sackcloth and ashes, to be in

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sackcloth and ashes, to be in

To be penitent or contrite; in a state of repentance. This term alludes to the ancient Hebrew custom of donning a coarse, dark cloth from which sacks were made and dusting oneself with ashes to signify one’s humility before God. It is mentioned in the Bible: “And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes” (Daniel 9:3). The term may be obsolescent.
See also: and, sackcloth
References in periodicals archive ?
Germany should be in sackcloth and ashes for a full 100 years for what they allowed the Nazis to do in their name.