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New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update

Nehemiah 8–13

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Chapter 8

Ezra Reads the Law

1 And all the people gathered as one man at the square which was in front of athe Water Gate, and they 1asked bEzra the scribe to bring cthe book of the law of Moses which the Lord had 2given to Israel. 2 Then aEzra the priest brought the law before the assembly of men, women and all who could listen with understanding, on bthe first day of the seventh month. 3 He read from it before the square which was in front of athe Water Gate from 1early morning until midday, in the presence of men and women, those who could understand; and all the people were attentive to the book of the law. 4 Ezra the scribe stood at a wooden podium which they had made for the purpose. And beside him stood Mattithiah, Shema, Anaiah, Uriah, Hilkiah, and Maaseiah on his right hand; and Pedaiah, Mishael, Malchijah, Hashum, Hashbaddanah, Zechariah and Meshullam on his left hand. 5 Ezra opened athe book in the sight of all the people for he was standing above all the people; and when he opened it, all the people bstood up. 6 Then Ezra blessed the Lord the great God. And all the people answered, “aAmen, Amen!” while lifting up their hands; then bthey bowed low and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground. 7 Also Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodiah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, the Levites, explained the law to the people while the people remained in their place. 8 They read from the book, from the law of God, 1translating to give the sense so that they understood the reading.

“This Day Is Holy”

9 Then Nehemiah, who was the 1agovernor, and Ezra bthe priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, “cThis day is holy to the Lord your God; ddo not mourn or weep.” For all the people were weeping when they heard the words of the law. 10 Then he said to them, “Go, eat of the fat, drink of the sweet, and asend portions to him who has nothing prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” 11 So the Levites calmed all the people, saying, “Be still, for the day is holy; do not be grieved.” 12 All the people went away to eat, to drink, ato send portions and to 1celebrate a great festival, bbecause they understood the words which had been made known to them.

Feast of Booths Restored

13 Then on the second day the heads of fathers’ households of all the people, the priests and the Levites were gathered to Ezra the scribe that they might gain insight into the words of the law. 14 They found written in the law how the Lord had commanded through Moses that the sons of Israel ashould live in booths during the feast of the seventh month. 15 1aSo they proclaimed and circulated a proclamation in all their cities and bin Jerusalem, saying, “cGo out to the hills, and bring olive branches and 2wild olive branches, myrtle branches, palm branches and branches of other leafy trees, to make booths, as it is written.” 16 So the people went out and brought them and made booths for themselves, each aon his roof, and in their courts and in the courts of the house of God, and in the square at bthe Water Gate and in the square at cthe Gate of Ephraim. 17 The entire assembly of those who had returned from the captivity made booths and lived in 1them. The sons of Israel ahad indeed not done so from the days of Joshua the son of Nun to that day. And bthere was great rejoicing. 18 aHe read from the book of the law of God daily, from the first day to the last day. And they bcelebrated the feast seven days, and on cthe eighth day there was a solemn assembly according to the ordinance.

Chapter 9

The People Confess Their Sin

1 Now on the twenty-fourth day of athis month the sons of Israel assembled bwith fasting, in sackcloth and with cdirt upon them. 2 The 1adescendants of Israel separated themselves from all foreigners, and stood and bconfessed their sins and the iniquities of their fathers. 3 While athey stood in their place, they read from the book of the law of the Lord their God for a fourth of the day; and for another fourth they confessed and worshiped the Lord their God. 4 aNow on the Levites’ platform stood Jeshua, Bani, Kadmiel, Shebaniah, Bunni, Sherebiah, Bani and Chenani, and they cried with a loud voice to the Lord their God.

5 Then the Levites, Jeshua, Kadmiel, Bani, Hashabneiah, Sherebiah, Hodiah, Shebaniah and Pethahiah, said, “Arise, bless the Lord your God forever and ever!

O may Your glorious name be blessed

And exalted above all blessing and praise!

6 aYou alone are the Lord.

bYou have made the heavens,

The heaven of heavens with all their host,

The earth and all that is on it,

The seas and all that is in them.

cYou give life to all of them

And the heavenly host bows down before You.

7 “You are the Lord God,

aWho chose Abram

And brought him out from bUr of the Chaldees,

And cgave him the name Abraham.

8 “You found ahis heart faithful before You,

And made a covenant with him

To give him the land of the Canaanite,

Of the Hittite and the Amorite,

Of the Perizzite, the Jebusite and the Girgashite—

To give it to his 1descendants.

And You bhave fulfilled Your promise,

For You are righteous.

9 aYou saw the affliction of our fathers in Egypt,

And bheard their cry by the 1Red Sea.

10 “Then You performed asigns and wonders against Pharaoh,

Against all his servants and all the people of his land;

For You knew that bthey acted arrogantly toward them,

And cmade a name for Yourself as it is this day.

11 aYou divided the sea before them,

So they passed through the midst of the sea on dry ground;

And btheir pursuers You hurled into the depths,

Like a stone into 1raging waters.

