Then all the men of Judah and Benjamin
And such of the ten tribes that returned and dwelt among them:
gathered themselves together unto Jerusalem within three days;
the time fixed: which they were the more careful to observe, since it was enjoined by the authority of princes and elders, and the punishment in case of disobedience very severe:
it was the ninth month, on the twentieth day of the month;
the month Chisleu, which answers to part of November and part of December, so that the twentieth day must be in the beginning of December; this was almost five months after Ezra came to Jerusalem:
and all the people sat in the street of the house of God:
the street which led to the temple, the east street, ( 2 Chronicles 29:4 ) though some think this was the court of the people, called a street, because it lay open, not yet walled in; and, according to Josephus F17, it was in an upper room of the temple in which Ezra was, perhaps the same with the chamber of Johanan, ( Ezra 10:6 ) ,
trembling because of this matter;
they were met about; some that were guilty, not knowing what punishment would be inflicted on them, and others that were not, yet dreaded the wrath of God, lest that should break out upon the whole congregation for it:
and for the great rain;
which now fell, and which they interpreted as a token of the divine displeasure: for though it was in winter time, yet not with them a time of rain, for the former rain had fallen a month before; so that this being unusual and unexpected, they understood it as betokening evil to them.
F17 Antiqu. l. 11. c. 5. sect. 4.