The gathering with Ezra (Neh 8:1-8:3)

“All the people gathered together into the square before the Water Gate. They told the scribe Ezra to bring the book of the Law of Moses which Yahweh had given to Israel. Accordingly, the priest Ezra brought the law before the assembly, both men and women, and all who could hear with understanding. This was on the first day of the seventh month. 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 it. The ears of all the people were attentive to the book of the law.”

All of a sudden, out of nowhere Ezra himself shows up to read the Law of Moses. Ezra had not come with the original settlers. He came to Jerusalem about 70 years later, a few years before Nehemiah. The first person narrative of Nehemiah seems to end. This also assumes that the Water Gate is complete or that there is some kind of gate where people can meet. Perhaps this was after the rebuilding of the wall and the gates. This was on the southeast side of Jerusalem. At this assembly were both men and women, as well as those who could understand, which may refer to children who could reason. Ezra faced the square and read from early morning to midday. Everyone was attentive to the Law of Moses. We are not sure what part of the Pentateuch he read, probably not Genesis or Exodus. More than likely it was Deuteronomy that seems to be their favorite book. This was the 1st day of the 7th month or the New Year gathering time. This author noted that they were all attentive.

 

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