Ezra Reads the Law
8 And all the people gathered as one man into the square before tthe Water Gate. And they told uEzra the scribe to bring the Book of the Law of Moses that the Lord had commanded Israel. 2 So Ezra the priest vbrought the Law before the assembly, both men and women and all who could understand what they heard, won the first day of the seventh month. 3 xAnd 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. 4 And 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. 5 And 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. 6 And Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God, and all the people answered, y“Amen, Amen,” zlifting up their hands. aAnd they bowed their heads and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground. 7 bAlso Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodiah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, the Levites,1 chelped the people to understand the Law, dwhile the people remained in their places. 8 They read from the book, from the Law of God, clearly,2 and they gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading.
This Day Is Holy
9 And Nehemiah, who was ethe governor, and Ezra fthe priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, g“This day is holy to the Lord your God; hdo not mourn or weep.” For all the people wept as they heard the words of the Law. 10 Then he said to them, “Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and isend 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.” 11 So the Levites calmed all the people, saying, “Be quiet, for this day is holy; do not be grieved.” 12 And all the people went their way to eat and drink and to send portions and to make great rejoicing, because jthey had understood the words that were declared to them.
Feast of Booths Celebrated
13 On 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. 14 And they found it written in the Law that the Lord had commanded by Moses kthat the people of Israel should dwell in booths3 during the feast of the seventh month, 15 and that they should proclaim it and lpublish it in all their towns and min Jerusalem, “Go out to the hills and bring nbranches of olive, wild olive, myrtle, palm, and 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 oon his roof, and in their courts and in the courts of the house of God, and in the square at pthe Water Gate and in the square at qthe Gate of Ephraim. 17 And 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 rthe people of Israel had not done so. And there was svery great rejoicing. 18 And day by day, from the first day to the last day, the read from the Book of the Law of God. They kept the feast seven days, and uon the eighth day there was a solemn assembly, according to the rule.
The People of Israel Confess Their Sin
9 Now on the twenty-fourth day of vthis month the people of Israel were assembled wwith fasting xand in sackcloth, yand with earth on their heads. 2 zAnd the Israelites1 separated themselves from all foreigners and stood and confessed their sins and the iniquities of their fathers. 3 aAnd they stood up in their place and read from the Book of the Law of the Lord their God for a quarter of the day; for another quarter of it they made confession and worshiped the Lord their God. 4 On the stairs of the Levites stood bJeshua, 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, “Stand up and bless the Lord your God from everlasting to everlasting. cBlessed be your glorious name, which is exalted above all blessing and praise.2
6 d“You are the Lord, you alone. eYou have made heaven, fthe heaven of heavens, gwith all their host, ethe earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; hand you preserve all of them; and the host of heaven worships you. 7 You are the Lord, the God iwho chose Abram and brought him out of jUr of the Chaldeans kand gave him the name Abraham. 8 lYou found his heart faithful before you, mand made with him the covenant to give to his offspring nthe land of the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Amorite, the Perizzite, the Jebusite, and the Girgashite. oAnd you have kept your promise, for you are righteous.
9 p“And you saw the affliction of our fathers in Egypt and heard qtheir cry at the Red Sea, 10 rand performed signs and wonders against Pharaoh and all his servants and all the people of his land, for you knew that sthey acted arrogantly against our fathers. And tyou made a name for yourself, as it is to this day. 11 uAnd you divided the sea before them, so that they went through the midst of the sea on dry land, and you cast their pursuers into the depths, vas a stone into mighty waters. 12 By wa pillar of cloud you led them in the day, and by a pillar of fire in the night to light for them the way in which they should go. 13 xYou came down on Mount Sinai yand spoke with them from heaven and gave them zright rules and true laws, good statutes and commandments, 14 aand you made known to them your holy Sabbath and commanded them commandments and statutes and a law by Moses your servant. 15 bYou gave them bread from heaven for their hunger and cbrought water for them out of the rock for their thirst, and you dtold them to go in to possess the land that you had sworn to give them.
16 “But they and our fathers eacted presumptuously and stiffened their neck and did not obey your commandments. 17 They refused to obey fand were not mindful of the wonders that you performed among them, but they stiffened their neck and appointed a leader to return to their slavery in Egypt.3 But you are a God ready to forgive, ggracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and did not forsake them. 18 Even hwhen they had made for themselves a golden4 calf and said, ‘This is your God who brought you up out of Egypt,’ iand had committed great blasphemies, 19 you jin your great mercies did not forsake them in the wilderness. kThe pillar of cloud to lead them in the way did not depart from them by day, knor the pillar of fire by night to light for them the way by which they should go. 20 lYou gave your good Spirit to instruct them mand did not withhold your manna from their mouth and gave them water for their thirst. 21 nForty years you sustained them in the wilderness, and they lacked nothing. Their clothes did not wear out and their feet did not swell.
22 “And you gave them kingdoms and peoples and allotted to them every corner. oSo they took possession of the land of Sihon king of Heshbon pand the land of Og king of Bashan. 23 You multiplied their children qas the stars of heaven, and you brought them into the land that you had told their fathers to enter and possess. 24 rSo the descendants went in and possessed the land, sand you subdued before them the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites, and gave them into their hand, with their kings and the peoples of the land, that they might do with them as they would. 25 And they captured tfortified cities and ua rich land, and took possession of vhouses full of all good things, cisterns already hewn, vineyards, olive orchards and fruit trees in abundance. So they ate and were filled wand became fat and delighted themselves in xyour great goodness.
