Ezra Reads the Law

And all the people gathered as one person at the public square which was in front of (A)the Water Gate, and they [a]asked (B)Ezra the scribe to bring (C)the Book of the Law of Moses which the Lord had [b]given to Israel. Then (D)Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly of men, women, and all who could listen with understanding, on (E)the first day of the seventh month. And he read from it before the public square which was in front of (F)the Water Gate, from [c]early morning until midday, in the presence of men and women, those who could understand; and [d]all the people were attentive to the Book of the Law. Ezra the scribe stood at a wooden podium which they had made for the purpose. And beside him stood Mattithiah, Shema, Anaiah, Uriah, Hilkiah, and Maaseiah on his right; and Pedaiah, Mishael, Malchijah, Hashum, Hashbaddanah, Zechariah, and Meshullam on his left. Then Ezra opened (G)the book in the sight of all the people, for he was standing above all the people; and when he opened it, all the people (H)stood up. Then Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God. And all the people answered, “(I)Amen, Amen!” with the raising of their hands; then (J)they kneeled down and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground. Also Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodiah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, and the Levites explained the Law to the people while the people remained in their place. They read from the book, from the Law of God, [e]translating to give the sense so that they understood the reading.

This Day Is Holy

Then Nehemiah, who was the [f](K)governor, and Ezra (L)the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, “(M)This day is holy to the Lord your God; (N)do not mourn or weep.” For all the people were weeping when they heard the words of the Law. 10 Then he said to them, “Go, eat the festival foods, drink the sweet drinks, and (O)send portions to him who has nothing prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your [g]refuge.” 11 So the Levites silenced all the people, saying, “Be still, for the day is holy; do not be grieved.” 12 Then all the people went away to eat, drink, (P)to send portions, and to [h]celebrate a great feast, (Q)because they understood the words which had been made known to them.

Feast of Booths Restored

13 Then on the second day the heads of fathers’ households of all the people, the priests, and the Levites were gathered to Ezra the scribe so that they might gain insight into the words of the Law. 14 And they found written in the Law how the Lord had commanded through Moses that the sons of Israel (R)were to live in [i]booths during the feast of the seventh month. 15 (S)And that they were to proclaim and circulate a proclamation in all their cities and (T)in Jerusalem, saying, “(U)Go out to the hills, and bring olive branches and [j]wild olive branches, myrtle branches, palm branches, and branches of other trees with thick branches, to make booths, as it is written.” 16 So the people went out and brought them and made booths for themselves, each (V)on his roof, and in their courtyards and in the courtyards of the house of God, and in the public square at (W)the Water Gate, and in the square at (X)the Gate of Ephraim. 17 The entire assembly of those who had returned from the captivity made booths and lived in the booths. Indeed, the sons of Israel (Y)had not done so since the days of Joshua the son of Nun to that day. And (Z)there was very great rejoicing. 18 (AA)He read from the Book of the Law of God daily, from the first day to the last day. And they (AB)celebrated the feast seven days, and on (AC)the eighth day there was a festive assembly in accordance with the ordinance.


  1. Nehemiah 8:1 Lit said to
  2. Nehemiah 8:1 Lit commanded
  3. Nehemiah 8:3 Lit the light
  4. Nehemiah 8:3 Lit the ears of all...were to
  5. Nehemiah 8:8 Or explaining
  6. Nehemiah 8:9 Heb Tirshatha, a Persian title
  7. Nehemiah 8:10 Or stronghold
  8. Nehemiah 8:12 Lit make a great rejoicing
  9. Nehemiah 8:14 I.e., huts, also called tabernacles
  10. Nehemiah 8:15 Lit oil tree, species unknown

The People Confess Their Sin

Now on the twenty-fourth day of (A)this month the sons of Israel assembled (B)with fasting, in sackcloth and with (C)dirt upon them. The [a](D)descendants of Israel separated themselves from all foreigners, and they stood and (E)confessed their sins and the wrongdoings of their fathers. While (F)they stood in their place, they read from the Book of the Law of the Lord their God for a fourth of the day; and for another fourth they confessed and worshiped the Lord their God. (G)Now on the Levites’ platform stood Jeshua, Bani, Kadmiel, Shebaniah, Bunni, Sherebiah, Bani, and Chenani, and they cried out with a loud voice to the Lord their God.

