The rest of the people, the priests, the Levites, the gatekeepers, the singers, the temple servants, and all who have separated themselves from the peoples of the lands to the Law of God, their wives, their sons, their daughters, all who have knowledge and understanding, join with their brothers, their nobles, and enter into a curse and an oath to walk in God's Law that was given by Moses the servant of God, and to observe and do all the commandments of the LORD our Lord and his rules and his statutes.
The revival under Nehemiah led the people to pledge a solemn oath to follow the Law of God. They had already taken responsibility for past sin. They knew the reason Persia ruled over them was because of the flagrant disregard Israel had in her past for the covenant. Re-committing to the covenant was done with broken hearts over past sinful failures.
In making this recommitment, the citizens of Jerusalem were saying that they were ready to put themselves and their families under the accountability and discipline of the Law of God. That is why it is called both a curse and an oath. It was an oath of allegiance. It was a curse if they turned from God again. Every commitment to God has its obligations and its warnings. And the Jews in Jerusalem went into this solemn obligation with both of those things in view.
Everybody wants God to bless them. But few will agree to His corrective discipline. Yet both are necessary for maturity and growth in holy living. It isn't much of a commitment if I will not let God show me my wrongs by correction.