Nehemiah 8International Children’s Bible (ICB)
8 All the people of Israel gathered together in the square by the Water Gate. They asked Ezra the teacher to bring out the Book of the Teachings of Moses. These are the Teachings the Lord had given to Israel.
2 So Ezra the priest brought out the Teachings for the crowd. This was on the first day of the seventh month. Men, women and all who could listen and understand had gathered. 3 Ezra read the Teachings out loud. He read from early morning until noon. He was facing the square by the Water Gate. He read to the men, women and everyone who could listen and understand. All the people listened carefully to the Book of the Teachings.
4 Ezra the teacher stood on a high wooden platform. It had been built just for this time. 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. All the people could see him because he was above them. As he opened it, all the people stood up. 6 Ezra praised the Lord, the great God. And all the people held up their hands and said, “Amen! Amen!” Then they bowed down and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground.
7 These Levites taught the people the Teachings as they stood there: Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodiah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan and Pelaiah. 8 They read the Book of the Teachings of God. They read so the people could understand. And they explained what it meant. Then the people understood what was being read.
9 Then Nehemiah the governor and Ezra the priest and teacher spoke up. And the Levites who were teaching spoke up. They said to all the people, “This is a holy day to the Lord your God. Don’t be sad or cry.” All the people had been crying as they listened to the words of the Teachings.
10 Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy good food and sweet drinks. Send some to people who have none. Today is a holy day to the Lord. Don’t be sad. The joy of the Lord will make you strong.”
11 The Levites helped calm the people. They said, “Be quiet. This is a holy day. Don’t be sad.”
12 Then all the people went away to eat and drink. They sent some of their food to others. And they celebrated with great joy. They finally understood what they had been taught.
13 On the second day of the month, the leaders of all the families met with Ezra the teacher. The priests and Levites also met with him. They gathered to study the words of the Teachings. 14 This is what they found written in the Teachings: The Lord had commanded through Moses that the people of Israel were to live in shelters. This was during the feast of the seventh month. 15 The people were supposed to preach this message. They were to spread it through all of their towns and in Jerusalem: “Go out into the mountains. Bring back branches from olive and wild olive trees, myrtle trees, palms and shade trees. Make shelters with them. It is written in the Law.”
16 So the people went out and got tree branches. They built shelters on their roofs[a] and in their courtyards. They built shelters in the courtyards of the Temple. And they built them in the square by the Water Gate and the square next to the Gate of Ephraim. 17 The whole group that had come back from captivity built shelters. And they lived in them. The Israelites had not done this since the time of Joshua son of Nun. And they were very happy.
18 Ezra read to them from the Book of the Teachings. He read every day, from the first day to the last. The people of Israel celebrated the feast for seven days. Then on the eighth day the people gathered as the law said.
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