Ezra the scribe stood on a high wooden platform1 built for the occasion. Beside him on his right stood Mattithiah, Shema, Anaiah, Uriah, Hilkiah and Maaseiah; and on his left were Pedaiah, Mishael, Malkijah, Hashum, Hashbaddanah, Zechariah and Meshullam.
Ezra opened the book. All the people could see him because he was standing2 above them; and as he opened it, the people all stood up.
Ezra praised the LORD, the great God; and all the people lifted their hands3 and responded, "Amen! Amen!" Then they bowed down and worshiped the LORD with their faces to the ground.
The Levites4--Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodiah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan and Pelaiah--instructed5 the people in the Law while the people were standing there.
They read from the Book of the Law of God, making it cleara and giving the meaning so that the people could understand what was being read.
Then Nehemiah the governor, Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites6 who were instructing the people said to them all, "This day is sacred to the LORD your God. Do not mourn or weep."7 For all the people had been weeping as they listened to the words of the Law.
Nehemiah said, "Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing8 prepared. This day is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy9 of the LORD is your strength."
The Levites calmed all the people, saying, "Be still, for this is a sacred day. Do not grieve."
Then all the people went away to eat and drink, to send portions of food and to celebrate with great joy,10 because they now understood the words that had been made known to them.
On the second day of the month, the heads of all the families, along with the priests and the Levites, gathered around Ezra the scribe to give attention to the words of the Law.
They found written in the Law, which the LORD had commanded through Moses, that the Israelites were to live in booths11 during the feast of the seventh month