1Now on the twenty-fourth day of this month the people of Israel were assembled with fasting and in sackcloth, and with earth on their heads. (Jos 7:6; 1Sa 7:6; 2Sa 3:31; Ne 8:2)2And the Israelites separated themselves from all foreigners and stood and confessed their sins and the iniquities of their fathers. (Ezr 6:21; Ezr 10:11; Ne 10:28; Ne 13:3; Ne 13:30)3And they stood up in their place and read from the Book of the Law of the Lord their God for a quarter of the day; for another quarter of it they made confession and worshiped the Lord their God. (Ne 8:7)4On the stairs of the Levites stood Jeshua, Bani, Kadmiel, Shebaniah, Bunni, Sherebiah, Bani, and Chenani; and they cried with a loud voice to the Lord their God. (Ne 8:7)5Then the Levites, Jeshua, Kadmiel, Bani, Hashabneiah, Sherebiah, Hodiah, Shebaniah, and Pethahiah, said, “Stand up and bless the Lord your God from everlasting to everlasting. Blessed be your glorious name, which is exalted above all blessing and praise. (1Ch 29:13)6 “You are the Lord, you alone. You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; and you preserve all of them; and the host of heaven worships you. (Ge 1:1; Ge 2:1; De 10:14; 2Ki 19:15; Ps 36:6)7You are the Lord, the God who chose Abram and brought him out of Ur of the Chaldeans and gave him the name Abraham. (Ge 11:31; Ge 17:5)8You found his heart faithful before you, and made with him the covenant to give to his offspring the land of the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Amorite, the Perizzite, the Jebusite, and the Girgashite. And you have kept your promise, for you are righteous. (Ge 12:7; Ge 15:6; Ge 15:18; Ge 17:7; Ex 13:5; Jos 23:14)9“And you saw the affliction of our fathers in Egypt and heard their cry at the Red Sea, (Ex 3:7; Ex 14:10)10and performed signs and wonders against Pharaoh and all his servants and all the people of his land, for you knew that they acted arrogantly against our fathers. And you made a name for yourself, as it is to this day. (Ex 9:16; Ex 18:11; Isa 63:12; Isa 63:14; Jer 32:20; Da 9:15)11And you divided the sea before them, so that they went through the midst of the sea on dry land, and you cast their pursuers into the depths, as a stone into mighty waters. (Ex 14:21; Ex 14:27; Ex 15:5; Ex 15:10; Ps 78:13)12By a pillar of cloud you led them in the day, and by a pillar of fire in the night to light for them the way in which they should go. (Ex 13:21; Nu 14:14; Ne 9:19; 1Co 10:1)13You came down on Mount Sinai and spoke with them from heaven and gave them right rules and true laws, good statutes and commandments, (Ex 19:20; Ex 20:1; Ps 19:8; Ro 7:12)14and you made known to them your holy Sabbath and commanded them commandments and statutes and a law by Moses your servant. (Ge 2:2; Ex 16:23; Ex 20:8; Eze 20:12; Eze 20:20)15You gave them bread from heaven for their hunger and brought water for them out of the rock for their thirst, and you told them to go in to possess the land that you had sworn to give them. (Ex 16:14; Ex 17:6; Nu 20:10; De 1:8; Ps 78:15; Ps 78:25; Ps 105:40; Ps 105:41; Joh 6:31; 1Co 10:3; 1Co 10:4)16“But they and our fathers acted presumptuously and stiffened their neck and did not obey your commandments. (Ex 18:11)17They refused to obey and were not mindful of the wonders that you performed among them, but they stiffened their neck and appointed a leader to return to their slavery in Egypt. But you are a God ready to forgive, gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and did not forsake them. (Ex 34:6; Nu 14:18; Ne 9:31; Ps 78:11; Ps 78:42; Ps 86:5; Ps 86:15; Joe 2:13)18Even when they had made for themselves a golden calf and said, ‘This is your God who brought you up out of Egypt,’ and had committed great blasphemies, (Ex 32:4; Ne 9:26; Ps 78:41; Ps 78:58; Ps 106:19; Ac 7:41; Heb 3:15)19you in your great mercies did not forsake them in the wilderness. The pillar of cloud to lead them in the way did not depart from them by day, nor the pillar of fire by night to light for them the way by which they should go. (Ne 9:12; Ne 9:27; Ne 9:31; Ps 106:45)20You gave your good Spirit to instruct them and did not withhold your manna from their mouth and gave them water for their thirst. (Ex 16:35; Nu 11:17; Ne 9:15; Isa 63:11)21Forty years you sustained them in the wilderness, and they lacked nothing. Their clothes did not wear out and their feet did not swell. (De 2:7)22“And you gave them kingdoms and peoples and allotted to them every corner. So they took possession of the land of Sihon king of Heshbon and the land of Og king of Bashan. (Nu 21:21; Nu 21:33)23You multiplied their children as the