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CHAPTER 8 Nov.20 
Ezra Reads God's Law to the People
All the people gathered themselves together as one man into the broad place that was before the water gate; and they spoke to Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses, which Yahweh had commanded to Israel. 2Ezra the priest brought the law before the assembly, both men and women, and all who could hear with understanding, on the first day of the seventh month. 3He read therein before the broad place that was before the water gate from early morning until noon, in the presence of the men and the women, and of those who could understand. The ears of all the people were attentive to the book of the law. 4Ezra the scribe stood on a pulpit of wood, which they had made for the purpose; and beside him stood Mattithiah, Shema, Anaiah, Uriah, Hilkiah and Maaseiah, on his right hand; and on his left hand, Pedaiah, Mishael, Malchijah, Hashum, Hashbaddanah, Zechariah and Meshullam. 5Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people; for he was above all the people; and when he opened it, all the people stood up. 6Ezra blessed Yahweh, the great God. All the people answered, Amen, Amen, with the lifting up of their hands. They bowed their heads, and worshipped Yahweh with their faces to the ground. 7Also Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodiah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah and the Levites caused the people to understand the law; and the people stayed in their place.8They read in the book, in the law of God, with interpretation; and they gave the sense, so that they understood the reading. 9Nehemiah, who was the governor, and Ezra the priest, the scribe, and the Levites who taught the people, said to all the people, This day is holy to Yahweh your God. Don’t mourn, nor weep. For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the law. 10Then he said to them, Go your way. Eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to him for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Don’t be grieved; for the joy of Yahweh is your strength. 11So the Levites stilled all the people saying, Hold your peace, for the day is holy; neither be grieved. 12All the people went their way to eat and to drink, and to send portions, and to make great joy, because they had understood the words that were declared to them. 
The Feast of Booths
13On the second day were gathered together the heads of fathers’ households of all the people, the priests, and the Levites, to Ezra the scribe, even to give attention to the words of the law. 14They found written in the law, how that Yahweh had commanded by Moses, that the children of Israel should dwell in booths in the feast of the seventh month; 15and that they should publish and proclaim in all their cities, and in Jerusalem saying, Go out to the mountain, and get olive branches, and branches of wild olive, and myrtle branches, and palm branches, and branches of thick trees, to make booths, as it is written. 16So the people went out, and brought them, and made themselves booths, each one on the roof of his house, and in their courts, and in the courts of God’s house, and in the broad place of the water gate, and in the broad place of the gate of Ephraim. 17All the assembly of those who had come again out of the captivity made booths, and lived in the booths; for since the days of Joshua the son of Nun to that day the children of Israel had not done so. There was very great gladness. 18Also day by day, from the first day to the last day, he read in the book of the law of God. They kept the feast seven days; and on the eighth day was a solemn assembly, according to the ordinance.


8:1 As one man- Genuine desire to accept God’s word and repent for failure (:9) is what brings unity amongst His people. 
8:10 Send portions to him for whom nothing is prepared- The receipt of forgiveness from God should lead to our being materially generous to others. Hence Paul urges the Corinthians to be materially generous to their poorer brethren because of God’s grace to them, thus making a play on the fact that the Greek word translated “grace” essentially means a gift. God’s gift of forgiveness to us leads to our giving to others. 
The joy of Yahweh- In the context, this refers to His desire to forgive His people; He actually is joyful in forgiving us, as we should be in our forgiveness of others; not doing it from a sense of grudging necessity.
8:12 Because they had understood the words- The need for correct understanding of God’s word is because it motivates to action in practice. See 10:28.
8:14-17 Ez. 45:25 had specifically prophesied that the feast of the seventh month would be strictly kept in the restored Kingdom. The fact they hadn’t done so until now shows how they didn’t want to fulfil the restoration prophecies because the immediate daily issues of life took them away from obedience to God’s will. Note that Zech. 7:5 criticised the Jews for keeping this feast only externally, and not “unto me”. Hag. 2:1 records how on the 21st day of the 7th month- i.e. once the seven day feast that began on the 15th had finished- Haggai was sent to rebuke “the prince”, Zerubbabel, for being so slack in fulfilling Ezekiel’s vision. They subconsciously switched off to Ezekiel’s words; just as we can all do. They reasoned that “the time” of which he spoke hadn’t come- even though the temple had miraculously been enabled to be rebuilt, for no human benefit at all to Cyrus (Isaiah 45:13 “not for price nor reward”). Like us, they failed to see the personal reality of God’s word to their situation.