The solemn assembly of the Israelites began with fasting, sackcloth, and dust. The Israelites separated themselves from any foreigners, and stood and confessed their sins and the iniquities of their fathers. For a fourth of a day, they read from the Law of the Lord their God. For another fourth, they confessed and worshiped their God. Then the Levites recited the history of Israel, including their triumphs and their failures. They discussed the covenant, the captivity in Egypt, the taking of the promised land of Canaan, and the many times God delivered them from their enemies. They also recounted how the Israelites were stiff-necked and rebellious at times. They then asked God for mercy in their current situation, and for grace to be forgiven and to rebuild the city of God and to inhabit the land of promise again.
It has been noted before that Israel knew how to record and celebrate its history. In this case, the confession and repentance of Judah included a rehearsal of the history of Israel and its wins and losses. They knew that they were still in a tough spot, under the dominance of a foreign nation, but yet they called on God for help. When you have sinned, when you are hurting, when you are oppressed, there is only one solution. Confess your sins, turn to God, and call on His name. He will answer!