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Ezra Reads the Law

Then all the people gathered as one man at the open space in front of the Water Gate. They asked Ezra the writer to bring the book of the Law of Moses which the Lord had given to Israel. And on the first day of the seventh month, Ezra the religious leader brought the Law to the gathering of men, women, and all who were able to understand. He read from it in the open space by the Water Gate from early morning until noon. He read it in front of men and women and those who were able to understand and all the people listened to the book of the Law. Ezra the writer stood on a raised floor of wood which they had made for this reason. Beside him stood Mattithiah, Shema, Anaiah, Uriah, Hilkiah, and Maaseiah, on his right. And Pedaiah, Mishael, Malchijah, Hashum, Hash-baddanah, Zechariah, and Meshullam stood on his left. All the people saw Ezra open the book, for he was standing above all of them. And all the people stood up when he opened it. Then Ezra gave honor and thanks to the Lord the great God. And all the people answered, “Let it be so!” while lifting up their hands. They bowed low with their faces to the ground and worshiped the Lord. Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodiah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, and the Levites, helped the people understand the Law, while the people stayed in their places. They read from the book of the Law of God, telling the meaning of it so that they understood what was read.

Then Nehemiah, who was the ruler, and Ezra the religious leader and writer, and the Levites who taught the people, said to all of them, “This day is holy to the Lord your God. Do not cry or be filled with sorrow.” For all the people were crying when they heard the words of the Law. 10 Ezra said to them, “Go, eat and drink what you enjoy, and give some to him who has nothing ready. For this day is holy to our Lord. Do not be sad for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” 11 So the Levites made all the people quiet, saying, “Be quiet, for this is a holy day. Do not be sad.” 12 And all the people went away to eat and drink, to share what they had, and to show their joy. They understood the words which had been made known to them.

13 On the second day the heads of the family groups of all the people, the religious leaders, and the Levites were gathered to Ezra the writer, that they might better understand the words of the Law. 14 They found written in the Law how the Lord had said through Moses that the sons of Israel should live in tents during the special supper of the seventh month. 15 So they made it known in all their cities and in Jerusalem, saying, “Go out to the hills and bring branches of olive, wild olive, myrtle, palm, and other trees with leaves, to make tents, as it is written.” 16 So the people went out and brought them and made tents for themselves, each on his roof. And they made tents in their open spaces, in the open spaces of the house of God, in the place by the Water Gate, and in the place by the Gate of Ephraim. 17 All the people who had returned from Babylon made tents and lived in them. The sons of Israel had not done so since the days of Joshua the son of Nun. And there was much joy. 18 Every day Ezra read from the book of the Law of God, from the first day to the last day. They held the special supper seven days, and on the eighth day there was a special gathering, as it is written in the Law.