Then the Levites, Jeshua, Kadmiel, Bani, Hashabneiah, Sherebiah, Hodiah, Shebaniah, and Pethahiah said, “Arise, bless the Lord your God forever and ever!

May Your glorious name be blessed
And exalted above all blessing and praise!
(H)You alone are the Lord.
(I)You have made the heavens,
The heaven of heavens with all their [b]lights,
The earth and everything that is on it,
The seas and everything that is in them.
(J)You give life to all of them,
And the heavenly [c]lights bow down before You.
You are the Lord God,
(K)Who chose Abram
And brought him out from (L)Ur of the Chaldees,
And (M)gave him the name Abraham.
You found (N)his heart faithful before You,
And made a covenant with him
To give him the land of the Canaanite,
Of the Hittite and the Amorite,
Of the Perizzite, the Jebusite, and the Girgashite—
To give it to his [d]descendants.
And You (O)have fulfilled Your [e]promise,
Because You are righteous.

(P)You saw the affliction of our fathers in Egypt,
And (Q)heard their cry by the [f]Red Sea.
10 Then You performed (R)signs and wonders against Pharaoh,
Against all his servants and all the people of his land;
For You knew that (S)they acted arrogantly toward them,
And You (T)made a name for Yourself as it is this day.
11 (U)You divided the sea before them,
So they passed through the midst of the sea on dry ground;
And You hurled (V)their pursuers into the depths,
Like a stone into [g]raging waters.
12 And with a pillar of cloud (W)You led them by day,
And with a pillar of fire by night
To light for them the way
In which they were to go.
13 Then (X)You came down on Mount Sinai,
And (Y)spoke with them from heaven;
You gave them (Z)just ordinances and true laws,
Good statutes and commandments.
14 So You made known to them (AA)Your holy Sabbath,
And gave them commandments, statutes, and law,
Through Your servant Moses.
15 You (AB)provided bread from heaven for them for their hunger,
You (AC)brought out water from a rock for them for their thirst,
And You (AD)told them to enter in order to take possession of
The land which You [h]swore to give them.

16 “But they, our fathers, (AE)acted arrogantly;
They [i](AF)became stubborn and would not listen to Your commandments.
17 They refused to listen,
And (AG)did not remember Your wondrous deeds which You performed among them;
So they became stubborn and (AH)appointed a leader to return to their slavery in [j]Egypt.
But You are a God (AI)of forgiveness,
Gracious and compassionate,
Slow to anger and abounding in [k]mercy;
And You did not abandon them.
18 Even when they (AJ)made for themselves
A calf of cast metal
And said, ‘This is your [l]god
Who brought you up from Egypt,’
And committed great blasphemies,
19 (AK)You, in Your great compassion,
Did not abandon them in the wilderness;
(AL)The pillar of cloud did not leave them by day,
To guide them on their way,
Nor the pillar of fire by night, to light for them the way in which they were to go.
20 Instead, (AM)You gave Your good Spirit to instruct them,
You did not withhold Your manna from their mouth,
And You gave them water for their thirst.
21 Indeed, for (AN)forty years You provided for them in the wilderness and they were not lacking;
Their clothes did not wear out, nor did their feet swell up.
22 You also gave them kingdoms and peoples,
And allotted them to them as a [m]boundary.
(AO)They took possession of the land of Sihon [n]the king of Heshbon
And the land of Og the king of Bashan.
23 You made their sons as numerous as (AP)the stars of heaven,
And You brought them into the land
Which You had told their fathers to enter and possess.
24 (AQ)So their sons entered and took possession of the land.
And (AR)You subdued before them the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites,
And You handed them over to them, with their kings and the peoples of the land,
To do with them [o]as they desired.
25 (AS)They captured fortified cities and a [p](AT)fertile land.
They took possession of (AU)houses full of every good thing,
Carved out cisterns, vineyards, olive groves,
Fruit trees in abundance.
So they ate, were filled and (AV)put on fat,
And (AW)lived luxuriously in Your great goodness.

