1all of them gathered together. They went to the open area in front of the Water Gate. They told Ezra to bring out the Scroll of the Law of Moses. The Lord had given Israel that law so they would obey him. Ezra was a teacher of the law.2The priest Ezra brought the Law out to the whole community. It was the first day of the seventh month. The group was made up of men and women and everyone who was old enough to understand what Ezra was going to read.3He read the Law to them from sunrise until noon. He did it as he faced the open area in front of the Water Gate. He read it to the men, women and others who could understand. And all of the people paid careful attention as Ezra was reading the Scroll of the Law.4Ezra, the teacher, stood on a high wooden stage. It had been built for the occasion. Mattithiah, Shema and Anaiah stood at his right side. So did Uriah, Hilkiah and Maaseiah. Pedaiah, Mishael and Malkijah stood at his left side. So did Hashum, Hashbaddanah, Zechariah and Meshullam.5Ezra opened the scroll. All of the people could see him. That's because he was standing above them. As he opened the scroll, the people stood up.6Ezra praised the Lord. He is the great God. All of the people lifted up their hands. They said, “Amen! Amen!” Then they bowed down. They turned their faces toward the ground. And they worshiped the Lord.7The Levites taught the Law to the people. They remained standing while the Levites taught them. The Levites who were there included Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai and Hodiah. They also included Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan and Pelaiah.8All of those Levites read parts of the Scroll of the Law of God to the people. They made it clear to them. They told them what it meant. So the people were able to understand what was being read.9Then Nehemiah and Ezra spoke up. So did the Levites who were teaching the people. All of those men said to the people, “This day is set apart to honor the Lord your God. So don't sob. Don't be sad.” All of the people had been sobbing as they listened to the words of the Law. Nehemiah was governor. Ezra was a priest and a teacher of the law.10Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy some good food and sweet drinks. Send some of it to those who don't have any. This day is set apart to honor our Lord. So don't be sad. The joy of the Lord makes you strong.”11The Levites calmed all of the people down. They said, “Be quiet. This is a sacred day. So don't be sad.”12Then all of the people went away to eat and drink. They shared their food with others. They celebrated with great joy. Now they understood the words they had heard. That's because everything had been explained to them.13All of the family leaders gathered around Ezra, the teacher. So did the priests and Levites. All of them paid attention to the words of the Law. It was the second day of the month.14The Lord had given the Law through Moses. He wanted the people of Israel to obey it. It is written there that they were supposed to live in booths during the Feast of Booths. That Feast was celebrated in the seventh month.15They were also supposed to spread the message all through their towns and in Jerusalem. They were supposed to announce, “Go out into the central hill country. Bring back some branches from olive and wild olive trees. Also bring some from myrtle, palm and shade trees. Use the branches to make booths.”16So the people went out and brought some branches back. They built themselves booths on their own roofs. They made them in their courtyards. They put them up in the courtyards of the house of God. They built them in the open area in front of the Water Gate. And they built them in the open area in front of the Gate of Ephraim.17All those who had returned from Babylonia made booths. They lived in them during the Feast of Booths. They hadn't celebrated the Feast with so much joy for a long time. In fact, they had never celebrated it like that from the days of Joshua, the son of Nun, until that very day. So their joy was very great.18Day after day, Ezra read parts of the Scroll of the Law of God to them. He read it out loud from the first day to the last. They celebrated the Feast of Booths for seven days. On the eighth day they gathered together. They followed the required rules for celebrating the Feast.
English Standard Version
Ezra Reads the Law
1And all the people gathered as one man into the square before the Water Gate. And they told Ezra the scribe to bring the Book of the Law of Moses that the Lord had commanded Israel. (Ezr 7:6; Ne 3:26)2So Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly, both men and women and all who could understand what they heard, on the first day of the seventh month. (Le 23:24; De 31:11)3And he read from it facing the square before the Water Gate from early morning until midday, in the presence of the men and the women and those who could understand. And the ears of all the people were attentive to the Book of the Law. (Ne 13:1)4And Ezra the scribe stood on a wooden platform that 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.5And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people, for he was above all the people, and as he opened it all the people stood.6And Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God, and all the people answered, “Amen, Amen,” lifting up their hands. And they bowed their heads and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground. (2Ch 20:18; Ne 5:13; Ps 134:2; La 3:41; 1Ti 2:8)7Also Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodiah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, the Levites, helped the people to understand the Law, while the people remained in their places. (2Ch 35:3; Ne 9:3; Ne 9:4)8They read from the book, from the Law of God, clearly, and they gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading.
This Day Is Holy
9And Nehemiah, who was the governor, and Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, “This day is holy to the Lord your God; do not mourn or weep.” For all the people wept as they heard the words of the Law. (Le 23:24; Nu 29:1; Ezr 2:63; Ne 7:65; Ne 7:70; Ne 8:2; Ne 10:1; Ne 12:26; Ec 3:4)10Then he said to them, “Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” (Es 9:19; Es 9:22)11So the Levites calmed all the people, saying, “Be quiet, for this day is holy; do not be grieved.”12And all the people went their way to eat and drink and to send portions and to make great rejoicing, because they had understood the words that were declared to them. (Ne 8:7)
Feast of Booths Celebrated
13On the second day the heads of fathers’ houses of all the people, with the priests and the Levites, came together to Ezra the scribe in order to study the words of the Law.14And they found it written in the Law that the Lord had commanded by Moses that the people of Israel should dwell in booths during the feast of the seventh month, (Le 23:34; Le 23:40; Le 23:42)15and that they should proclaim it and publish it in all their towns and in Jerusalem, “Go out to the hills and bring branches of olive, wild olive, myrtle, palm, and other leafy trees to make booths, as it is written.” (Le 23:4; Le 23:40; De 16:16)16So the people went out and brought them and made booths for themselves, each on his roof, and in their courts and in the courts of the house of God, and in the square at the Water Gate and in the square at the Gate of Ephraim. (1Sa 9:25; 2Ki 14:13; 2Ch 25:23; Ne 3:26; Ne 8:1; Ne 8:3; Ne 12:39)17And all the assembly of those who had returned from the captivity made booths and lived in the booths, for from the days of Jeshua the son of Nun to that day the people of Israel had not done so. And there was very great rejoicing. (1Ki 8:2; 2Ch 7:9; 2Ch 8:13; 2Ch 30:21; Ezr 3:4)18And day by day, from the first day to the last day, he read from the Book of the Law of God. They kept the feast seven days, and on the eighth day there was a solemn assembly, according to the rule. (Le 23:36; Nu 29:35; De 31:10)