Nehemiah 8

1 all the people gathered together a at the square in front of the Water Gate. b They asked Ezra the scribe c to bring the book of the law of Moses d that the Lord had given Israel. 2On the first day of the seventh month, e Ezra the priest f brought the law g before the assembly of men, women, and all who could listen with understanding. 3While he was facing the square in front of the Water Gate, h he read out of it from daybreak until noon before the men, the women, and those who could understand. All the people listened attentively
Lit The ears of all the people listened
to the book of the law. j
4 Ezra the scribe stood on a high wooden platform k made for this purpose. Mattithiah, Shema, Anaiah, Uriah, Hilkiah, and Maaseiah stood beside him on his right; to his left were Pedaiah, Mishael, Malchijah, Hashum, Hash-baddanah, Zechariah, and Meshullam. 5 Ezra opened the book in full view of all the people, since he was elevated above everyone. As he opened it, all the people stood up. 6 Ezra praised the Lord, the great God, and with their hands uplifted l all the people said, “
Amen: The transliteration of a Hebrew word signifying that something is certain, valid, truthful, or faithful; it is often used at the end of biblical songs, hymns, and prayers.
Amen, Amen!” n Then they bowed down and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground. o

7 Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodiah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, and Pelaiah, p who were Levites,
Vg, 1 Esdras 9:48; MT reads Pelaiah and the Levites
r explained the law s to the people as they stood in their places.
8They read out of the book of the law of God, translating and giving the meaning so that the people could understand what was read. 9 Nehemiah the governor, t Ezra the priest and scribe, u and the Levites who were instructing the people said to all of them, “This day v is holy to the Lord your God. Do not mourn or weep.” w For all the people were weeping as they heard the words of the law. 10Then he said to them, “Go and eat what is rich, drink what is sweet, and send portions to those who have nothing prepared, x since today y is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, because the joy of the Lord is your stronghold.” z 11And the Levites quieted all the people, saying, “Be still, aa since today ab is holy. Do not grieve.” 12Then all the people began to eat and drink, send portions, and have a great celebration, ac because they had understood the words that were explained to them.

Festival of Booths Observed

13 On the second day, the family leaders of all the people, along with the priests and Levites, ad assembled before Ezra the scribe ae to study the words of the law. 14They found written in the law how the Lord had commanded through Moses that the Israelites should dwell in booths during the festival of the seventh month. af 15So they proclaimed and spread this news throughout their towns and in Jerusalem, saying, “Go out to the hill country and bring back branches of olive, wild olive, myrtle, palm, and other leafy trees to make booths, just as it is written.” ag 16The people went out, brought back branches, and made booths for themselves on each of their rooftops, ah and courtyards, the court of the house of God, the square by the Water Gate, ai and the square by the Gate of Ephraim. aj 17The whole community that had returned from exile ak made booths and lived in them. They had not celebrated like this from the days of Joshua son of Nun until that day. al And there was tremendous joy. am 18Ezra
Some Hb mss, Syr read They
read out of the book of the law of God ao every day, from the first day to the last. The Israelites celebrated the festival for seven days, and on the eighth day there was an assembly, according to the ordinance. ap
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