Good News Translation (GNB)

The People Confess their Sins

91-2On the 24th day of the same month the people of Israel assembled to fast in order to show sorrow for their sins. They had already separated themselves from all foreigners. They wore sackcloth and put dust on their heads as signs of grief. Then they stood and began to confess the sins that they and their ancestors had committed. 3For about three hours the Law of the LORD their God was read to them, and for the next three hours they confessed their sins and worshipped the LORD their God.

4There was a platform for the Levites, and on it stood Jeshua, Bani, Kadmiel, Shebaniah, Bunni, Sherebiah, Bani, and Chenani. They prayed aloud to the LORD their God.

5The following Levites gave a call to worship: Jeshua, Kadmiel, Bani, Hashabneiah, Sherebiah, Hodiah, Shebaniah, and Pethahiah. They said:

“Stand up and praise the LORD your God;

praise him for ever and ever!

Let everyone praise his glorious name,

although no human praise is great enough.”

The Prayer of Confession

6And then the people of Israel prayed this prayer:

“You, LORD, you alone are LORD;

you made the heavens and the stars of the sky.

You made land and sea and everything in them;

you gave life to all.

The heavenly powers bow down and worship you.


Gen 11.31
You, LORD God, chose Abram

and led him out of Ur in Babylonia;

you changed his name to Abraham.


Gen 15.18–21
You found that he was faithful to you,

and you made a covenant with him.

You promised to give him the land of the Canaanites,

the land of the Hittites and the Amorites,

the land of the Perizzites, the Jebusites, and the Girgashites,

to be a land where his descendants would live.

You kept your promise, because you are faithful.


Ex 3.7
“You saw how our ancestors suffered in Egypt;

you heard their call for help at the Red Sea.


Ex 7.8—12.32
You worked amazing miracles against the king,

against his officials and the people of his land,

because you knew how they oppressed your people.

You won then the fame you still have today.


Ex 14.21–29
Through the sea you made a path for your people

and led them through on dry ground.

Those who pursued them drowned in deep water,

as a stone sinks in the raging sea.


Ex 13.21–22
With a cloud you led them in daytime,

and at night you lighted their way with fire.


Ex 19.18—23.33
At Mount Sinai you came down from heaven;

you spoke to your people

and gave them good laws and sound teachings.

14You taught them to keep your Sabbaths holy,

and through your servant Moses you gave them your laws.


Ex 16.4–15
Deut 1.21
“When they were hungry, you gave them bread from heaven,

and water from a rock when they were thirsty.

You told them to take control of the land

which you had promised to give them.


Num 14.1–4
Deut 1.26–33
But our ancestors grew proud and stubborn

and refused to obey your commands.


Ex 34.6
Num 14.18
They refused to obey; they forgot all you did;

they forgot the miracles you had performed.

In their pride they chose a leader

to take them back to slavery in Egypt.

But you are a God who forgives;

you are gracious and loving, slow to be angry.

Your mercy is great; you did not forsake them.


Ex 32.1–4
They made an idol in the shape of a bull calf

and said it was the god who led them from Egypt!

How much they insulted you, LORD!


Deut 8.2–4
But you did not abandon them there in the desert,

for your mercy is great.

You did not take away the cloud or the fire

that showed them the path by day and night.

20In your goodness you told them what they should do;

you fed them with manna and gave them water to drink.

21Through forty years in the desert

you provided all that they needed;

their clothing never wore out,

and their feet were not swollen with pain.


Num 21.21–35
“You let them conquer nations and kingdoms,

lands that bordered their own.

They conquered the land of Heshbon, where Sihon ruled,

and the land of Bashan, where Og was king.


Gen 15.5
Josh 3.14–17
You gave them as many children as there are stars in the sky,

and let them conquer and live in the land

that you had promised their ancestors to give them.


Josh 11.23
They conquered the land of Canaan;

you overcame the people living there.

You gave your people the power to do as they pleased

with the people and kings of Canaan.


Deut 6.10–11
Your people captured fortified cities,

fertile land, houses full of wealth,

cisterns already dug,

olive trees, fruit trees, and vineyards.

They ate all they wanted and grew fat;

they enjoyed all the good things you gave them.


Judg 2.11–16
“But your people rebelled and disobeyed you;

they turned their backs on your Law.

They killed the prophets who warned them,

who told them to turn back to you.

They insulted you time after time,

27so you let their enemies conquer and rule them.

In their trouble they called to you for help,

and you answered them from heaven.

In your great mercy you sent them leaders

who rescued them from their foes.

28When peace returned, they sinned again,

and again you let their enemies conquer them.

Yet when they repented and asked you to save them,

in heaven you heard, and time after time

you rescued them in your great mercy.


Lev 18.5
You warned them to obey your teachings,

but in pride they rejected your laws,

although keeping your Law is the way to life.

Obstinate and stubborn, they refused to obey.


