9 ** And when these things were finished the chiefs approached me with the word “The people, Israel, and the priests and the Levites, have not separated themselves from the peoples of the countries with their abominable ways, the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Perizzite, the Jebusite, the ʽAmmonite, the Moabite, the Egyptian, and the Amorite; 2 for they have taken daughters of theirs as wives for themselves and their sons, and mixed the sacred blood with the peoples of the countries; and the hands of the chiefs and the magnates have been first in this disloyalty.” 3 And when I heard this word I tore my cloak and my robe and tore hair out of my head and beard and sat down horror-struck, 4 and all who were alarmed by the words of the God of Israel came together to me on account of the deportees’ disloyalty. And I sat horror-struck till evening grain-offering 5 * and at evening grain-offering I stood up from my abasement and, in the torn pieces of my cloak and robe, fell on my knees and spread out my hands to my God Jehovah and said 6 “My God, I am ashamed and humiliated to raise my face, my God, to you, because our offenses are so many as to overtop our heads and our guilts so great as to reach to the skies. 7 * Since our fathers’ days we have been in great guilt up to this day, and for our offenses we, our kings, our priests, have been given into the hands of the kings of one country after another in slaughter, in serfdom, and in plundering and shame of face as at this day. 8 And now for a brief moment there has come favor from our God Jehovah, letting us have an escaping remnant and giving us a peg in his holy place, our God brightening up our eyes and making us germ of a little life in our slavery— 9 * for we are slaves, but in our slavery our God has not abandoned us but has given the kings of Persia a friendly disposition toward us, giving us a germ of life for rearing aloft the house of our God and for reoccupying his waste sites, and giving us a fence in Judah and Jerusalem. 10 And now, our God, what shall we say after this, when we have forsaken your commandments 11 which you enjoined upon us through your servants the prophets, ‘The country you are going into to take possession of it is a filthy country by the filth of the peoples of the countries, by their abominable doings in which they have filled it from end to end with their uncleanness; 12 now do not give your daughters to their sons nor take their daughters for your sons; and you are not to attempt anything for their welfare or advantage, world without end, in order that you may be strong and eat the good things of the country and pass the possession on to your sons forever.’ 13 And after all that has come upon us by our evil deeds and our great guilt, when you, our God, have held down part of our guilt and given us such survival as this, 14 should we go back to breaking your commandments and intermarrying with these abominable peoples? will you not be angry at us to the point of finishing us off to leave no remnant or survivors? 15 Jehovah, God of Israel, you are doing the right thing that we remain surviving as we are this day; here we are before you in our guilt, because there is no such thing as standing before you on this account.”
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