Ezra Reads and Explains the Law

Now all (A)the people gathered together as one man in the open square that was (B)in front of the Water Gate; and they told Ezra the (C)scribe to bring the Book of the Law of Moses, which the Lord had commanded Israel. So Ezra the priest brought (D)the Law before the assembly of men and women and all who could hear with understanding (E)on the first day of the seventh month. Then he (F)read from it in the open square that was in front of the Water Gate [a]from morning until midday, before the men and women and those who could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive to the Book of the Law.

So Ezra the scribe stood on a platform of wood which they had made for the purpose; and beside him, at his right hand, stood Mattithiah, Shema, Anaiah, Urijah, Hilkiah, and Maaseiah; and at his left hand Pedaiah, Mishael, Malchijah, Hashum, Hashbadana, Zechariah, and Meshullam. And Ezra opened 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 (G)stood up. And Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God.

Then all the people (H)answered, “Amen, Amen!” while (I)lifting up their hands. And they (J)bowed their heads and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground.

Also Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodijah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, and the Levites, (K)helped the people to understand the Law; and the people (L)stood in their place. So they read distinctly from the book, in the Law of God; and they gave the sense, and helped them to understand the reading.

(M)And Nehemiah, who was the [b]governor, Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, (N)“This day is holy to the Lord your God; (O)do not mourn nor weep.” For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the Law.

10 Then he said to them, “Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, (P)and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

11 So the Levites quieted all the people, saying, “Be still, for the day is holy; do not be grieved.” 12 And all the people went their way to eat and drink, to (Q)send portions and rejoice greatly, because they (R)understood the words that were declared to them.

The Feast of Tabernacles(S)

13 Now on the second day the heads of the fathers’ houses of all the people, with the priests and Levites, were gathered to Ezra the scribe, in order to understand the words of the Law. 14 And they found written in the Law, which the Lord had commanded by Moses, that the children of Israel should dwell in (T)booths[c] during the feast of the seventh month, 15 and (U)that they should announce and proclaim in all their cities and (V)in Jerusalem, saying, “Go out to the mountain, and (W)bring olive branches, branches of oil trees, myrtle branches, palm branches, and branches of leafy trees, to make booths, as it is written.”

16 Then the people went out and brought them and made themselves booths, each one on the (X)roof of his house, or in their courtyards or the courts of the house of God, and in the open square of the (Y)Water Gate (Z)and in the open square of the Gate of Ephraim. 17 So the whole assembly of those who had returned from the captivity made [d]booths and sat under the booths; for since the days of Joshua the son of Nun until that day the children of Israel had not done so. And there was very (AA)great gladness. 18 Also (AB)day by day, from the first day until the last day, he read from the Book of the Law of God. And they kept the feast (AC)seven days; and on the (AD)eighth day there was a sacred assembly, according to the prescribed manner.

The People Confess Their Sins

Now on the twenty-fourth day of (AE)this month the children of Israel were assembled with fasting, in sackcloth, (AF)and with [e]dust on their heads. Then (AG)those of Israelite lineage separated themselves from all foreigners; and they stood and (AH)confessed their sins and the iniquities of their fathers. And they stood up in their place and (AI)read from the Book of the Law of the Lord their God for one-fourth of the day; and for another fourth they confessed and worshiped the Lord their God.

Then Jeshua, Bani, Kadmiel, Shebaniah, Bunni, Sherebiah, Bani, and Chenani stood on the [f]stairs of the Levites and cried out with a loud voice to the Lord their God. And the Levites, Jeshua, Kadmiel, Bani, Hashabniah, Sherebiah, Hodijah, Shebaniah, and Pethahiah, said:

“Stand up and bless the Lord your God
Forever and ever!

“Blessed be (AJ)Your glorious name,
Which is exalted above all blessing and praise!
(AK)You alone are the Lord;
(AL)You have made heaven,
(AM)The heaven of heavens, with (AN)all their host,
The earth and everything on it,
The seas and all that is in them,
And You (AO)preserve them all.
The host of heaven worships You.

“You are the Lord God,
Who chose (AP)Abram,
And brought him out of Ur of the Chaldeans,
And gave him the name (AQ)Abraham;
You found his heart (AR)faithful before You,
And made a (AS)covenant with him
To give the land of the Canaanites,
The Hittites, the Amorites,
The Perizzites, the Jebusites,
And the Girgashites—
To give it to his descendants.
You (AT)have performed Your words,
For You are righteous.

“You(AU) saw the affliction of our fathers in Egypt,
And (AV)heard their cry by the Red Sea.
10 You (AW)showed signs and wonders against Pharaoh,
Against all his servants,
And against all the people of his land.
For You knew that they (AX)acted [g]proudly against them.
So You (AY)made a name for Yourself, as it is this day.
11 (AZ)And You divided the sea before them,
So that they went through the midst of the sea on the dry land;
And their persecutors You threw into the deep,
(BA)As a stone into the mighty waters.
12 Moreover You (BB)led them by day with a cloudy pillar,
And by night with a pillar of fire,
To give them light on the road
Which they should travel.