2 Kgs 17.13–18
2 Chr 36.15–16
Year after year you patiently warned them.

You inspired your prophets to speak,

but your people were deaf,

so you let them be conquered by other nations.

31And yet, because your mercy is great,

you did not forsake or destroy them.

You are a gracious and merciful God!


2 Kgs 15.19,29
Ezra 4.2,10
“O God, our God, how great you are!

How terrifying, how powerful!

You faithfully keep your covenant promises.

From the time when Assyrian kings oppressed us,

even till now, how much we have suffered!

Our kings, our leaders, our priests and prophets,

our ancestors, and all our people have suffered.

Remember how much we have suffered!

33You have done right to punish us;

you have been faithful, even though we have sinned.

34Our ancestors, our kings, leaders, and priests

have not kept your Law.

They did not listen to your commands and warnings.

35With your blessing, kings ruled your people

when they lived in the broad, fertile land you gave them;

but they failed to turn from sin and serve you.

36And now we are slaves in the land that you gave us,

this fertile land which gives us food.

37What the land produces goes to the kings

that you put over us because we sinned.

They do as they please with us and our livestock,

and we are in deep distress!”

The People Sign an Agreement

38Because of all that has happened, we, the people of Israel, hereby make a solemn written agreement, and our leaders, our Levites, and our priests put their seals to it.


101The first to sign was the governor, Nehemiah son of Hacaliah, and then Zedekiah signed. The following also signed:


Seraiah, Azariah, Jeremiah,

Pashhur, Amariah, Malchijah,

Hattush, Shebaniah, Malluch,

Harim, Meremoth, Obadiah,

Daniel, Ginnethon, Baruch,

Meshullam, Abijah, Mijamin,

Maaziah, Bilgai, and Shemaiah.


Jeshua son of Azaniah,

Binnui of the clan of Henadad,

Kadmiel, Shebaniah, Hodiah,

Kelita, Pelaiah, Hanan,

Mica, Rehob, Hashabiah,

Zaccur, Sherebiah, Shebaniah,

Hodiah, Bani, and Beninu.

14-27Leaders of the people:

Parosh, Pahath Moab,

Elam, Zattu, Bani,

Bunni, Azgad, Bebai,

Adonijah, Bigvai, Adin,

Ater, Hezekiah, Azzur,

Hodiah, Hashum, Bezai,

Hariph, Anathoth, Nebai,

Magpiash, Meshullam, Hezir,

Meshezabel, Zadok, Jaddua,

Pelatiah, Hanan, Anaiah,

Hoshea, Hananiah, Hasshub,

Hallohesh, Pilha, Shobek,

Rehum, Hashabnah, Maaseiah,

Ahiah, Hanan, Anan,

Malluch, Harim, and Baanah.

The Agreement

28We, the people of Israel, the priests, the Levites, the temple guards, the temple musicians, the temple workmen, and all others who in obedience to God's Law have separated themselves from the foreigners living in our land, we, together with our wives and all our children old enough to understand, 29do hereby join with our leaders in an oath, under penalty of a curse if we break it, that we will live according to God's Law, which God gave through his servant Moses; that we will obey all that the LORD, our Lord, commands us; and that we will keep all his laws and requirements.


Ex 34.16
Deut 7.3
We will not intermarry with the foreigners living in our land.


Ex 23.10–11
Lev 25.1–7
Deut 15.1–2
If foreigners bring corn or anything else to sell to us on the Sabbath or on any other holy day, we will not buy from them.

Every seventh year we will not farm the land, and we will cancel all debts.


Ex 30.11–16
Every year we will each contribute five grammes of silver to help pay the expenses of the Temple.

33We will provide for the temple worship the following: the sacred bread, the daily grain offering, the animals to be burnt each day as sacrifices, the sacred offerings for Sabbaths, New Moon Festivals, and other festivals, the other sacred offerings, the offerings to take away the sins of Israel, and anything else needed for the Temple.

34We, the people, priests, and Levites, will draw lots each year to determine which clans are to provide wood to burn the sacrifices offered to the LORD our God, according to the requirements of the Law.


Ex 23.19
Deut 26.2
We will take to the Temple each year an offering of the first corn we harvest and of the first fruit that ripens on our trees.


Ex 13.2
The first son born to each of us we will take to the priests in the Temple and there, as required by the Law, dedicate him to God. We will also dedicate the first calf born to each of our cows, and the first lamb or kid born to each of our sheep or goats.


Num 18.21
We will take to the priests in the Temple the dough made from the first corn harvested each year and our other offerings of wine, olive oil, and all kinds of fruit.

