1 Then all the people gathered themselves together as one man into the open place that was before the water gate; (See 3:26; 5:9)
V W1 8:-1-8. The book. Opened and read. W2 8:9-12. The book. Effect of reading.
W1 g -1,2. The book brought forth. X h 3. The reading. i 4. Station of Ezra and others. g 5-. The book opened. X i -5-7. Station of Ezra and others. h 8. The reading.
and they spoke to Ezra the scribe to bring the scroll (the well known scroll [Deut. 31:10,11]) of the law of Moses, which the LORD (Yehovah) had commanded to Israel.
2 And Ezra the priest (It was the priest' duty at this and at all times to teach the people the Word of God. See Deut. 17:11; 33:10; and cp. Mal. 2:7) brought the law before the assembly both of men and women, and all that could hear with understanding, upon the first day of the seventh month. (This according to the requirement of Deut. 31:9-12, every 7th year. Cp. Lev. 23:23-25)
3 And he read therein before the street that was before the water gate from the daylight until midday, before the men and the women, and those that could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive to the book of the law.
4 And Ezra the scribe stood upon a high platform of wood, which they had made for the purpose; and beside him stood Mattithiah, and Shema, and Anaiah, and Urijah, and Hilkiah, and Maaseiah, on his right hand; and on his left hand, Pedaiah, and Mishael, and Malchiah, and Hashum, and Hashbadana, Zechariah, and Meshullam. (13 priests with him, 14 in all. 14 = Deliverance; Salvation)
5 And Ezra unrolled the scroll before the eyes of all the people; (for he was above all the people;)
and when he opened it, all the people stood up: (In token of reverence [Judg. 3:20. Job 29:8; 37:14)
6 And Ezra blessed the LORD, the great [true] God. And all the people answered, "Amen, Amen," with lifting up their hands (cp. 1 Tim. 2:8): and they bowed their heads, and worshiped the LORD with their faces to the ground.
7 Also Jeshua, and Bani, and Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodijah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, and the Levites, caused the people to understand the law: and the people stood in their place.
8 So they read in the scroll in the law of God (i.e. the Heb. text of the Pentateuch) a distinct [reading] (i.e. according to the Talmud, translating and interpreting it in the Chaldee paraphrase), and gave the sense (i.e. divided the sentences, &c., according to the sense), and caused them to understand the reading. (i.e. gave the tradition pronunciation of the words [which were then without the vowel points])
W2 j 9. Prohibition. No weeping. k 10-. Dismissal. l -10. Joy. j 11. Prohibition. No grieving. k 12-. Departure. l -12. Joy.
9 And Nehemiah (He now uses the 3rd person), which is the Tirshatha, and Ezra the priest the scribe, and the Levites that taught the people, said to all the people, "This day is holy to the LORD your God; mourn not, nor weep." For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the law.
10 Then he said to them, "Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions to them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day it is holy to our LORD (Adonim = the Lord Who rules His own): neither be you sorry;
for the joy of the LORD that is your defense (or refuge)."
11 So the Levites stilled all the people, saying, "Hold your peace, for the day is holy; neither be you grieved."
12 And all the people went their way
to eat, and to drink, and to send portions, and to make great mirth, because they had understood the words that were declared to them.
V m 13. 2nd day. Reading. n 14-17. Tabernacles (manner). m 18-. Every day. Reading. n -18. Feast. Tabernacles (continuance).
13 And on the second day were gathered together the heads of the fathers of all the people, the priests, and the Levites, to Ezra the scribe, even to understand the words of the law.
n o 14. Command. To dwell in booths. p 15. To go forth, &c. p 16. The going forth, &c. o 17. Obedience. Dwelling in booths.
14 And they found (i.e. they came to the place where direction was given) written in the law which the LORD had commanded by Moses (see Ex. 17:14), that the sons of Israel should dwell in booths (cp. Lev. 23:39-43. Deut. 16:13-15) in the feast of the seventh month:
15 And that they should publish and proclaim in all their cities, and in Jerusalem, saying, "Go forth to the hill country, and fetch olive branches, and pine branches, and myrtle branches, and palm branches, and branches of thick trees, to make booths, as it is written." (See Lev. 23:42. 5 items. 5 = grace)
16 So the people went forth, and brought them, and made themselves booths, every man upon the roof of his house, and in their courts, and in the courts of the house of God, and in the street of the water gate, and in the street of the gate of Ephraim.
17 And all the congregation of them that were come again out of the captivity made booths, and sat under the booths: for since the days of Joshua the son of Nun to that day had not the sons of Israel done so (2 Chron. 8:13 speaks only of the offerings required by Law, which Solomon offered. Nothing is said there of what the People did; so that there is no "discrepancy", as is alleged). And there was very great gladness.
18 Also day by day, from the first day to the last day, they read in the book of the law of God.
And they kept the feast seven days;
and on the eighth day was a solemn restraint (i.e. restraint from work), according to the regulation. (or ordinance)