26 y“Nevertheless, they were disobedient and rebelled against you zand cast your law behind their back aand killed your prophets, who bhad warned them in order to turn them back to you, cand they committed great blasphemies. 27 dTherefore you gave them into the hand of their enemies, who made them suffer. eAnd in the time of their suffering they cried out to you and you heard them from heaven, and according to your great mercies you gave them fsaviors who saved them from the hand of their enemies. 28 gBut after they had rest they did evil again before you, and you abandoned them to the hand of their enemies, so that they had dominion over them. Yet when they turned and cried to you, you heard from heaven, hand many times you delivered them according to your mercies. 29 bAnd you warned them in order to turn them back to your law. Yet ithey acted presumptuously and did not obey your commandments, but sinned against your rules, jwhich if a person does them, he shall live by them, kand they turned a stubborn shoulder land stiffened their neck and would not obey. 30 Many years myou bore with them nand warned them oby your Spirit through your prophets. pYet they would not give ear. qTherefore you gave them into the hand of the peoples of the lands. 31 Nevertheless, rin your great mercies syou did not make an end of them or forsake them, tfor you are a gracious and merciful God.
32 “Now, therefore, our God, uthe great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who keeps covenant and steadfast love, let not all the hardship seem little to you that has come upon us, upon our kings, our princes, our priests, our prophets, our fathers, and all your people, vsince the time of the kings of Assyria until this day. 33 wYet you have been righteous in all that has come upon us, for you have dealt faithfully xand we have acted wickedly. 34 Our kings, our princes, our priests, and our fathers have not kept your law or paid attention to your commandments and your warnings that you gave them. 35 Even in their own kingdom, yand amid your great goodness that you gave them, and in the large and yrich land that you set before them, zthey did not serve you or turn from their wicked works. 36 Behold, awe are slaves this day; in the land that you gave to our fathers to enjoy its fruit and its good gifts, behold, we are slaves. 37 bAnd its rich yield goes to the kings whom you have set over us because of our sins. They rule over our bodies and over our livestock as they please, and we are in great distress.5
The People Who Sealed the Covenant
10 e“On the seals are the names of1 Nehemiah fthe governor, gthe son of Hacaliah, Zedekiah, 2 hSeraiah, Azariah, Jeremiah, 3 Pashhur, Amariah, Malchijah, 4 iHattush, Shebaniah, Malluch, 5 Harim, Meremoth, Obadiah, 6 Daniel, Ginnethon, Baruch, 7 Meshullam, Abijah, Mijamin, 8 Maaziah, Bilgai, Shemaiah; these are the priests. 9 And the Levites: jJeshua the son of Azaniah, Binnui of the sons of kHenadad, Kadmiel; 10 and their brothers, Shebaniah, Hodiah, Kelita, Pelaiah, Hanan, 11 Mica, Rehob, Hashabiah, 12 Zaccur, Sherebiah, Shebaniah, 13 Hodiah, Bani, Beninu. 14 The chiefs of the people: lParosh, Pahath-moab, Elam, Zattu, Bani, 15 Bunni, Azgad, Bebai, 16 Adonijah, Bigvai, Adin, 17 Ater, Hezekiah, Azzur, 18 Hodiah, 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 Ahiah, Hanan, Anan, 27 Malluch, Harim, Baanah.
The Obligations of the Covenant
28 m“The rest of the people, the priests, the Levites, the gatekeepers, the singers, the temple servants, nand all who have separated themselves from the peoples of the lands to the Law of God, their wives, their sons, their daughters, all who have knowledge and understanding, 29 join with their brothers, their nobles, oand enter into a curse and an oath pto walk in God’s Law that was given by Moses the servant of God, and to observe and do all the commandments of the Lord our Lord and his rules and his statutes. 30 qWe will not give our daughters to the peoples of the land or take their daughters for our sons. 31 rAnd if the peoples of the land bring in goods or any grain on the Sabbath day to sell, we will not buy from them on the Sabbath or on a holy day. And we will forego the crops of the sseventh year and the texaction of every debt.
32 “We also take on ourselves the obligation to give yearly ua third part of a shekel2 for the service of the house of our God: 33 vfor the showbread, wthe regular grain offering, wthe regular burnt offering, the Sabbaths, the new moons, the appointed feasts, the holy things, and the sin offerings to make atonement for Israel, and for all the work of the house of our God. 34 xWe, the priests, the Levites, and the people, have likewise cast lots yfor the wood offering, to bring it into the house of our God, according to our fathers’ houses, at times appointed, year by year, to burn on the altar of the Lord our God, zas it is written in the Law. 35 We obligate ourselves ato bring the firstfruits of our ground and the firstfruits of all fruit of every tree, year by year, to the house of the Lord; 36 also to bring to the house of our God, to the priests who minister in the house of our God, the firstborn of our sons and of our cattle, bas it is written in the Law, and the firstborn of our herds and of our flocks; 37 cand to bring the first of our dough, and our contributions, the fruit of every tree, the wine and the oil, to the priests, dto the chambers of the house of our God; and to bring to the Levites the tithes from our ground, for it is the Levites who collect the tithes in all our towns where we labor. 38 And the priest, the son of Aaron, shall be with the Levites when the Levites receive the tithes. And the Levites shall bring up the tithe of the tithes to the house of our God, to the chambers of ethe storehouse. 39 For the people of Israel and the sons of Levi fshall bring the contribution of grain, wine, and oil to the chambers, where the vessels of the sanctuary are, as well as the priests who minister, and the gatekeepers and the singers. gWe will not neglect the house of our God.”