1Some time later, the Jewish leaders came to me and said, “Many Israelis, and even some priests and other men who are descendants of Levi who work in the temple, have not kept themselves from doing what the other people who are living in this land do. They are practicing the detestable things that the Canaan, Heth, Periz, Jebus, Ammon, and Amor people-groups, and the people from Moab and Egypt do.
2Specifically, some Israeli men have married women who are not Israelis, and they have allowed their sons to do the same thing. So we, God's sacred people, have become ◄contaminated/polluted in God's sight►. And some of our leaders and officials have been the first/worst ones to do this.”
3When I heard that, I became very angry, with the result that I tore my clothes and tore some hair from my head and from my beard. Then I sat down, very shocked/dismayed. The Israelis knew that God had warned us that he would punish us if we disobeyed what he had said to us about marrying women who are not Israelis.
4So many of them trembled/were afraid when they heard that some of those who had returned from Babylonia had sinned like that. They came and sat with me until it was time to offer the evening sacrifices of grain.
5When it was time to offer those sacrifices, I was still sitting there, wearing those torn clothes and mourning/sad. I stood up, and then I quickly prostrated myself on the ground. I lifted up my hands to Yahweh, my God,
6and this is what I prayed: “Yahweh my God, I am very ashamed to raise my head in front of you. The sins that we Israelis have committed are very great; it is as though they have risen up higher than our heads, and our guilt for committing those sins, it is as though it rises up to the heavens.
7Since the time that our ancestors lived until now, we have been very guilty. That is the reason that we and our kings and our priests have been defeated by the armies of the kings of other lands. They killed some of our people, they captured some, they robbed some, and they caused them all to be disgraced, just like we are today.
8But now, Yahweh God, you have been very kind to us. You have allowed some of us to ◄survive/continue to live►. You have revived our spirits IDM and allowed us to escape from being slaves in Babylonia and to return safely IDM to live in this sacred place.
9We were slaves, but you did not abandon us. Instead, because you faithfully love us, you caused the kings of Persia to be very kind to us. You have allowed us to continue to live and to rebuild your temple which had been completely destroyed. You have allowed us to start to live safely here in Jerusalem and in other towns in Judah.
10Our God, what more can we say now RHQ? In spite of all that you have done for us, we have disobeyed your commands.
11They are commands that you gave to your servants, the prophets, to tell to us. They said that the land that we would occupy was polluted because of the detestable/disgusting things that were done by the people who lived there. They said that in the land there were people from one end to the other who did immoral/shameful things.
12They said, ‘Do not allow your daughters to marry their sons! Do not allow your sons to marry their daughters! Do not even try to cause things to go well for those people-groups! If you obey these instructions, your nation will be strong, and you will enjoy the good crops that grow on the land, and the land will belong to your descendants forever.’
13You punished us because we were very guilty for having done wicked things. But you have not punished us as much as we deserve to be punished. I say this because you, our God, have allowed some of us to survive.
14However, some of us are again disobeying your commands, and we are marrying women who do those detestable things. If we continue to do that, surely you will get rid of all of us RHQ, with the result that none of us will remain alive.
15Yahweh, the God whom we Israelis worship/belong to, you are fair/just. We are guilty. We are only a few people who have escaped from Babylonia, but we pray to you, even though we do not deserve to stand in your presence.”