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.


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The New American Standard Bible, long considered a favorite study Bible by serious students of the Scriptures, has been completely revised and updated in this new 1995 translation. Preserving the Lockman Foundation's standard of creating a literal translation of the original Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic manuscripts, the 1995 NASB provides a literal translation that is very readable. Formalized language and outdated words and phrases have been replaced with their contemporary counterparts. In short, the 1995 NASB is a Bible translation that is very conducive to word-by-word study and is also able to be read (and understood) by the whole family.


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