View Nehemiah 8 in the note window.
The solemn reading and expounding of the law, ver. 1 - 8.
The joy of the people, ver. 9 - 12.
The keeping of the feast of tabernacles, ver. 13 - 18.
2: First day - This was the feast of trumpets, which is called
a sabbath, and on which they were to have an holy convocation,(Le 23:24). And it was on this day, the altar was set up, after
their return from captivity; in remembrance of which they had probably
kept it ever since, with more than ordinary solemnity.
7: Understand - As well the words, which being Hebrew, now needed
to be translated into the Chaldee or Syriack language, now, the
common language of that people, who together with their religion, had
also in a great part lost their language; as also the meaning of them:
they expounded the mind and will of God in what they read, and applied
it to the peoples present condition. Place - That is, In their several
places and stations into which the company seems to have been distributed
for conveniency of hearing; it not being likely that so vast a congregation
could distinctly hear one man's voice. Or, by their stations, that is,
by the several stations of the Levites, and persons last named; who
seem to have had several scaffolds, by comparing this with (Ne 9:4),
upon which thy stood, as Ezra did upon his pulpit, ver.(Ne 8:4).
8: They - Ezra and his companions successively. Sense - The
meaning of the Hebrew words, which they expounded in the common
language. Thy gave - So they gave them both a translation of the
Hebrew words into the Chaldee, and an exposition of the things
contained in them.
9: Wept - Out of a sense of their guilt and danger by reason of it.
10: Eat - Feast before the Lord. Send - For the relief of your
poor brethren. Holy - Being the feast of trumpets, and the beginning of
this joyful month, wherein so many days of thanksgiving were to be observed.
Strength - Rejoicing in God in serving him with chearfulness, and
thankfulness, which is your duty always, but now especially, will give
you that strength both of mind and body, which you greatly need, both to
perform all the duties required of you, and to oppose all the designs of
13: Levites - Chusing rather to confess their ignorance than vainly
to pretend to more knowledge than they had: wherein they shew both
humility, and serious godliness, that they were more careful to learn
their duty than to preserve their reputation.
15: Mount - The mount of Olives, which was next Jerusalem,
and stored with olive - branches, and probably with the rest: for
these trees seem to have been planted hereabouts principally, for the
use of the city in this very feast, which, though, long neglected,
should have been celebrated every year. And this place seems to be
here designed as the most eminent place, being put for any place near to
the several cities of Judah, where these branches were to be procured.
17: Done so - So, as to the manner and circumstances. They never
kept this feast so joyfully, having not only the same causes of
rejoicing which they formerly had, but special causes to increase their
joy; they never kept it so solemnly and religiously: for whereas at other
times, only the first and last day of that feast were celebrated with
an holy convocation, now there was an holy convocation, and the people
assembled, and attended upon the reading of the law, every day of this