stars of heaven, and you brought them into the land that you had told their fathers to enter and possess. (Ge 15:5; Ge 22:17)24So the descendants went in and possessed the land, and you subdued before them the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites, and gave them into their hand, with their kings and the peoples of the land, that they might do with them as they would. (Ps 44:2)25And they captured fortified cities and a rich land, and took possession of houses full of all good things, cisterns already hewn, vineyards, olive orchards and fruit trees in abundance. So they ate and were filled and became fat and delighted themselves in your great goodness. (Nu 13:20; Nu 13:27; De 3:5; De 6:11; De 8:7; De 9:1; De 32:15; Jos 10:20; Jos 14:12; Ne 9:35; Eze 20:6; Ho 3:5)26“Nevertheless, they were disobedient and rebelled against you and cast your law behind their back and killed your prophets, who had warned them in order to turn them back to you, and they committed great blasphemies. (Jud 2:11; 1Ki 14:9; 1Ki 18:4; 1Ki 19:10; 2Ch 24:20; Ne 9:18; Ne 9:30; Ps 50:17; Eze 20:21; Mt 23:37; Ac 7:52)27Therefore you gave them into the hand of their enemies, who made them suffer. And in the time of their suffering they cried out to you and you heard them from heaven, and according to your great mercies you gave them saviors who saved them from the hand of their enemies. (Jud 2:14; Jud 2:16; Jud 3:9; Ps 106:41; Ps 106:44)28But after they had rest they did evil again before you, and you abandoned them to the hand of their enemies, so that they had dominion over them. Yet when they turned and cried to you, you heard from heaven, and many times you delivered them according to your mercies. (Jud 3:11; Jud 3:30; Jud 4:1; Jud 5:31; Jud 6:1; Ps 106:43)29And you warned them in order to turn them back to your law. Yet they acted presumptuously and did not obey your commandments, but sinned against your rules, which if a person does them, he shall live by them, and they turned a stubborn shoulder and stiffened their neck and would not obey. (Le 18:5; Ne 9:10; Ne 9:16; Ne 9:26; Zec 7:11)30Many years you bore with them and warned them by your Spirit through your prophets. Yet they would not give ear. Therefore you gave them into the hand of the peoples of the lands. (2Ki 17:13; Ezr 9:7; Ne 9:26; Ne 9:29; Ne 9:34; Isa 42:24; Ac 7:51; Ac 13:18; 1Pe 1:10; 2Pe 1:21)31Nevertheless, in your great mercies you did not make an end of them or forsake them, for you are a gracious and merciful God. (Ne 9:17; Ne 9:19; Ne 9:27; Jer 4:27; Jer 5:10; Jer 5:18)32“Now, therefore, our God, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who keeps covenant and steadfast love, let not all the hardship seem little to you that has come upon us, upon our kings, our princes, our priests, our prophets, our fathers, and all your people, since the time of the kings of Assyria until this day. (De 7:21; 2Ki 17:3; Ne 1:5)33Yet you have been righteous in all that has come upon us, for you have dealt faithfully and we have acted wickedly. (Ezr 9:15; Ps 106:6; Da 9:5)34Our kings, our princes, our priests, and our fathers have not kept your law or paid attention to your commandments and your warnings that you gave them.35Even in their own kingdom, and amid your great goodness that you gave them, and in the large and rich land that you set before them, they did not serve you or turn from their wicked works. (De 28:47; Ne 9:25)36Behold, we are slaves this day; in the land that you gave to our fathers to enjoy its fruit and its good gifts, behold, we are slaves. (Ezr 9:9)37And its rich yield goes to the kings whom you have set over us because of our sins. They rule over our bodies and over our livestock as they please, and we are in great distress. (De 28:33; De 28:51)38 “Because of all this we make a firm covenant in writing; on the sealed document are the names of our princes, our Levites, and our priests. (2Ki 23:3; 2Ch 29:10; 2Ch 34:31; Ezr 10:3; Ne 10:1; Ne 10:29)
New International Version
The Israelites confess their sins