26 (AX)But they became rebellious and revolted against You,
And (AY)threw Your Law behind their backs
And (AZ)killed Your prophets who had (BA)admonished them
In order to bring them back to You,
And (BB)they committed great blasphemies.
27 Therefore You (BC)handed them over to their enemies who oppressed them,
But when they cried out to You (BD)in the time of their distress,
You heard from heaven, and according to Your great compassion
You (BE)gave them [q]people who saved them from the hand of their enemies.
28 But (BF)as soon as they had rest, they did evil again before You;
Therefore You abandoned them to the hand of their enemies, so that they ruled over them.
When they cried out again to You, You heard from heaven,
And (BG)many times You rescued them according to Your compassion,
29 And (BH)admonished them in order to turn them back to Your Law.
Yet (BI)they acted arrogantly and did not listen to Your commandments but sinned against Your ordinances,
(BJ)Which, if a person [r]follows them, then he will live by them.
And they [s](BK)turned a stubborn shoulder and stiffened their neck, and would not listen.
30 (BL)However, You remained patient with them for many years,
And (BM)admonished them by (BN)Your Spirit through Your prophets,
Yet they would not listen.
Therefore You handed them over to the peoples of the lands.
31 Nevertheless, in Your great compassion You (BO)did not make an end of them or abandon them,
For You are (BP)a gracious and compassionate God.

32 “Now then, our God, (BQ)the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who keeps His covenant and faithfulness,
Do not let all the hardship seem insignificant before You,
Which has happened to us, our kings, our leaders, our priests, our prophets, our fathers, and to all Your people,
(BR)From the days of the kings of Assyria to this day.
33 However, (BS)You are righteous in everything that has happened to us;
For You have dealt faithfully, but we have acted wickedly.
34 For our kings, our leaders, our priests, and our fathers have not kept Your Law
Or paid attention to Your commandments and Your [t]admonitions with which You have [u]admonished them.
35 But (BT)they, in their own kingdom,
(BU)With Your great goodness which You gave them,
With the broad and rich land which You placed before them,
Did not serve You or turn from their evil deeds.
36 Behold, (BV)we are slaves today,
And as for the land which You gave to our fathers to eat its fruit and its bounty,
Behold, we are slaves on it.
37 And (BW)its abundant produce is for the kings
Whom You have set over us because of our sins;
They also rule over our bodies
And over our cattle as they please,
So we are in great distress.

A Covenant Results

38 [v]Now because of all this
(BX)We are making an agreement in writing;
And on the (BY)sealed document are the names of our leaders, our Levites, and our priests.”


  1. Nehemiah 9:2 Lit seed
  2. Nehemiah 9:6 Lit host; i.e., sun, stars, etc.
  3. Nehemiah 9:6 Lit host; i.e., sun, stars, etc.
  4. Nehemiah 9:8 Lit seed
  5. Nehemiah 9:8 Lit words
  6. Nehemiah 9:9 Lit Sea of Reeds
  7. Nehemiah 9:11 Lit strong, mighty
  8. Nehemiah 9:15 Lit lifted up Your hand
  9. Nehemiah 9:16 Lit stiffened their neck; so also v 17
  10. Nehemiah 9:17 As in LXX and some Heb mss; MT their rebellion
  11. Nehemiah 9:17 Or faithfulness
  12. Nehemiah 9:18 Or God; i.e., an idol intended to represent God
  13. Nehemiah 9:22 Lit side, corner
  14. Nehemiah 9:22 As in LXX and Lat; MT and the land of the king of Heshbon
  15. Nehemiah 9:24 Lit according to their desire
  16. Nehemiah 9:25 Lit fat
  17. Nehemiah 9:27 Lit deliverers
  18. Nehemiah 9:29 Lit does them
  19. Nehemiah 9:29 Lit gave
  20. Nehemiah 9:34 Lit testimonies
  21. Nehemiah 9:34 Or testified to
  22. Nehemiah 9:38 Ch 10:1 in Heb

