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8:1 And all the people gathered themselves together as one man into the street that was before the water gate; and they spake unto Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses, which the LORD had commanded to Israel.
8:2 And Ezra the priest brought the law before the congregation both of men and women, and all that could hear with understanding, upon the first day of the seventh month.
8:3 And he read therein before the street that was before the water gate from the morning until midday, before the men and the women, and those that could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive unto the book of the law.
8:4 And Ezra the scribe stood upon a pulpit 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.
8:5 And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people; (for he was above all the people;) and when he opened it, all the people stood up: 8:6 And Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God. And all the people answered, Amen, Amen, with lifting up their hands: and they bowed their heads, and worshipped the LORD with their faces to the ground.
8:7 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.
8:8 So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading.
8:9 And Nehemiah, which is the Tirshatha, and Ezra the priest the scribe, and the Levites that taught the people, said unto all the people, This day is holy unto the LORD your God; mourn not, nor weep. For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the law.
8:10 Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our LORD: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your strength.
8:11 So the Levites stilled all the people, saying, Hold your peace, for the day is holy; neither be ye grieved.
8:12 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 unto them.
8:13 And on the second day were gathered together the chief of the fathers of all the people, the priests, and the Levites, unto Ezra the scribe, even to understand the words of the law.
8:14 And they found written in the law which the LORD had commanded by Moses, that the children of Israel should dwell in booths in the feast of the seventh month: 8:15 And that they should publish and proclaim in all their cities, and in Jerusalem, saying, Go forth unto the mount, 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.
8:16 So the people went forth, and brought them, and made themselves booths, every one 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.
8:17 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 Jeshua the son of Nun unto that day had not the children of Israel done so. And there was very great gladness.
8:18 Also day by day, from the first day unto the last day, he read in the book of the law of God. And they kept the feast seven days; and on the eighth day was a solemn assembly, according unto the manner.

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Everything King James Bible:Nehemiah
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible
back to: Nehemiah
Book: Nehemiah
Chapter: 8

The reading and expounding the Law. (1-8) The people called
upon to be joyful. (9-12) The Feast of Tabernacles, The joy of
the people. (13-18)

1-8 Sacrifices were to be offered only at the door of the
Temple; but praying and preaching were, and are, services of
religion, as acceptably performed in one place as in another.
Masters of families should bring their families with them to the
public Worship of God. Women and children have souls to save,
and are therefore to acquaint themselves with the Word of God,
and to attend On the Means of Grace. Little ones, as they come
to reason, must be trained up in religion. Ministers when they
go to the Pulpit, should take their Bibles with them; Ezra did
So. Thence they must fetch their knowledge; according to that
rule they must speak, and must show that they do So. Reading the
Scriptures in religious assemblies is an ordinance of God,
whereby he is honoured, and his Church edified. Those who hear
the Word, should understand it, else it is to them but an empty
sound of words. It is therefore required of teachers that they
explain the Word, and give the sense of it. Reading is good, and
preaching is good, but expounding makes reading the better
understood, and preaching the more convincing. It has pleased
God in almost every Age of the Church to raise up, not only
those who have preached the Gospel, but also those who have
given their views of Divine Truth in Writing; and though many
who have attempted to explain Scripture, have darkened counsel
By words without knowledge, yet the labours of others are of
excellent use. All that we hear must, however, be brought to the
test of Scripture. They heard readily, and minded every Word.
The Word of God demands attention. If through carelessness we
let much slip in hearing, there is danger that through
forgetfulness we shall let all slip after hearing.

9-12 It was a good sign that their hearts were tender, when
they heard the words of the Law. The people were to send
portions to those for whom nothing was prepared. It is the duty
of a religious Feast, as Well as of a religious Fast, to draw
out the soul to the hungry; God's bounty should make us
bountiful. We must not only give to those that offer themselves,
but send to those out of sight. Their strength consisted in joy
in the Lord. The better we understand God's Word, the more
comfort we find in it; the Darkness of trouble arises from the
Darkness of ignorance.

13-18 They found written in the Law about the Feast of
Tabernacles. Those who diligently search the Scriptures, find
things written there which they have forgotten. This Feast of
Tabernacles was a representation of the believer's Tabernacle
state in this world, and a Type of the holy joy of the Gospel
Church. The Conversion of the nations to the Faith of Christ, is
foretold under the figure of this Feast, Zec 14:16. True
religion will render us strangers and pilgrims upon Earth. We
read and hear the Word acceptably and profitably, when we do
according to what is written therein; when what appears to be
our duty is revived, after it has been neglected. They minded
the substance; else the ceremony had been of No use. They did
it, rejoicing in God and his Goodness. These are the means which
the Spirit of God crowns with success, in bringing the hearts of
sinners to tremble and to become humbled before God. But those
are enemies to their own growth in Holiness, who always indulge
sorrow, even for Sin, and Put away from them the consolations
tendered By the Word and Spirit of God.

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