We will take to the Levites, who collect tithes in our farming villages, the tithes from the crops that grow on our land. 38

Num 18.26
Priests who are descended from Aaron are to be with the Levites when tithes are collected, and for use in the Temple the Levites are to take to the temple storerooms one tenth of all the tithes they collect. 39The people of Israel and the Levites are to take the contributions of corn, wine, and olive oil to the storerooms where the utensils for the Temple are kept and where the priests who are on duty, the temple guards, and the members of the temple choir have their quarters.

We will not neglect the house of our God.


The People who Lived in Jerusalem

111The leaders settled in Jerusalem, and the rest of the people drew lots to choose one family out of every ten to go and live in the holy city of Jerusalem, while the rest were to live in the other cities and towns. 2The people praised anyone else who volunteered to live in Jerusalem. 3

Neh 7.73
In the other towns and cities the people of Israel, the priests, the Levites, the temple workmen, and the descendants of Solomon's servants lived on their own property in their own towns.

The following is the list of the leading citizens of the province of Judah who lived in Jerusalem:

4Members of the tribe of Judah:

Athaiah, the son of Uzziah and grandson of Zechariah. His other ancestors included Amariah, Shephatiah, and Mahalalel, descendants of Judah's son Perez.

5Maaseiah, the son of Baruch and grandson of Colhozeh. His other ancestors included Hazaiah, Adaiah, Joiarib, and Zechariah, descendants of Judah's son Shelah.

6Of the descendants of Perez, 468 outstanding men lived in Jerusalem.

7Members of the tribe of Benjamin:

Sallu, the son of Meshullam and grandson of Joed. His other ancestors included Pedaiah, Kolaiah, Maaseiah, Ithiel, and Jeshaiah.

8Gabbai and Sallai, close relatives11.8 One ancient translation close relatives; Hebrew after him. of Sallu.

In all, 928 Benjaminites lived in Jerusalem. 9Joel son of Zichri was their leader, and Judah son of Hassenuah was the second senior official in the city.


Jedaiah son of Joiarib, and Jachin.

11Seraiah, the son of Hilkiah and grandson of Meshullam. His ancestors included Zadok, Meraioth, and Ahitub, who was the High Priest. 12In all, 822 members of this clan served in the Temple.

Adaiah, the son of Jeroham and grandson of Pelaliah. His ancestors included Amzi, Zechariah, Pashhur, and Malchijah. 13In all, 242 members of this clan were heads of families.

Amashsai, the son of Azarel and grandson of Ahzai. His ancestors included Meshillemoth and Immer. 14There were 128 members of this clan who were outstanding soldiers. Their leader was Zabdiel, a member of a leading family.11.14 a member of a leading family; or son of Haggedolim.


Shemaiah, the son of Hasshub and grandson of Azrikam. His ancestors included Hashabiah and Bunni.

16Shabbethai and Jozabad, prominent Levites in charge of the work outside the Temple.

17Mattaniah, the son of Mica and grandson of Zabdi, a descendant of Asaph. He led the temple choir in singing the prayer of thanksgiving.

Bakbukiah, who was Mattaniah's assistant.

Abda, the son of Shammua and grandson of Galal, a descendant of Jeduthun.

18In all, 284 Levites lived in the holy city of Jerusalem.

19Temple guards:

Akkub, Talmon, and their relatives, 172 in all.

20The rest of the people of Israel and the remaining priests and Levites lived on their own property in the other cities and towns of Judah. 21The temple workmen lived in the part of Jerusalem called Ophel and worked under the supervision of Ziha and Gishpa.

22The supervisor of the Levites who lived in Jerusalem was Uzzi, the son of Bani and grandson of Hashabiah. His ancestors included Mattaniah and Mica, and he belonged to the clan of Asaph, the clan that was responsible for the music in the temple services. 23There were royal regulations stating how the clans should take turns in leading the temple music each day.

24Pethahiah son of Meshezabel, of the clan of Zerah and the tribe of Judah, represented the people of Israel at the Persian court.

The People in Other Towns and Cities

25Many of the people lived in towns near their farms. Those who were of the tribe of Judah lived in Kiriath Arba, Dibon, and Jekabzeel, and in the villages near these cities. 26They also lived in the cities of Jeshua, Moladah, Bethpelet, 27and Hazarshual, and in Beersheba and the villages around it. 28They lived in the city of Ziklag, in Meconah and its villages, 29in Enrimmon, in Zorah, in Jarmuth, 30in Zanoah, in Adullam, and in the villages near these towns. They lived in Lachish and on the farms near by, and in Azekah and its villages. That is to say, the people of Judah lived in the territory between Beersheba in the south and the Valley of Hinnom in the north.

31The people of the tribe of Benjamin lived in Geba, Michmash, Ai, Bethel and the nearby villages, 32Anathoth, Nob, Ananiah, 33Hazor, Ramah, Gittaim, 34Hadid, Zeboim, Neballat, 35Lod, and Ono, and in the Valley of Craftsmen. 36Some groups of Levites that had lived in the territory of Judah were assigned to live with the people of Benjamin.