1On the twenty-fourth day of the same month, the Israelites gathered together, fasting and wearing sackcloth and putting dust on their heads.2Those of Israelite descent had separated themselves from all foreigners. They stood in their places and confessed their sins and the sins of their ancestors.3They 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 worshipping the Lord their God.4Standing 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.5And 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.’ ‘Blessed be your glorious name, and may it be exalted above all blessing and praise.6You 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.7‘You are the Lord God, who chose Abram and brought him out of Ur of the Chaldeans and named him Abraham.8You 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.9‘You saw the suffering of our ancestors in Egypt; you heard their cry at the Red Sea.10You 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.11You 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.12By 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.14You made known to them your holy Sabbath and gave them commands, decrees and laws through your servant Moses.15In 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.17They 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,18even 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.20You gave your good Spirit to instruct them. You did not withhold your manna from their mouths, and you gave them water for their thirst.21For 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 king of Heshbon and the country of Og king of Bashan.23You 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.24Their 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.25They 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 revelled 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.27So 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.30For 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 neighbouring peoples.31But 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.33In all that has happened to us, you have remained righteous; you have acted faithfully, while we acted wickedly.34Our 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.35Even 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 that they could eat its fruit and the other good things it produces.37Because 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.’
King James Version
1Now in the twenty and fourth day of this month the children of Israel were assembled with fasting, and with sackclothes, and earth upon them.2And the seed of Israel separated themselves from all strangers, and stood and confessed their sins, and the iniquities of their fathers.3And they stood up in their place, and read in the book of the law of the LORD their God one fourth part of the day; and another fourth part they confessed, and worshipped the LORD their God.4Then stood up upon the stairs, of the Levites, Jeshua, and Bani, Kadmiel, Shebaniah, Bunni, Sherebiah, Bani, and Chenani, and cried with a loud voice unto the LORD their God.5Then the Levites, Jeshua, and Kadmiel, Bani, Hashabniah, Sherebiah, Hodijah, Shebaniah, and Pethahiah, said, Stand up and bless the LORD your God for ever and ever: and blessed be thy glorious name, which is exalted above all blessing and praise.6Thou, even thou, art LORD alone; thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth, and all things that are therein, the seas, and all that is therein, and thou preservest them all; and the host of heaven worshippeth thee.7Thou art the LORD the God, who didst choose Abram, and broughtest him forth out of Ur of the Chaldees, and gavest him the name of Abraham;8And foundest his heart faithful before thee, and madest a covenant with him to give the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Jebusites, and the Girgashites, to give it, I say , to his seed, and hast performed thy words; for thou art righteous:9And didst see the affliction of our fathers in Egypt, and heardest their cry by the Red sea;10And shewedst signs and wonders upon Pharaoh, and on all his servants, and on all the people of his land: for thou knewest that they dealt proudly against them. So didst thou get thee a name, as it is this day.11And thou didst divide the sea before them, so that they went through the midst of the sea on the dry land; and their persecutors thou threwest into the deeps, as a stone into the mighty waters.12Moreover thou leddest them in the day by a cloudy pillar; and in the night by a pillar of fire, to give them light in the way wherein they should go.13Thou camest down also upon mount Sinai, and spakest with them from heaven, and gavest them right judgments, and true laws, good statutes and commandments:14And madest known unto them thy holy sabbath, and commandedst them precepts, statutes, and laws, by the hand of Moses thy servant:15And gavest them bread from heaven for their hunger, and broughtest forth water for them out of the rock for their thirst, and promisedst them that they should go in to possess the land which thou hadst sworn to give them.16But they and our fathers dealt proudly, and hardened their necks, and hearkened