The People Confess Their Sin

Now on the twenty-fourth day of this month the sons of Israel assembled with fasting, in sackcloth and with dirt upon them. The [a]descendants of Israel separated themselves from all foreigners, and they stood and confessed their sins and the wrongdoings of their fathers. While they stood in their place, they read from the Book of the Law of the Lord their God for a fourth of the day; and for another fourth they confessed and worshiped the Lord their God. Now on the Levites’ platform stood Jeshua, Bani, Kadmiel, Shebaniah, Bunni, Sherebiah, Bani, and Chenani, and they cried out with a loud voice to the Lord their God.

Then the Levites, Jeshua, Kadmiel, Bani, Hashabneiah, Sherebiah, Hodiah, Shebaniah, and Pethahiah said, “Arise, bless the Lord your God forever and ever!

May Your glorious name be blessed

And exalted above all blessing and praise!

You alone are the Lord.

You have made the heavens,

The heaven of heavens with all their [b]lights,

The earth and everything that is on it,

The seas and everything that is in them.

You give life to all of them,

And the heavenly [c]lights bow down before You.

You are the Lord God,

Who chose Abram

And brought him out from Ur of the Chaldees,

And gave him the name Abraham.

You found his heart faithful before You,

And made a covenant with him

To give him the land of the Canaanite,

Of the Hittite and the Amorite,

Of the Perizzite, the Jebusite, and the Girgashite—

To give it to his [d]descendants.

And You have fulfilled Your [e]promise,

Because You are righteous.

“You saw the affliction of our fathers in Egypt,

And heard their cry by the [f]Red Sea.

10 Then You performed signs and wonders against Pharaoh,

Against all his servants and all the people of his land;

For You knew that they acted arrogantly toward them,

And You made a name for Yourself as it is this day.

11 You divided the sea before them,

So they passed through the midst of the sea on dry ground;

And You hurled their pursuers into the depths,

Like a stone into [g]raging waters.

12 And with a pillar of cloud You led them by day,

And with a pillar of fire by night

To light for them the way

In which they were to go.

13 Then You came down on Mount Sinai,

And spoke with them from heaven;

You gave them just ordinances and true laws,

Good statutes and commandments.

14 So You made known to them Your holy Sabbath,

And gave them commandments, statutes, and law,

Through Your servant Moses.

15 You provided bread from heaven for them for their hunger,

You brought out water from a rock for them for their thirst,

And You told them to enter in order to take possession of

The land which You [h]swore to give them.

16 “But they, our fathers, acted arrogantly;

They [i]became stubborn and would not listen to Your commandments.

17 They refused to listen,

And did not remember Your wondrous deeds which You performed among them;

So they became stubborn and appointed a leader to return to their slavery in [j]Egypt.

But You are a God of forgiveness,

Gracious and compassionate,

Slow to anger and abounding in [k]mercy;

And You did not abandon them.

18 Even when they made for themselves

A calf of cast metal

And said, ‘This is your [l]god

Who brought you up from Egypt,’

And committed great blasphemies,

19 You, in Your great compassion,

Did not abandon them in the wilderness;

The pillar of cloud did not leave them by day,

To guide them on their way,

Nor the pillar of fire by night, to light for them the way in which they were to go.

20 Instead, You gave Your good Spirit to instruct them,

You did not withhold Your manna from their mouth,

And You gave them water for their thirst.

21 Indeed, for forty years You provided for them in the wilderness and they were not lacking;

Their clothes did not wear out, nor did their feet swell up.

22 You also gave them kingdoms and peoples,

And allotted them to them as a [m]boundary.

They took possession of the land of Sihon [n]the king of Heshbon

And the land of Og the king of Bashan.

23 You made their sons as numerous as the stars of heaven,

And You brought them into the land

Which You had told their fathers to enter and possess.

24 So their sons entered and took possession of the land.

And You subdued before them the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites,

And You handed them over to them, with their kings and the peoples of the land,

To do with them [o]as they desired.

