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73Now the priests, the Levites, the gatekeepers, the singers, some of the people, the temple servants and all Israel, lived in their cities.
And when the seventh month came, the sons of Israel were in their cities.
1And all the people gathered as one man at the square which was in front of the Water Gate, and they asked Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses which the LORD had given to Israel.2Then Ezra the priest brought the law before the assembly of men, women and all who could listen with understanding, on the first day of the seventh month.3He read from it before the square which was in front of the Water Gate from early morning until midday, in the presence of men and women, those who could understand; and all the people were attentive to the book of the law.4Ezra the scribe stood at a wooden podium which they had made for the purpose. And beside him stood Mattithiah, Shema, Anaiah, Uriah, Hilkiah, and Maaseiah on his right hand; and Pedaiah, Mishael, Malchijah, Hashum, Hashbaddanah, Zechariah and Meshullam on his left hand.5Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people for he was standing above all the people; and when he opened it, all the people stood up.6Then Ezra blessed the LORD the great God. And all the people answered, “Amen, Amen!” while lifting up their hands; then they bowed low and worshiped the LORD with their faces to the ground.7Also Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodiah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, the Levites, explained the law to the people while the people remained in their place.8They read from the book, from the law of God, translating to give the sense so that they understood the reading.
9Then Nehemiah, who was the governor, and Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, “This day is holy to the LORD your God; do not mourn or weep.” For all the people were weeping when they heard the words of the law.10Then he said to them, “Go, eat of the fat, drink of the sweet, and send portions to him who has nothing prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”11So the Levites calmed all the people, saying, “Be still, for the day is holy; do not be grieved.”12All the people went away to eat, to drink, to send portions and to celebrate a great festival, because they understood the words which had been made known to them.
13Then on the second day the heads of fathers’ households of all the people, the priests and the Levites were gathered to Ezra the scribe that they might gain insight into the words of the law.14They found written in the law how the LORD had commanded through Moses that the sons of Israel should live in booths during the feast of the seventh month.15So they proclaimed and circulated a proclamation in all their cities and in Jerusalem, saying, “Go out to the hills, and bring olive branches and wild olive branches, myrtle branches, palm branches and branches of other leafy trees, to make booths, as it is written.”16So the people went out and brought them and made booths for themselves, each on his roof, and in their courts and in the courts of the house of God, and in the square at the Water Gate and in the square at the Gate of Ephraim.17The entire assembly of those who had returned from the captivity made booths and lived in them. The sons of Israel had indeed not done so from the days of Joshua the son of Nun to that day. And there was great rejoicing.18He read from the book of the law of God daily, from the first day to the last day. And they celebrated the feast seven days, and on the eighth day there was a solemn assembly according to the ordinance.
1Now on the twenty-fourth day of this month the sons of Israel assembled with fasting, in sackcloth and with dirt upon them.2The descendants of Israel separated themselves from all foreigners, and stood and confessed their sins and the iniquities of their fathers.3While they stood in their place, they read from the book of the law of the LORD their God for a fourth of the day; and for another fourth they confessed and worshiped the LORD their God.4Now on the Levites’ platform stood Jeshua, Bani, Kadmiel, Shebaniah, Bunni, Sherebiah, Bani and Chenani, and they cried with a loud voice to the LORD their God.
5Then the Levites, Jeshua, Kadmiel, Bani, Hashabneiah, Sherebiah, Hodiah, Shebaniah and Pethahiah, said, “Arise, bless the LORD your God forever and ever!
O may Your glorious name be blessed
And exalted above all blessing and praise!
6“You alone are the LORD.
You have made the heavens,
The heaven of heavens with all their host,
The earth and all that is on it,
The seas and all that is in them.
You give life to all of them
And the heavenly host bows down before You.
7“You are the LORD God,
Who chose Abram
And brought him out from Ur of the Chaldees,
And gave him the name Abraham.
