Bible: Neh 7:70-8:18

7:70 Some of the family leaders 1  contributed to the work. The governor contributed to the treasury 1,000 gold drachmas, 2  50 bowls, and 530 priestly garments. 7:71 Some of the family leaders gave to the project treasury 20,000 gold drachmas and 2,200 silver minas. 7:72 What the rest of the people gave amounted to 20,000 gold drachmas, 2,000 silver minas, and 67 priestly garments.

7:73 The priests, the Levites, the gatekeepers, the singers, some of the people, the temple servants, and all the rest of Israel lived in their cities.

The People Respond to the Reading of the Law

When the seventh month arrived and the Israelites 3  were settled in their cities, 4  8:1 all the people gathered together 5  in the plaza which was in front of the Water Gate. They asked 6  Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses which the LORD had commanded Israel. 8:2 So Ezra the priest brought the law before the assembly which included men and women and all those able to understand what they heard. (This happened on the first day of the seventh month.) 8:3 So he read it before the plaza in front of the Water Gate from dawn till noon 7  before the men and women and those children who could understand. 8  All the people were eager to hear 9  the book of the law.

8:4 Ezra the scribe stood on a towering wooden platform 10  constructed for this purpose. Standing near him on his right were Mattithiah, Shema, Anaiah, Uriah, Hilkiah, and Masseiah. On his left were Pedaiah, Mishael, Malkijah, Hashum, Hashbaddanah, Zechariah, and Meshullam. 8:5 Ezra opened the book in plain view 11  of all the people, for he was elevated above all the people. When he opened the book, 12  all the people stood up. 8:6 Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God, and all the people replied “Amen! Amen!” as they lifted their hands. Then they bowed down and worshiped the LORD with their faces to the ground.

8:7 Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodiah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, and Pelaiah – all of whom were Levites 13 were teaching the people the law, as the people remained standing. 8:8 They read from the book of God’s law, explaining it 14  and imparting insight. Thus the people 15  gained understanding from what was read.

8:9 Then Nehemiah the governor, 16  Ezra the priestly scribe, 17  and the Levites who were imparting understanding to the people said to all of them, 18 This day is holy to the LORD your God. Do not mourn or weep.” For all the people had been weeping when they heard the words of the law. 8:10 He said to them, “Go and eat delicacies and drink sweet drinks and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared. For this day is holy to our Lord. 19  Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”

8:11 Then the Levites quieted all the people saying, “Be quiet, for this day is holy. Do not grieve.” 8:12 So all the people departed to eat and drink and to share their food 20  with others 21  and to enjoy tremendous joy, 22  for they had gained insight in the matters that had been made known to them.

8:13 On the second day of the month the family leaders 23  met with 24  Ezra the scribe, together with all the people, the priests, and the Levites, to consider the words of the law. 8:14 They discovered written in the law that the LORD had commanded through 25  Moses that the Israelites should live in temporary shelters during the festival of the seventh month, 8:15 and that they should make a proclamation and disseminate this message 26  in all their cities and in Jerusalem: 27  “Go to the hill country and bring back olive branches and branches of wild olive trees, myrtle trees, date palms, and other leafy trees to construct temporary shelters, as it is written.”

8:16 So the people went out and brought these things 28  back and constructed temporary shelters for themselves, each on his roof and in his courtyard and in the courtyards of the temple 29  of God and in the plaza of the Water Gate and the plaza of the Ephraim Gate. 8:17 So all the assembly which had returned from the exile constructed temporary shelters and lived in them. The Israelites had not done so from the days of Joshua son of Nun until that day. Everyone experienced very great joy. 30  8:18 Ezra 31  read in the book of the law of God day by day, from the first day to the last. 32  They observed the festival for seven days, and on the eighth day they held an assembly 33  as was required. 34 

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