1 Now when these things were done, the princes came to me, saying, "The people of Israel, the priests, and the Levites have not separated themselves from the people of the lands, doing according to their abominations, even of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Egyptians, and the Amorites. 2 For they have taken of their daughters for themselves and for their sons, so that the holy seed have mingled themselves with the people of those lands. Even the hand of the princes and rulers has been chief in this trespass." 3 And when I heard this thing, I rent my garment and my mantle, plucked off the hair of my head and of my beard, and sat down confounded. 4 Then everyone who trembled at the words of the God of Israel was assembled to me, because of the transgression of those who had been carried away. And I sat confounded until the evening sacrifice.
5 And at the evening sacrifice I arose from my heaviness, and having rent my garment and my mantle, I fell upon my knees and spread out my hands to the LORD my God, 6 And said, "O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift up my face to you, my God. For our iniquities have increased over our head, and our trespass has grown up to the heavens. 7 Since the days of our fathers we have been in a great trespass to this day. And for our iniquities we, our kings, and our priests have been delivered into the hand of the kings of the lands, to the sword, to captivity, to a spoil, and to confusion of face, as it is this day. 8 And now for a little space, grace has been shown from the LORD our God, to leave us a remnant to escape and to give us a nail in his holy place, so that our God may lighten our eyes and give us a little reviving in our bondage. 9 For we were bond-men, yet our God has not forsaken us in our bondage, but has extended mercy to us in the sight of the kings of Persia, to give us a reviving, to set up the house of our God, to repair its desolations, and to give us a wall in Judah and in Jerusalem.
10 "And now, O our God, what shall we say after this? For we have forsaken your commandments, 11 Which you have commanded by your servants the prophets, saying, 'The land, to which you go to possess it, is an unclean land with the filthiness of the people of the lands, with their abominations, which have filled it from one end to another with their uncleanness. 12 Now therefore, do not give your daughters to their sons, neither take their daughters to your sons, nor seek their peace or their wealth forever, so that you may be strong and eat the good of the land and leave it for an inheritance to your children forever.' 13 And after all that has come upon us for our evil deeds and for our great trespass, seeing that you, our God, have punished us less than our iniquities deserve and have given us such deliverance as this, 14 Should we again break your commandments and intermarry with the people of these abominations? Would you not be angry with us until you had consumed us, so that there should be no remnant nor escaping? 15 O LORD, God of Israel, you are righteous, for we are left a remnant that has escaped. Behold, we are before you in our trespasses, for we cannot stand before you because of this."
[v.8] - "to give us a nail in his holy place" - From John Gill's Exposition: "A fixed settlement in the land of Judea, the holy land the Lord had chosen, and in the temple, the holy place sacred to his worship; or a prince of their own, Zerubbabel, to be the governor of them, under whom they might enjoy settled happiness and prosperity, see Isaiah 22:23."