Ezra explains the situation today (Neh 9:32-9:37)

“Now therefore, our God,

The great and mighty and awesome God,

You keep the covenant and steadfast love.

Do not treat lightly all the hardship that has come upon us,

Upon our kings, our officials, our priests, our prophets,

Our ancestors, and all your people,

Since the time of the kings of Assyria until today.

You have been just in all that has come upon us.

You have dealt faithfully.

We have acted wickedly.

Our kings, our officials, our priests, and our ancestors

Have not kept your law.

They have not heeded your commandments.

They have not heeded the warnings that you gave them.

Even in their kingdom,

In the great goodness that you bestowed upon them,

In the large and rich land that you set before them,

They did not serve you.

They did not turn from their wicked works.

Here we are slaves to this day.

Slaves in the land that you gave to our ancestors

To enjoy its fruit and its good gifts.

Its rich yield goes to the kings,

The kings you have over us because of our sins.

They have power also over our bodies

And over our livestock at their pleasure.

We are in great distress!”

Now Ezra’s prayer gets to the current situation. The wonderful mighty God has been good to us. However, we, our kings, officials, priests, prophets, and all our people have been in distress since the Assyrian kings took over our land. God was just and acted faithfully. However, we were the wicked sinners because we did not follow the commandments, all of us. Even when things were good with our own kingdom, we still kept our wicked ways. We did not follow all the commandments. Now we end up as slaves in our own country. We have to pay the king with our work. The kings have power over us. “We are in great distress!”