not to thy commandments,17And refused to obey, neither were mindful of thy wonders that thou didst among them; but hardened their necks, and in their rebellion appointed a captain to return to their bondage: but thou art a God ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and forsookest them not.18Yea, when they had made them a molten calf, and said, This is thy God that brought thee up out of Egypt, and had wrought great provocations;19Yet thou in thy manifold mercies forsookest them not in the wilderness: the pillar of the cloud departed not from them by day, to lead them in the way; neither the pillar of fire by night, to shew them light, and the way wherein they should go.20Thou gavest also thy good spirit to instruct them, and withheldest not thy manna from their mouth, and gavest them water for their thirst.21Yea, forty years didst thou sustain them in the wilderness, so that they lacked nothing; their clothes waxed not old, and their feet swelled not.22Moreover thou gavest them kingdoms and nations, and didst divide them into corners: so they possessed the land of Sihon, and the land of the king of Heshbon, and the land of Og king of Bashan.23Their children also multipliedst thou as the stars of heaven, and broughtest them into the land, concerning which thou hadst promised to their fathers, that they should go in to possess it .24So the children went in and possessed the land, and thou subduedst before them the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites, and gavest them into their hands, with their kings, and the people of the land, that they might do with them as they would.25And they took strong cities, and a fat land, and possessed houses full of all goods, wells digged, vineyards, and oliveyards, and fruit trees in abundance: so they did eat, and were filled, and became fat, and delighted themselves in thy great goodness.26Nevertheless they were disobedient, and rebelled against thee, and cast thy law behind their backs, and slew thy prophets which testified against them to turn them to thee, and they wrought great provocations.27Therefore thou deliveredst them into the hand of their enemies, who vexed them: and in the time of their trouble, when they cried unto thee, thou heardest them from heaven; and according to thy manifold mercies thou gavest them saviours, who saved them out of the hand of their enemies.28But after they had rest, they did evil again before thee: therefore leftest thou them in the hand of their enemies, so that they had the dominion over them: yet when they returned, and cried unto thee, thou heardest them from heaven; and many times didst thou deliver them according to thy mercies;29And testifiedst against them, that thou mightest bring them again unto thy law: yet they dealt proudly, and hearkened not unto thy commandments, but sinned against thy judgments, (which if a man do, he shall live in them;) and withdrew the shoulder, and hardened their neck, and would not hear.30Yet many years didst thou forbear them, and testifiedst against them by thy spirit in thy prophets: yet would they not give ear: therefore gavest thou them into the hand of the people of the lands.31Nevertheless for thy great mercies'sake thou didst not utterly consume them, nor forsake them; for thou art a gracious and merciful God.32Now therefore, our God, the great, the mighty, and the terrible God, who keepest covenant and mercy, let not all the trouble seem little before thee, that hath come upon us, on our kings, on our princes, and on our priests, and on our prophets, and on our fathers, and on all thy people, since the time of the kings of Assyria unto this day.33Howbeit thou art just in all that is brought upon us; for thou hast done right, but we have done wickedly:34Neither have our kings, our princes, our priests, nor our fathers, kept thy law, nor hearkened unto thy commandments and thy testimonies, wherewith thou didst testify against them.35For they have not served thee in their kingdom, and in thy great goodness that thou gavest them, and in the large and fat land which thou gavest before them, neither turned they from their wicked works.36Behold, we are servants this day, and for the land that thou gavest unto our fathers to eat the fruit thereof and the good thereof, behold, we are servants in it:37And it yieldeth much increase unto the kings whom thou hast set over us because of our sins: also they have dominion over our bodies, and over our cattle, at their pleasure, and we are in great distress.38And because of all this we make a sure covenant , and write it ; and our princes, Levites, and priests, seal unto it .