13 “You(BC) came down also on Mount Sinai,
And spoke with them from heaven,
And gave them (BD)just ordinances and true laws,
Good statutes and commandments.
14 You made known to them Your (BE)holy Sabbath,
And commanded them precepts, statutes and laws,
By the hand of Moses Your servant.
15 You (BF)gave them bread from heaven for their hunger,
And (BG)brought them water out of the rock for their thirst,
And told them to (BH)go in to possess the land
Which You had [h]sworn to give them.

16 “But(BI) they and our fathers acted [i]proudly,
(BJ)Hardened[j] their necks,
And did not heed Your commandments.
17 They refused to obey,
And (BK)they were not mindful of Your wonders
That You did among them.
But they hardened their necks,
And [k]in their rebellion
They appointed (BL)a leader
To return to their bondage.
But You are God,
Ready to pardon,
(BM)Gracious and merciful,
Slow to anger,
Abundant in kindness,
And did not forsake them.

18 “Even (BN)when they made a molded calf for themselves,
And said, ‘This is your god
That brought you up out of Egypt,’
And worked great provocations,
19 Yet in Your (BO)manifold mercies
You did not forsake them in the wilderness.
The (BP)pillar of the cloud did not depart from them by day,
To lead them on the road;
Nor the pillar of fire by night,
To show them light,
And the way they should go.
20 You also gave Your (BQ)good Spirit to instruct them,
And did not withhold Your (BR)manna from their mouth,
And gave them (BS)water for their thirst.
21 (BT)Forty years You sustained them in the wilderness;
They lacked nothing;
Their (BU)clothes did not wear out
And their feet did not swell.

22 “Moreover You gave them kingdoms and nations,
And divided them into [l]districts.
So they took possession of the land of (BV)Sihon,
[m]The land of the king of Heshbon,
And the land of Og king of Bashan.
23 You also multiplied (BW)their children as the stars of heaven,
And brought them into the land
Which You had told their fathers
To go in and possess.
24 So (BX)the [n]people went in
And possessed the land;
(BY)You subdued before them the inhabitants of the land,
The Canaanites,
And gave them into their hands,
With their kings
And the people of the land,
That they might do with them as they wished.
25 And they took strong cities and a (BZ)rich land,
And possessed (CA)houses full of all goods,
Cisterns already dug, vineyards, olive groves,
And [o]fruit trees in abundance.
So they ate and were filled and (CB)grew fat,
And delighted themselves in Your great (CC)goodness.

26 “Nevertheless they (CD)were disobedient
And rebelled against You,
(CE)Cast Your law behind their backs
And killed Your (CF)prophets, who [p]testified against them
To turn them to Yourself;
And they worked great provocations.
27 (CG)Therefore You delivered them into the hand of their enemies,
Who oppressed them;
And in the time of their trouble,
When they cried to You,
You (CH)heard from heaven;
And according to Your abundant mercies
(CI)You gave them deliverers who saved them
From the hand of their enemies.

28 “But after they had rest,
(CJ)They again did evil before You.
Therefore You left them in the hand of their enemies,
So that they had dominion over them;
Yet when they returned and cried out to You,
You heard from heaven;
And (CK)many times You delivered them according to Your mercies,
29 And [q]testified against them,
That You might bring them back to Your law.
Yet they acted [r]proudly,
And did not heed Your commandments,
But sinned against Your judgments,
(CL)‘Which if a man does, he shall live by them.’
And they shrugged their shoulders,
[s]Stiffened their necks,
And would not hear.
30 Yet for many years You had patience with them,
And [t]testified (CM)against them by Your Spirit (CN)in Your prophets.
Yet they would not listen;
(CO)Therefore You gave them into the hand of the peoples of the lands.
31 Nevertheless in Your great mercy
(CP)You did not utterly consume them nor forsake them;
For You are God, gracious and merciful.

32 “Now therefore, our God,
The great, the (CQ)mighty, and awesome God,
Who keeps covenant and mercy:
Do not let all the [u]trouble seem small before You
That has come upon us,
Our kings and our princes,
Our priests and our prophets,
Our fathers and on all Your people,
(CR)From the days of the kings of Assyria until this day.
33 However (CS)You are just in all that has befallen us;
For You have dealt faithfully,
But (CT)we have done wickedly.
34 Neither our kings nor our princes,
Our priests nor our fathers,
Have kept Your law,
Nor heeded Your commandments and Your testimonies,
With which You testified against them.
35 For they have (CU)not served You in their kingdom,
Or in the many good things that You gave them,
Or in the large and rich land which You set before them;
Nor did they turn from their wicked works.

36 “Here (CV)we are, servants today!
And the land that You gave to our fathers,
To eat its fruit and its bounty,
Here we are, servants in it!
37 And (CW)it yields much increase to the kings
You have set over us,
Because of our sins;
Also they have (CX)dominion over our bodies and our cattle
At their pleasure;
And we are in great distress.