12 “And with a pillar of cloud aYou led them by day,

And with a pillar of fire by night

To light for them the way

In which they were to go.

13 “Then aYou came down on Mount Sinai,

And bspoke with them from heaven;

You gave them cjust ordinances and true laws,

Good statutes and commandments.

14 “So You made known to them aYour holy sabbath,

And laid down for them commandments, statutes and law,

Through Your servant Moses.

15 “You aprovided bread from heaven for them for their hunger,

You bbrought forth water from a rock for them for their thirst,

And You ctold them to enter in order to possess

The land which You 1swore to give them.

16 “But they, our fathers, aacted arrogantly;

They 1bbecame stubborn and would not listen to Your commandments.

17 “They refused to listen,

And adid not remember Your wondrous deeds which You had performed among them;

So they became stubborn and bappointed a leader to return to their slavery 1in Egypt.

But You are a God cof forgiveness,

Gracious and compassionate,

Slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness;

And You did not forsake them.

18 “Even when they amade for themselves

A calf of molten metal

And said, ‘This is your God

Who brought you up from Egypt,’

And committed great 1blasphemies,

19 aYou, in Your great compassion,

Did not forsake them in the wilderness;

bThe pillar of cloud did not leave them by day,

To guide them on their way,

Nor the pillar of fire by night, to light for them the way in which they were to go.

20 aYou gave Your good Spirit to instruct them,

Your manna You did not withhold from their mouth,

And You gave them water for their thirst.

21 “Indeed, aforty years You provided for them in the wilderness and they were not in want;

Their clothes did not wear out, nor did their feet swell.

22 “You also gave them kingdoms and peoples,

And allotted them to them as a 1boundary.

aThey took possession of the land of Sihon 2the king of Heshbon

And the land of Og the king of Bashan.

23 “You made their sons numerous as athe stars of heaven,

And You brought them into the land

Which You had told their fathers to enter and possess.

24 aSo their sons entered and possessed the land.

And bYou subdued before them the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites,

And You gave them into their hand, with their kings and the peoples of the land,

To do with them 1as they desired.

25 aThey captured fortified cities and a 1bfertile land.

They took possession of chouses full of every good thing,

Hewn cisterns, vineyards, olive groves,

Fruit trees in abundance.

So they ate, were filled and dgrew fat,

And ereveled in Your great goodness.

26 aBut they became disobedient and rebelled against You,

And bcast Your law behind their backs

And ckilled Your prophets who had dadmonished them

So that they might return to You,

And ethey committed great 1blasphemies.

27 “Therefore You adelivered them into the hand of their oppressors who oppressed them,

But when they cried to You bin the time of their distress,

You heard from heaven, and according to Your great compassion

You cgave them deliverers who delivered them from the hand of their oppressors.

28 “But aas soon as they had rest, they did evil again before You;

Therefore You abandoned them to the hand of their enemies, so that they ruled over them.

When they cried again to You, You heard from heaven,

And bmany times You rescued them according to Your compassion,

29 And aadmonished them in order to turn them back to Your law.

Yet bthey acted arrogantly and did not listen to Your commandments but sinned against Your ordinances,

By cwhich if a man observes them he shall live.

And they 1dturned a stubborn shoulder and stiffened their neck, and would not listen.

30 aHowever, You bore with them for many years,

And badmonished them by cYour Spirit through Your prophets,

Yet they would not give ear.

Therefore You gave them into the hand of the peoples of the lands.

31 “Nevertheless, in Your great compassion You adid not make an end of them or forsake them,

For You are ba gracious and compassionate God.

32 “Now therefore, our God, athe great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who keeps covenant and lovingkindness,

Do not let all the hardship seem insignificant before You,

Which has come upon us, our kings, our princes, our priests, our prophets, our fathers and on all Your people,

bFrom the days of the kings of Assyria to this day.

33 “However, aYou are just in all that has come upon us;

For You …

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a
1

Lit said to

b
c
2

Lit commanded

a
b
a
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Lit the light

a
b
a
b
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Or explaining

1

Heb Tirshatha, a Persian title

a
b
c
d
a
a
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Lit make a great rejoicing

b
a
1

Lit And that they will cause to be heard

a
b
c
2

Lit oil tree, species unknown

a
b
c
1

Lit the booths

a
b
a
b
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a
b
c
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Lit seed

a
b
a
a
a
b
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a
b
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Lit seed

b
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Lit Sea of Reeds

a
b
c
a
b
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Lit strong, mighty

a
a
b
c
a
a
b
c
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Lit lifted up Your hand

a
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Lit stiffened their neck; so also v 17

b
a
b
1

So Gr and some Heb mss; Heb reads in their rebellion

c
a
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Lit acts of contempt

a
b
a
a
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Lit side, corner

a
2

So the Gr and the Latin; Heb reads and the land of the king of Heshbon

a
a
b
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Lit according to their desire

a
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Lit fat

b
c
d
e
a
b
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Lit acts of contempt

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b
c
a
b
a
b
c
1

Lit gave

d
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c
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b
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b
a