New International Reader’s Version
The Israelites admit they have sinned
1It was the 24th day of the seventh month. The Israelites gathered together again. They didn’t eat any food. They wore the rough clothing people wear when they’re sad. They put dust on their heads.2The Israelites separated themselves from everyone else. They stood and admitted they had sinned. They also admitted that their people before them had sinned.3They stood where they were. They listened while the Levites read parts of the Book of the Law of the LORD their God. They listened for a quarter of the day. They spent another quarter of the day admitting their sins. They also worshipped the LORD their God.4Some people were standing on the stairs of the Levites. They included Jeshua, Bani, Kadmiel, Shebaniah, Bunni, Sherebiah, Bani and Kenani. With loud voices they called out to the LORD their God.5Then some Levites spoke up. They included Jeshua, Kadmiel, Bani, Hashabneiah, Sherebiah, Hodiah, Shebaniah and Pethahiah. They said to the people, ‘Stand up. Praise the LORD your God. He lives for ever and ever!’ So the people said, ‘LORD, may your glorious name be praised. May it be lifted high above every other name that is blessed and praised.6You are the one and only LORD. You made the heavens. You made even the highest heavens. You created all the stars in the sky. You created the earth and everything on it. And you made the oceans and everything in them. You give life to everything. Every living being in heaven worships you.7‘You are the LORD God. You chose Abram. You brought him out of Ur in the land of Babylon. You named him Abraham.8You knew that his heart was faithful to you. And you made a covenant with him. You promised to give to his children after him a land of their own. It was the land of the Canaanites, Hittites and Amorites. The Perizzites, Jebusites and Girgashites also lived there. You have kept your promise. That’s because you always do what is right and fair.9‘You saw how our people of long ago suffered in Egypt. You heard them cry out to you at the Red Sea.10You sent signs and wonders against Pharaoh. You sent plagues on all his officials. In fact, you sent them on all the people of Egypt. You knew how they treated our people. They looked down on them. But you made a name for yourself. That name remains to this very day.11You parted the waters of the Red Sea for the Israelites. They passed through it on dry ground. But you threw into the sea those who chased them. They sank down like a stone into the mighty waters.12By day you led the Israelites with a pillar of cloud. At night you led them with a pillar of fire. It gave them light to show them the way you wanted them to go.13‘You came down on Mount Sinai. From heaven you spoke to our people. You gave them rules and laws. Those laws are right and fair. You gave them orders and commands that are good.14You taught them about your holy Sabbath day. You gave them commands, orders and laws. You did it through your servant Moses.15When the people were hungry, you gave them bread from heaven. When they were thirsty, you brought them water out of a rock. You told them to go into the land of Canaan. You told them to take it as their own. It was the land you had promised to give them.16‘But our people before us became proud and stubborn. They didn’t obey your commands.17They refused to listen to you. They forgot the miracles you had done among them. So they became stubborn. When they refused to obey you, they appointed a leader for themselves. They wanted to go back to being slaves in Egypt. But you are a God who forgives. You are gracious. You are tender and kind. You are slow to get angry. You are full of love. So you didn’t desert them.18They made for themselves a metal statue of a god that looked like a calf. They said to one another, “Here is your god. He brought you up out of Egypt.” And they did evil things that dishonoured you. But you still didn’t desert them.19‘Because you loved them so much, you didn’t leave them in the desert. During the day the pillar of cloud didn’t stop guiding them on their path. At night the pillar of fire didn’t stop shining on the way you wanted them to go.20You gave them your good Spirit to teach them. You didn’t hold back your manna from their mouths. And you gave them water