8“You found his heart faithful before You,
And made a covenant with him
To give him the land of the Canaanite,
Of the Hittite and the Amorite,
Of the Perizzite, the Jebusite and the Girgashite—
To give it to his descendants.
And You have fulfilled Your promise,
For You are righteous.
9“You saw the affliction of our fathers in Egypt,
And heard their cry by the Red Sea.
10“Then You performed signs and wonders against Pharaoh,
Against all his servants and all the people of his land;
For You knew that they acted arrogantly toward them,
And made a name for Yourself as it is this day.
11“You divided the sea before them,
So they passed through the midst of the sea on dry ground;
And their pursuers You hurled into the depths,
Like a stone into raging waters.
12“And with a pillar of cloud You led them by day,
And with a pillar of fire by night
To light for them the way
In which they were to go.
13“Then You came down on Mount Sinai,
And spoke with them from heaven;
You gave them just ordinances and true laws,
Good statutes and commandments.
14“So You made known to them Your holy sabbath,
And laid down for them commandments, statutes and law,
Through Your servant Moses.
15“You provided bread from heaven for them for their hunger,
You brought forth water from a rock for them for their thirst,
And You told them to enter in order to possess
The land which You swore to give them.
16“But they, our fathers, acted arrogantly;
They became stubborn and would not listen to Your commandments.
17“They refused to listen,
And did not remember Your wondrous deeds which You had performed among them;
So they became stubborn and appointed a leader to return to their slavery in Egypt.
But You are a God of forgiveness,
Gracious and compassionate,
Slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness;
And You did not forsake them.
18“Even when they made for themselves
A calf of molten metal
And said, ‘This is your God
Who brought you up from Egypt,’
And committed great blasphemies,
19You, in Your great compassion,
Did not forsake them in the wilderness;
The pillar of cloud did not leave them by day,
To guide them on their way,
Nor the pillar of fire by night, to light for them the way in which they were to go.
20“You gave Your good Spirit to instruct them,
Your manna You did not withhold from their mouth,
And You gave them water for their thirst.
21“Indeed, forty years You provided for them in the wilderness and they were not in want;
Their clothes did not wear out, nor did their feet swell.
1Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are you not my work in the Lord?2If to others I am not an apostle, at least I am to you; for you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord.
3My defense to those who examine me is this:4Do we not have a right to eat and drink?5Do we not have a right to take along a believing wife, even as the rest of the apostles and the brothers of the Lord and Cephas?6Or do only Barnabas and I not have a right to refrain from working?7Who at any time serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat the fruit of it? Or who tends a flock and does not use the milk of the flock?
8I am not speaking these things according to human judgment, am I? Or does not the Law also say these things?9For it is written in the Law of Moses, “YOU SHALL NOT MUZZLE THE OX WHILE HE IS THRESHING.” God is not concerned about oxen, is He?10Or is He speaking altogether for our sake? Yes, for our sake it was written, because the plowman ought to plow in hope, and the thresher to thresh in hope of sharing the crops.11If we sowed spiritual things in you, is it too much if we reap material things from you?12If others share the right over you, do we not more? Nevertheless, we did not use this right, but we endure all things so that we will cause no hindrance to the gospel of Christ.13Do you not know that those who perform sacred services eat the food of the temple, and those who attend regularly to the altar have their share from the altar?14So also the Lord directed those who proclaim the gospel to get their living from the gospel.
15But I have used none of these things. And I am not writing these things so that it will be done so in my case; for it would be better for me to die than have any man make my boast an empty one.16For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for I am under compulsion; for woe is me if I do not preach the gospel.17For if I do this voluntarily, I have a reward; but if against my will, I have a stewardship entrusted to me.18What then is my reward? That, when I preach the gospel, I may offer the gospel without charge, so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel.
11When the scoffer is punished, the naive becomes wise;
But when the wise is instructed, he receives knowledge.
12The righteous one considers the house of the wicked,
Turning the wicked to ruin.