Ezra’s reaction and mighty prayer of forgiveness for intermarriage. Having dealings with and even marrying the surrounding peoples may seem normal but for Israel I can see it would quickly mean the faith and the cultural identity would be lost. Anyway, when God gave them the land back in Exodus, he commanded them not to do it, and as a scholar Ezra knows it.
His reaction, pulling out his hair, ripping his clothes and sitting appalled, is probably reflecting what he feels, but it is dramatic and demonstrates to the people it is not on.
Laying flat, too ashamed to show God his face he starts his prayer of forgiveness. He remembers God’s goodness, god’s law, and he is honest about the fact that despite his goodness, they created the exile by breaking god’s law, and now continue to break his law.
The only thing he can cling to is Grace – god’s identity is that he punishes us less than our sins deserve.
Ezra can only get to grace by disguising nothing. He makes a case for their unworthiness, not their worthiness.