when they were thirsty.21For 40 years you took good care of them in the desert. They had everything they needed. Their clothes didn’t wear out. And their feet didn’t swell up.22‘You gave them kingdoms and nations. You even gave them lands far away. They took over the country of Sihon. He was the king of Heshbon. They also took over the country of Og. He was the king of Bashan.23You gave them as many children as there are stars in the sky. You told their parents to enter the land. You told them to take it over. And you brought their children into it.24Their children went into the land. They took it as their own. You brought the Canaanites under Israel’s control. The Canaanites lived in the land. But you handed them over to Israel. You also handed over their kings and the other nations in the land to Israel. You allowed Israel to deal with them just as they wanted to.25Your people captured cities that had high walls around them. They also took over the rich land in Canaan. They took houses filled with all kinds of good things. They took over wells that had already been dug. They took many vineyards, olive groves and fruit trees. They ate until they were very full and satisfied. They were filled with joy because you were so good to them.26‘But they didn’t obey you. Instead, they turned against you. They turned their backs on your law. They killed your prophets. The prophets had warned them to return to you. But they did very evil things that dishonoured you.27So you handed them over to their enemies, who treated them badly. Then they cried out to you. From heaven you heard them. You loved them very much. So you sent leaders to help them. The leaders saved them from the power of their enemies.28‘Then the people were enjoying peace and rest again. That’s when they did what you did not want them to do. Then you handed them over to their enemies. So their enemies ruled over them. When they cried out to you again, you heard them from heaven. You loved them very much. So you saved them time after time.29‘You warned them so that they would obey your law again. But they became proud. They didn’t obey your commands. They sinned against your rules. You said, “Anyone who obeys my rules will live by them.” But the people didn’t care about that. They turned their backs on you. They became very stubborn. They refused to listen to you.30For many years you put up with them. By your Spirit you warned them through your prophets. In spite of that, they didn’t pay any attention. So you handed them over to the nations that were around them.31But you loved them very much. So you didn’t put an end to them. You didn’t desert them. That’s because you are a gracious God. You are tender and kind.32‘Our God, you are the great God. You are mighty and wonderful. You keep the covenant you made with us. You show us your love. So don’t let all our suffering seem like a small thing to you. We’ve suffered greatly. So have our kings and leaders. So have our priests and prophets. Our people who lived long ago also suffered. And all your people are suffering right now. In fact, we’ve been suffering from the time of the kings of Assyria until today.33In spite of everything that has happened to us, you have been fair. You have been faithful in what you have done. But we did what was evil.34Our kings and leaders didn’t follow your law. Our priests and our people before us didn’t follow it either. They didn’t pay any attention to your commands or rules that you warned them to keep.35They didn’t serve you. They didn’t turn from their evil ways. They didn’t obey you even when they had a kingdom. You were very good to them. And they enjoyed it. You gave them a rich land. It had plenty of room in it. But they still didn’t serve you.36‘Now look at us. We are slaves today. We’re slaves in the land you gave our people of long ago. You gave it to them so they could eat its fruit and the other good things it produces.37But we have sinned against you. So its great harvest goes to the kings of Persia. You have placed them over us. They rule over our bodies and cattle just as they please. And we are suffering terribly.
The people agree to obey God’s law
38‘So we are making a firm agreement. We’re writing it down. Our leaders are putting their official marks on it. And so are our Levites and priests.’