1. On the twenty-fourth day of this month the Israelites, in sackcloth and with dust on their heads, assembled for a fast.
2. Then those of Israelite stock who had severed relations with all foreigners stood up and confessed their sins and the iniquities of their ancestors.
3. Standing, each man in his place, they read from the Book of the Law of Yahweh their God for one quarter of the day; for another quarter they confessed their sins and worshipped Yahweh their God.
4. On the Levites' platform stood Jeshua, Binnui, Kadmiel, Shebaniah, Bunni, Sherebiah, Bani and Chenani, calling to Yahweh their God in ringing tones.
5. The Levites, Jeshua, Kadmiel, Bani, Hashabneiah, Sherebiah, Hodiah, Shebaniah and Pethahiah said, 'Stand up and bless Yahweh your God! 'Blessed are you, Yahweh our God from everlasting to everlasting, and blessed be your glorious name, surpassing all blessing and praise!
6. 'You, Yahweh, are the one, only Yahweh, you have created the heavens, the heaven of heavens and all their array, the earth and all it bears, the seas and all they hold. To all of them you give life, and the array of heaven worships you.
7. 'You are Yahweh God, who chose Abram, brought him out of Ur in Chaldaea and changed his name to Abraham.
8. Finding his heart was faithful to you, you made a covenant with him, to give the country of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites and the Girgashites to him and his descendants. And you have made good your promises, for you are upright.
9. 'You saw the distress of our ancestors in Egypt, you heard their cry by the Sea of Reeds.
10. You displayed signs and wonders against Pharaoh, against all his servants and all the people of his land; for you knew how arrogantly they treated them. You won a reputation which you keep to this day.
11. You opened up the sea in front of them: they walked on dry ground right through the sea. Into the depths you hurled their pursuers like a stone into the raging waters.
12. With a pillar of cloud you led them by day, with a pillar of fire by night: to light the way ahead of them by which they were to go.
13. You came down on Mount Sinai and spoke with them from heaven; you gave them right rules, reliable laws, good statutes and commandments;
14. you revealed your holy Sabbath to them; you laid down commandments, statutes and law for them through your servant Moses.
15. For their hunger you gave them bread from heaven, for their thirst you brought them water out of a rock, and you told them to go in and take possession of the country which you had sworn to give them.
16. 'But they and our ancestors acted arrogantly, grew obstinate and flouted your commands.
17. They refused to obey, forgetful of the wonders which you had worked for them; they grew obstinate and made up their minds to return to their slavery in Egypt. But because you are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, patient and rich in faithful love, you did not abandon them!
18. 'Even when they cast themselves a calf out of molten metal and said, "This is your God who brought you up from Egypt!" and committed monstrous impieties,
19. you, in your great compassion, did not abandon them in the desert: the pillar of cloud did not leave them, leading them on their path by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, lighting the way ahead of them by which they were to go.
20. You gave them your good spirit to instruct them, you did not withhold your manna from their mouths, you gave them water for their thirst.
21. For forty years you cared for them in the desert, so that they went short of nothing, their clothes did not wear out, nor were their feet swollen.
22. 'You gave them kingdoms and peoples, allotting them these as frontier lands; they occupied the country of Sihon king of Heshbon, and the country of Og king of Bashan.
23. You gave them as many children as there are stars in the sky, and brought them into the country which you had promised their ancestors that they would enter and possess.
24. The children entered and took possession of the country and before them you subdued the country's inhabitants, the Canaanites, whom you put at their mercy, with their kings and the peoples of the country, for them to treat as they pleased;
25. they captured fortified towns and a fertile countryside, they took possession of houses stocked with all kinds of goods, of storage-wells ready-hewn, of vineyards, olive groves and fruit trees in profusion; so they ate, were full, grew fat and revelled in your great goodness.
26. 'But they grew disobedient, rebelled against you and thrust your law behind their backs; they slaughtered your prophets who had reproved them to bring them back to you, and committed monstrous impieties.
27. So you put them at the mercy of their enemies who oppressed them. But when they were being oppressed and called to you, you heard them from heaven and because of your great compassion you gave them deliverers who rescued them from their oppressors' clutches.
28. But once at peace again, again they did what was wrong before you; so you put them at the mercy of their enemies who then became their rulers. When they called to you again, you heard them from heaven and, because of your compassion, rescued them many times.
29. You warned them, to bring them back to your law, but they became arrogant, did not obey your commandments and sinned against your rules, in whose observance is life; they turned a stubborn shoulder, were obstinate, and disobeyed.
30. You were patient with them for many years and warned them by your spirit through your prophets, but they would not listen; so you put them at the mercy of the people of the country.
31. But, because of your great compassion, you did not destroy them completely nor abandon them, for you are a gracious, compassionate God.
32. Now, our God -- the great God, the Mighty and Awe-inspiring One, maintaining the covenant and your faithful love- count as no small thing this misery which has befallen us, our kings, our princes, our priests, our prophets, and all your people from the times of the Assyrian kings to the present day.
33. You have been upright in all that has happened to us, for you acted faithfully, while we did wrong.
34. Our kings, our princes, our priests and our ancestors did not keep your law or pay attention to your commandments and obligations which you imposed upon them.
35. Even in their own kingdom, despite your great goodness which you bestowed on them, despite the wide and fertile country which you had lavished on them, they did not serve you or renounce their evil deeds.
36. See, we are slaves today, slaves in the country which you gave to our ancestors for them to eat the good things it produces.
37. Its abundant produce goes to the kings whom, for our sins, you have set over us, who rule over our persons and over our cattle as they please. We are in great distress.'