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all the people gathered with one accord in the open space in front of the Water Gate and asked ‘Ezra the Torah-teacher to bring the scroll of the Torah of Moshe, which Adonai had commanded Isra’el. ‘Ezra the cohen brought the Torah before the assembly, which consisted of men, women and all children old enough to understand. It was the first day of the seventh month. Facing the open space in front of the Water Gate, he read from it to the men, the women and the children who could understand from early morning until noon; and all the people listened attentively to the scroll of the Torah. ‘Ezra the Torah-teacher stood on a wood platform which they had made for the purpose; beside him on his right stood Mattityah, Shema, ‘Anayah, Uriyah, Hilkiyah and Ma‘aseiyah; while on his left were P’dayah, Misha’el, Malkiyah, Hashum, Hashbadanah, Z’kharyah and Meshulam. ‘Ezra opened the scroll where all the people could see him, because he was higher than all the people; when he opened it, all the people rose to their feet. ‘Ezra blessed Adonai, the great God; and all the people answered, “Amen! Amen!” as they lifted up their hands, bowed their heads and fell prostrate before Adonai with their faces to the ground. The L’vi’im Yeshua, Bani, Sherevyah, Yamin, ‘Akuv, Shabtai, Hodiyah, Ma‘aseiyah, K’lita, ‘Azaryah, Yozavad, Hanan and P’layah explained the Torah to the people, while the people remained in their places. They read clearly from the scroll, in the Torah of God, translated it, and enabled them to understand the sense of what was being read.

Nechemyah the Tirshata, ‘Ezra the cohen and Torah-teacher and the L’vi’im who taught the people said to all the people, “Today is consecrated to Adonai your God; don’t be mournful, don’t weep.” For all the people had been weeping when they heard the words of the Torah. 10 Then he said to them, “Go, eat rich food, drink sweet drinks, and send portions to those who can’t provide for themselves; for today is consecrated to our Lord. Don’t be sad, because the joy of Adonai is your strength.” 11 In this way the L’vi’im quieted the people, as they said, “Be quiet, for today is holy; don’t be sad.” 12 Then the people went off to eat, drink, send portions and celebrate; because they had understood the words that had been proclaimed to them.

13 On the second day, the heads of fathers’ clans of all the people assembled with the cohanim and L’vi’im before ‘Ezra the Torah-teacher to study the words of the Torah. 14 They found written in the Torah that Adonai had ordered through Moshe that the people of Isra’el were to live in sukkot during the feast of the seventh month; 15 and that they were to announce and pass the word in all their cities and in Yerushalayim, “Go out to the mountains, and collect branches of olives, wild olives, myrtles, palms, and other leafy trees to make sukkot, as prescribed.” 16 So the people went out, brought them and made sukkot for themselves, each one on the roof of his house, also in their courtyards, in the courtyards of the house of God, in the open space by the Water Gate and in the open space by the Efrayim Gate. 17 The entire community of those who had returned from the exile made sukkot and lived in the sukkot, for the people of Isra’el had not done this since the days of Yeshua the son of Nun. So there was very great joy. 18 Also they read every day, from the first day until the last day, in the scroll of the Torah of God. They kept the feast for seven days; then on the eighth day there was a solemn assembly, according to the rule.

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