“And now, our God, the great and mighty and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of unfailing love, do not let all the hardships we have suffered seem insignificant to you. Great trouble has come upon us and upon our kings and leaders and priests and prophets and ancestors—all of your people—from the days when the kings of Assyria first triumphed over us until now.
Every time you punished us you were being just. We have sinned greatly, and you gave us only what we deserved.
Our kings, leaders, priests, and ancestors did not obey your Law or listen to the warnings in your commands and laws.
Even while they had their own kingdom, they did not serve you, though you showered your goodness on them. You gave them a large, fertile land, but they refused to turn from their wickedness.
“So now today we are slaves in the land of plenty that you gave our ancestors for their enjoyment! We are slaves here in this good land.
The lush produce of this land piles up in the hands of the kings whom you have set over us because of our sins. They have power over us and our livestock. We serve them at their pleasure, and we are in great misery.”
The people responded, “In view of all this, we are making a solemn promise and putting it in writing. On this sealed document are the names of our leaders and Levites and priests.”