38 “And because of all this,
We (CY)make a sure covenant and write it;
Our leaders, our Levites, and our priests (CZ)seal it.

The People Who Sealed the Covenant

10 Now those who placed their seal on the document were:

Nehemiah the [v]governor, (DA)the son of Hacaliah, and Zedekiah, (DB)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.

The Levites: Jeshua the son of Azaniah, Binnui of the sons of Henadad, and Kadmiel.

10 Their brethren: Shebaniah, Hodijah, Kelita, Pelaiah, Hanan, 11 Micha, Rehob, Hashabiah, 12 Zaccur, Sherebiah, Shebaniah, 13 Hodijah, Bani, and Beninu.

14 The leaders of the people: (DC)Parosh, Pahath-Moab, Elam, Zattu, Bani, 15 Bunni, Azgad, Bebai, 16 Adonijah, Bigvai, Adin, 17 Ater, Hezekiah, Azzur, 18 Hodijah, 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 Ahijah, Hanan, Anan, 27 Malluch, Harim, and Baanah.

The Covenant That Was Sealed

28 (DD)Now the rest of the people—the priests, the Levites, the gatekeepers, the singers, the Nethinim, (DE)and all those who had separated themselves from the peoples of the lands to the Law of God, their wives, their sons, and their daughters, everyone who had knowledge and understanding— 29 these joined with their brethren, their nobles, (DF)and entered into a curse and an oath (DG)to walk in God’s Law, which was given by Moses the servant of God, and to observe and do all the commandments of the Lord our Lord, and His ordinances and His statutes: 30 We would not give (DH)our daughters as wives to the peoples of the land, nor take their daughters for our sons; 31 (DI)if the peoples of the land brought [w]wares or any grain to sell on the Sabbath day, we would not buy it from them on the Sabbath, or on a holy day; and we would forego the (DJ)seventh year’s produce and the (DK)exacting[x] of every debt.

32 Also we made ordinances for ourselves, to exact from ourselves yearly (DL)one-third of a shekel for the service of the house of our God: 33 for (DM)the showbread, for the regular grain offering, for the (DN)regular burnt offering of the Sabbaths, the New Moons, and the set feasts; for the holy things, for the sin offerings to make atonement for Israel, and all the work of the house of our God. 34 We cast lots among the priests, the Levites, and the people, (DO)for bringing the wood offering into the house of our God, according to our fathers’ houses, at the appointed times year by year, to burn on the altar of the Lord our God (DP)as it is written in the Law.

35 And we made ordinances (DQ)to bring the firstfruits of our ground and the firstfruits of all fruit of all trees, year by year, to the house of the Lord; 36 to bring the (DR)firstborn of our sons and our cattle, as it is written in the Law, and the firstborn of our herds and our flocks, to the house of our God, to the priests who minister in the house of our God; 37 (DS)to bring the firstfruits of our dough, our offerings, the fruit from all kinds of trees, the new wine and oil, to the priests, to the storerooms of the [y]house of our God; and to bring (DT)the tithes of our land to the Levites, for the Levites should receive the tithes in all our farming communities. 38 And the priest, the descendant of Aaron, shall be with the Levites (DU)when the Levites receive tithes; and the Levites shall bring up a tenth of the tithes to the house of our God, to (DV)the rooms of the storehouse.

39 For the children of Israel and the children of Levi (DW)shall bring the offering of the grain, of the new wine and the oil, to the storerooms where the articles of the sanctuary are, where the priests who minister and the gatekeepers (DX)and the singers are; and we will not (DY)neglect the house of our God.


  1. Nehemiah 8:3 Lit. from the light
  2. Nehemiah 8:9 Heb. Tirshatha
  3. Nehemiah 8:14 Temporary shelters
  4. Nehemiah 8:17 Temporary shelters
  5. Nehemiah 9:1 Lit. earth on them
  6. Nehemiah 9:4 Lit. ascent
  7. Nehemiah 9:10 presumptuously or insolently
  8. Nehemiah 9:15 Lit. raised Your hand to
  9. Nehemiah 9:16 presumptuously
  10. Nehemiah 9:16 Stiffened their necks, became stubborn
  11. Nehemiah 9:17 So with MT, Vg.; LXX in Egypt
  12. Nehemiah 9:22 Lit. corners
  13. Nehemiah 9:22 So with MT, Vg.; LXX omits The land of
  14. Nehemiah 9:24 Lit. sons
  15. Nehemiah 9:25 Lit. trees for eating
  16. Nehemiah 9:26 admonished or warned them
  17. Nehemiah 9:29 admonished them
  18. Nehemiah 9:29 presumptuously
  19. Nehemiah 9:29 Became stubborn
  20. Nehemiah 9:30 admonished or warned them
  21. Nehemiah 9:32 hardship
  22. Nehemiah 10:1 Heb. Tirshatha
  23. Nehemiah 10:31 merchandise
  24. Nehemiah 10:31 collection
  25. Nehemiah 10:37 Temple

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