25 They captured fortified cities and a [p]fertile land.

They took possession of houses full of every good thing,

Carved out cisterns, vineyards, olive groves,

Fruit trees in abundance.

So they ate, were filled and put on fat,

And lived luxuriously in Your great goodness.

26 “But they became rebellious and revolted against You,

And threw Your Law behind their backs

And killed Your prophets who had admonished them

In order to bring them back to You,

And they committed great blasphemies.

27 Therefore You handed them over to their enemies who oppressed them,

But when they cried out to You in the time of their distress,

You heard from heaven, and according to Your great compassion

You gave them [q]people who saved them from the hand of their enemies.

28 But as soon as they had rest, they did evil again before You;

Therefore You abandoned them to the hand of their enemies, so that they ruled over them.

When they cried out again to You, You heard from heaven,

And many times You rescued them according to Your compassion,

29 And admonished them in order to turn them back to Your Law.

Yet they acted arrogantly and did not listen to Your commandments but sinned against Your ordinances,

Which, if a person [r]follows them, then he will live by them.

And they [s]turned a stubborn shoulder and stiffened their neck, and would not listen.

30 However, You remained patient with them for many years,

And admonished them by Your Spirit through Your prophets,

Yet they would not listen.

Therefore You handed them over to the peoples of the lands.

31 Nevertheless, in Your great compassion You did not make an end of them or abandon them,

For You are a gracious and compassionate God.

32 “Now then, our God, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who keeps His covenant and faithfulness,

Do not let all the hardship seem insignificant before You,

Which has happened to us, our kings, our leaders, our priests, our prophets, our fathers, and to all Your people,

From the days of the kings of Assyria to this day.

33 However, You are righteous in everything that has happened to us;

For You have dealt faithfully, but we have acted wickedly.

34 For our kings, our leaders, our priests, and our fathers have not kept Your Law

Or paid attention to Your commandments and Your [t]admonitions with which You have [u]admonished them.

35 But they, in their own kingdom,

With Your great goodness which You gave them,

With the broad and rich land which You placed before them,

Did not serve You or turn from their evil deeds.

36 Behold, we are slaves today,

And as for the land which You gave to our fathers to eat its fruit and its bounty,

Behold, we are slaves on it.

37 And its abundant produce is for the kings

Whom You have set over us because of our sins;

They also rule over our bodies

And over our cattle as they please,

So we are in great distress.

A Covenant Results

38 [v]Now because of all this

We are making an agreement in writing;

And on the sealed document are the names of our leaders, our Levites, and our priests.”


  1. Nehemiah 9:2 Lit seed
  2. Nehemiah 9:6 Lit host; i.e., sun, stars, etc.
  3. Nehemiah 9:6 Lit host; i.e., sun, stars, etc.
  4. Nehemiah 9:8 Lit seed
  5. Nehemiah 9:8 Lit words
  6. Nehemiah 9:9 Lit Sea of Reeds
  7. Nehemiah 9:11 Lit strong, mighty
  8. Nehemiah 9:15 Lit lifted up Your hand
  9. Nehemiah 9:16 Lit stiffened their neck; so also v 17
  10. Nehemiah 9:17 As in LXX and some Heb mss; MT their rebellion
  11. Nehemiah 9:17 Or faithfulness
  12. Nehemiah 9:18 Or God; i.e., an idol intended to represent God
  13. Nehemiah 9:22 Lit side, corner
  14. Nehemiah 9:22 As in LXX and Lat; MT and the land of the king of Heshbon
  15. Nehemiah 9:24 Lit according to their desire
  16. Nehemiah 9:25 Lit fat
  17. Nehemiah 9:27 Lit deliverers
  18. Nehemiah 9:29 Lit does them
  19. Nehemiah 9:29 Lit gave
  20. Nehemiah 9:34 Lit testimonies
  21. Nehemiah 9:34 Or testified to
  22. Nehemiah 9:38 Ch 10:1 in Heb