Nehemiah 8 Expanded Bible (EXB)
Ezra Reads the Teachings
8 All the people of Israel ·gathered [assembled] ·together [L like one man/person] in the square ·by [in front of] the Water Gate. They asked Ezra the ·teacher [scribe] to bring out the ·Book [scroll] of the ·Teachings [Law; L Torah] of Moses, which the Lord had ·given to [commanded/prescribed for] Israel.
2 So on the first day of the seventh month [C October 8], Ezra the priest brought out the ·Teachings [Laws; Instructions; L Torah] for the ·crowd [assembly]. Men, women, and all who could ·listen and understand [understand what they heard; C presumably older children] had ·gathered [assembled]. 3 At the square by the Water Gate Ezra read the ·Teachings [Laws; Instructions; L Torah] out loud from early morning until noon to the men, women, and everyone who could ·listen and understand [understand what they heard; C presumably older children]. All the people listened ·carefully [attentively; eagerly] to the ·Book [scroll] of the ·Teachings [Laws; Instructions; L Torah].
4 Ezra the ·teacher [scribe] stood on a high ·wooden platform [dais; L tower of wood; 2 Chr. 6:13] that had been built just for this ·time [occasion; purpose]. On his right were Mattithiah, Shema, Anaiah, Uriah, Hilkiah, and Maaseiah. And on his left were Pedaiah, Mishael, Malkijah, Hashum, Hashbaddanah, Zechariah, and Meshullam.
5 Ezra opened the ·book [scroll] ·in full view [L to the eyes] of everyone, because he was above them. As he opened it, all the people stood up [C a sign of respect; Judg. 3:20; Job 29:8; Ezek. 2:1]. 6 Ezra ·praised [blessed] the Lord, the great God, and all the people ·held up [lifted] their hands [Ezra 9:5; Ps. 28:2; 134:2] and said, “Amen! Amen!” Then they bowed ·down [low] and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground.
7 These Levites ·explained [instructed regarding; 2 Chr. 17:7–9] the ·Teachings [Laws; Instructions; L Torah] to the people as they ·stood there [remained in place]: Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodiah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, and Pelaiah. 8 They read from the ·Book [scroll] of the ·Teachings [Laws; Instructions; L Torah] of God and ·explained [clarified; or translated] what it meant so the people understood what was being read.
9 Then Nehemiah the governor, Ezra the priest and ·teacher [scribe], and the Levites who were ·teaching [instructing; interpreting] said to all the people, “This is a ·holy [sacred] day to the Lord your God. Don’t ·be sad [mourn] or ·cry [weep].” All the people had been ·crying [weeping] as they listened to the words of the ·Teachings [Laws; Instructions; L Torah].
10 Nehemiah said, “Go and ·enjoy good food [L eat of the fat] and sweet drinks [Lev. 3; 2 Sam. 6:19; 1 Chr. 12:40–41; 29:22; 2 Chr. 7:8–10; 30:21–26]. Send ·some [portions] to people who have ·none [nothing prepared], because today is a ·holy [sacred] day to the Lord. Don’t ·be sad [grieve; mourn], because the joy of the Lord ·will make you strong [is your strength].”
11 The Levites helped calm the people, saying, “Be ·quiet [still], because this is a ·holy [sacred] day. Don’t ·be sad [grieve; mourn].”
12 Then all the people went away to eat and drink, to ·send some of their food to others [share; send portions], and to ·celebrate with [L make] great joy. They finally understood ·what they had been taught [the words/matters that had been made known to them].
13 On the second day of the month [October 9, 445 bc], the ·leaders [heads] of all the families, the priests, and the Levites met with Ezra the ·teacher [scribe]. They ·gathered [assembled] to ·study [consider; gain insight into] the words of the ·Teachings [Laws; Instructions; L Torah]. 14 This is what they found written in the ·Teachings [Laws; Instructions; L Torah]: The Lord commanded through Moses that the people of Israel were to live in ·shelters [T booths; C temporary dwellings; Ex. 23:33; Deut. 16:13–15] during the feast of the seventh month. 15 The people ·were supposed to [should] ·preach this message [make/issue a proclamation] and ·spread [disseminate] it through all their towns and in Jerusalem: “Go out into the ·mountains [hills], and bring back branches from olive and wild olive trees, myrtle trees, palms, and ·shade [other leafy] trees. Make ·shelters [booths] with them, as it is written [C prescribed in the Law of Moses].”
16 So the people went out and got tree branches. They built ·shelters [T booths] on their roofs [C roofs were living space], in their courtyards, in the courtyards of the ·Temple [L house] of God, in the square by the Water Gate, and in the square next to the Gate of Ephraim. 17 The whole ·group [assembly] that had come back from ·captivity [exile] built ·shelters [T booths] and lived in them. The Israelites had not done this since the ·time [days] of Joshua son of Nun. And ·they were very happy [there was great rejoicing].
18 Ezra read to them every day from the ·Book [scroll] of the ·Teachings [Laws; Instructions; L Torah] of God, from the first day to the last [C of the festival]. The people of Israel celebrated the feast for seven days, and then on the eighth day the people ·gathered [held a solemn assembly] ·as the law said [L according to the judgment].
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