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Nehemiah 9:29-38 (New International Version)

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29 "You warned1 them to return to your law, but they became arrogant2 and disobeyed your commands. They sinned against your ordinances, by which a man will live if he obeys them.3 Stubbornly they turned their backs4 on you, became stiff-necked5 and refused to listen.6 30 For many years you were patient with them. By your Spirit you admonished them through your prophets.7 Yet they paid no attention, so you handed them over to the neighboring peoples.8 31 But in your great mercy you did not put an end9 to them or abandon them, for you are a gracious and merciful10 God. 32 "Now therefore, O our God, the great, mighty11 and awesome God,12 who keeps his covenant of love,13 do not let all this hardship seem trifling in your eyes--the hardship14 that has come upon us, upon our kings and leaders, upon our priests and prophets, upon our fathers and all your people, from the days of the kings of Assyria until today. 33 In all that has happened to us, you have been just;15 you have acted faithfully, while we did wrong.16 34 Our kings,17 our leaders, our priests and our fathers18 did not follow your law; they did not pay attention to your commands or the warnings you gave them. 35 Even while they were in their kingdom, enjoying your great goodness19 to them in the spacious and fertile land you gave them, they did not serve you20 or turn from their evil ways. 36 "But see, we are slaves21 today, slaves in the land you gave our forefathers so they could eat its fruit and the other good things it produces. 37 Because of our sins, its abundant harvest goes to the kings you have placed over us. They rule over our bodies and our cattle as they please. We are in great distress.22

The Agreement of the People

38 "In view of all this, we are making a binding agreement,23 putting it in writing,24 and our leaders, our Levites and our priests are affixing their seals to it."
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