Ezra was told that
many of the people of Israel have not kept
themselves seperate from the other people living in the land.
They have taken up the mal practices of the pagan idols.
God's chosen people had become polluted.
So at the time of sacrifice,
Ezra stood in front of Israelites and prayed;
"O God! I am so ashamed.
I can't even lift my head to look at you.
We have sinned greatly before you.
We have been given a new chance from you
to start over. But
we have ignored your word again!
We don't deserve to be in your presence."
When the people of Israel heard Ezra's prayer in weeping,
they too wept bitterly with him.
They began to confess their sins.
Ezra shifted the people's interest back into the word of God.