hand of their enemies, and they possessed them. And they converted, and they cried out to you. And from heaven you heeded them, and you freed them many times, by your mercies.
29 And you contended with them, so that they might return to your law. Yet truly, they acted in arrogance, and they did not listen to your commandments, and they sinned against your judgments, which, if a man does them, he shall live by them. And they withdrew from offering their shoulder, and they hardened their neck; neither would they listen.
30 And you continued to forbear them for many years. And you contended with them by your Spirit, through the hand of your prophets. And they did not listen, and so you delivered them into the hand of the peoples of the lands.
31 Yet in your very many mercies, you did not cause them to be consumed, nor did you abandon them. For you are a compassionate and lenient God.
32 Now therefore, our great God, strong and terrible, who keeps covenant and mercy, may you not avert your face from all the hardship that has found us, we and our kings, and our leaders, and our priests, and our prophets, and our fathers, and all the people, from the days of king Assur, even to this day.
33 For you are just, concerning all things that have overwhelmed us. For you have done truth, but we have acted impiously.
34 Our kings, our leaders, our priests, and our fathers have not done your law, and they have not been attentive to your commandments and your testimonies, to which you have testified among them.
35 And they have not served you, in their kingdoms and with your many good things, which you gave to them, and in the very wide and fat land, which you delivered into their sight, nor did they return from their most wicked pursuits.
36 Behold, we ourselves this day are servants. And the land, which you gave to our fathers so that they might eat its bread and have its good things, we ourselves are servants within it.
37 And its fruits are multiplied for the kings, whom you have set over us because of our sins. And they rule over our bodies, and over our cattle, according to their will. And we are in great tribulation.
38 Therefore, concerning all of these things, we ourselves are forming and writing a covenant, and our leaders, our Levites, and our priests are signing it.”