Signers of the Document

10 [a]Now on the (A)sealed document were the names of: Nehemiah the [b]governor, the son of Hacaliah, and Zedekiah, Seraiah, Azariah, Jeremiah, Pashhur, Amariah, Malchijah, Hattush, Shebaniah, Malluch, Harim, Meremoth, Obadiah, Daniel, Ginnethon, Baruch, Meshullam, Abijah, Mijamin, Maaziah, Bilgai, and Shemaiah. These were the priests. And the Levites: Jeshua the son of Azaniah, Binnui of the sons of Henadad, and Kadmiel; 10 also their brothers Shebaniah, Hodiah, Kelita, Pelaiah, Hanan, 11 Mica, Rehob, Hashabiah, 12 Zaccur, Sherebiah, Shebaniah, 13 Hodiah, Bani, and Beninu. 14 The leaders of the people: Parosh, Pahath-moab, Elam, Zattu, Bani, 15 Bunni, Azgad, Bebai, 16 Adonijah, Bigvai, Adin, 17 Ater, Hezekiah, Azzur, 18 Hodiah, Hashum, Bezai, 19 Hariph, Anathoth, Nebai, 20 Magpiash, Meshullam, Hezir, 21 Meshezabel, Zadok, Jaddua, 22 Pelatiah, Hanan, Anaiah, 23 Hoshea, Hananiah, Hasshub, 24 Hallohesh, Pilha, Shobek, 25 Rehum, Hashabnah, Maaseiah, 26 Ahiah, Hanan, Anan, 27 Malluch, Harim, and Baanah.

Obligations of the Document

28 Now (B)the rest of the people, the priests, the Levites, the gatekeepers, the singers, the temple servants, and (C)all those who had separated themselves from the peoples of the lands to the Law of God, their wives, their sons, and their daughters, all those who had knowledge and understanding, 29 are joining with their kinsmen, their nobles, and are [c](D)taking on themselves a curse and an oath to walk in God’s Law, which was given through Moses, God’s servant, and to keep and to [d]comply with all the commandments of [e]God our Lord, and His ordinances and statutes; 30 and (E)that we will not give our daughters to the peoples of the land or take their daughters for our sons. 31 As (F)for the peoples of the land who bring wares or any grain on the Sabbath day to sell, we will not [f]buy from them on the Sabbath or on any holy day; and we will forgo the crops of the (G)seventh year and [g](H)every debt.

32 We also imposed [h]on ourselves the obligation to contribute yearly (I)a third of a shekel for the service of the house of our God: 33 for the (J)showbread, for the continual grain offering, for the continual burnt offering, the Sabbaths, the new moons, for the appointed times, for the holy things, and for the sin offerings to make atonement for Israel, and all the work of the house of our God.

34 Likewise (K)we cast lots (L)for the supply of wood among the priests, the Levites, and the people so that they could bring it to the house of our God, according to our fathers’ households, at set times annually, to burn on the altar of the Lord our God, as it is written in the Law; 35 and so that they could bring the first fruits of our ground and (M)the first fruits of all the fruit of every tree to the house of the Lord annually, 36 and (N)bring to the house of our God the firstborn of our sons and of our cattle, and the firstborn of our herds and our flocks as it is written in the Law, for the priests who are ministering in the house of our God. 37 (O)We will also bring the first of our [i]dough, our contributions, the fruit of every tree, the new wine, and the oil (P)to the priests at the chambers of the house of our God, and the (Q)tithe of our ground to the Levites, for the Levites are they who receive the tithes in all the rural towns. 38 And (R)the priest, the son of Aaron, shall be with the Levites when the Levites receive tithes, and the Levites shall bring up the tenth of the tithes to the house of our God, to the chambers of (S)the storehouse. 39 For the sons of Israel and the sons of Levi shall bring the (T)contribution of the grain, the new wine, and the oil to the chambers; the utensils of the sanctuary, the priests who are ministering, the gatekeepers, and the singers are there. So (U)we will not [j]neglect the house of our God.


  1. Nehemiah 10:1 Ch 10:2 in Heb
  2. Nehemiah 10:1 Heb Tirshatha, a Persian title
  3. Nehemiah 10:29 Lit entering into a
  4. Nehemiah 10:29 Lit do all
  5. Nehemiah 10:29 Heb YHWH, usually rendered Lord
  6. Nehemiah 10:31 Lit take
  7. Nehemiah 10:31 Lit the loan from every hand
  8. Nehemiah 10:32 Lit commandments on us
  9. Nehemiah 10:37 Or coarse meal
  10. Nehemiah 10:39 Lit abandon

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