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Service to God: Restore God’s service by teaching people His word.
8:1-3 - The people gather for the reading of the law
Now that the wall was completed, the people turned to restoring their spiritual service in the city. The law had commanded that the law be read to the people from time to time (Deut.3:11,12; Joshua 8:34,35; 2 Kings 23:2).
They assembled in a convenient place described as the open square in front of the Water Gate. The reading was led by Ezra the scribe, the same Ezra described in the book of Ezra (see on Ezra 7:6). Ezra had led the second group that returned from captivity, and Nehemiah led the third group. Evidently these were not far apart.
Ezra brought the book of the law and read from it from morning till noon. The message is called the Book of the Law of Moses that the Lord had commanded Moses. Note the clear claim that Moses’ writings were inspired by God. See also the notes on v8, where the law is called the Law of God.
Those who were assembled were men, women, and all who could hear and understand what was taught. The people listened attentively to what was read. This occurred on the first day of the 7th month, which was a holy day (v9), the feast of trumpets
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