9:1 Now in the twenty and fourth day of this a month the children of Israel were assembled with fasting, and with sackclothes, and earth upon them.
(a) Meaning, the seventh. 9:3 And they stood up in their place, and read in the book of the law of the LORD their God [one] fourth part of the day; and [another] fourth part they b confessed, and worshipped the LORD their God.
(b) They confessed their sins, and used prayers. 9:21 Yea, forty years didst thou sustain them in the wilderness, [so that] they lacked nothing; their clothes waxed not old, and their feet c swelled not.
(c) Though the way was tedious and long. 9:22 Moreover thou gavest them kingdoms and nations, and didst d divide them into corners: so they possessed the land of Sihon, and the land of the king of Heshbon, and the land of Og king of Bashan.
(d) Meaning, the heathen whom he drove out. 9:26 Nevertheless they were disobedient, and rebelled against thee, and cast thy law behind their backs, and slew thy prophets which e testified against them to turn them to thee, and they wrought great provocations.
9:28 But after they had f rest, they did evil again before thee: therefore leftest thou them in the hand of their enemies, so that they had the dominion over them: yet when they returned, and cried unto thee, thou heardest [them] from heaven; and many times didst thou deliver them according to thy mercies;
(e) Taking heaven and earth to witness that God would destroy them unless they returned, as in ( 2 Chronicles 24:19 ).
(f) He declares how Gods mercies always contended with the wickedness of the people, who always in their prosperity forgot God. 9:29 And testifiedst against them, that thou mightest bring them again unto thy law: yet they dealt proudly, and hearkened not unto thy commandments, but sinned against thy judgments, (which if a man do, he shall live in them;) and g withdrew the shoulder, and hardened their neck, and would not h hear.
9:32 Now therefore, our God, the great, the mighty, and the terrible God, who keepest covenant and mercy, let not all the trouble seem little before thee, that hath come upon us, on our kings, on our princes, and on our priests, and on our prophets, and on our fathers, and on all thy people, since the time of the i kings of Assyria unto this day.
(g) Which is a sign taken from oxen that shrink at the yoke or burden in ( Zechariah 7:11 ).
(h) When you admonished them by your prophets.
9:33 Howbeit thou [art] just in all that is brought upon us; for thou hast k done right, but we have done wickedly:
(i) By whom we were led away into captivity and have been appointed to be slain, as in ( Esther 3:13 ).
(k) He confesses that all these things came to them justly for their sins, but he appeals from Gods justice to his mercies. 9:34 Neither have our kings, our princes, our priests, nor our fathers, kept thy law, nor hearkened unto thy commandments and thy testimonies, wherewith thou didst l testify against them.
9:36 Behold, we [are] servants this day, and [for] the land that thou gavest unto our fathers to eat the m fruit thereof and the good thereof, behold, we [are] servants in it:
(l) That you would destroy them, unless they would return to you, as in ( Nehemiah 9:26 ).
(m) That is, to be the Lords. 9:38 And because of all this we make n a sure [covenant], and write [it]; and our princes, Levites, [and] priests, seal [unto it].
(n) Thus by affliction they promise to keep Gods commandments to which they could not be brought by Gods great benefits.