1Now after these things had been done, the officials drew near to me, saying, “The people of Israel and the priests and the Levites have not separated themselves from the peoples of the lands, but act according to their abominations, even those of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Egyptians and the Amorites.
2Indeed, they have taken some of their daughters as wives for themselves and for their sons, so that the holy seed has mixed itself with the peoples of the lands. And in this unfaithfulness the hands of the officials and rulers have been foremost.”
3And when I heard about this matter, I tore my garment and my robe and pulled out some of the hair of my head and of my beard, and sat down appalled.
4Then everyone who trembled at the words of the God of Israel because of the unfaithfulness of the exiles who had returned gathered around me. And I sat there appalled until the evening sacrifice.
5At the evening sacrifice I arose up from my humiliation and fasting, even with my garment and my robe torn, and I fell on my knees, and spread out my hands to Yahweh my God,
6and I said,
“O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift up my face to you, my God; for our iniquities have increased over our head, and our guilt has grown up to the heavens.
7Since the days of our fathers to this day our guilt has been great; and because of our iniquities we, our kings, and our priests have been delivered into the hand of the kings of the lands, to the sword, to captivity, to plunder, and to shame of face, as it is this day.
8But now, for a very little moment, grace has been shown from Yahweh our God, to leave us a remnant to escape and to give us a peg in his holy place, that our God may brighten our eyes and grant us a little reviving in our slavery.
9For we are slaves. Yet our God has not forsaken us in our slavery, but has extended his covenant faithfulness to us in the sight of the kings of Persia, to grant us a reviving to set up the house of our God and to repair its ruins and to give us a wall in Judah and in Jerusalem.
10“And now, O our God, what can we say after this? For we have forsaken your commandments
11that you have commanded by your servants the prophets, saying, ‘The land that you are entering to take possession of it is an unclean land, defiled through the uncleanness of the peoples of the lands, through their abominations that have filled it from end to end with their filthiness.
12So now do not give your daughters to their sons, nor take their daughters as wives for your sons, nor ever seek their peace or their prosperity, so that you will be strong and eat the good of the land and leave it for an inheritance to your children forever.’
13And after all that has come upon us for our evil deeds and for our great guilt, since you, our God, have punished us less than our iniquities deserve and have given us an escaped remnant such as this,
14should we again break your commandments and intermarry with the peoples that commit these abominations? Would you not be angry with us until you had consumed us, so that there would be no remnant nor any to escape?
15O Yahweh, the God of Israel, you are righteous; for we are left as a remnant that has escaped, as it is this day. Behold, we are before you in our guilt, though because of it no one can stand in your presence.”