Ezra reads the Law of Moses in the presence of the people. The Levites make sure they understand it and they all worship the Lord their God.
Here I am a little confused as to the timeline. We just went over the rolls of the people who came out with Zerubbabel and now we are standing with Ezra and Nehemiah. There is a LARGE gap between these groups. If we had gone over the group that Ezra led out I wouldn’t have a problem because there was only 13 years between his return and Nehemiah’s.
In the first return of the exiles, they waited eight months before beginning work on the Temple. In our text there is a seven month delay between two events. I’m thinking that the two events are the completion of the wall and this rededication ceremony. The wall took 52 days to reconstruct but the people probably needed time to decompress afterwards. They were under threat of attack and on guard 24/7 during that time. I could see a time of rest being granted.
I took a look ahead and found out that there wasn’t a seven month delay after completing the wall. It was completed on the 25th of the month Elul. This is the sixth month. The seventh month is Tishrei. This is the month that the new year is celebrated through Rosh Hashana. It is also the month of Sukkot. This is the celebration that the people will find in the Law next time we come together. So there is no prolonged delay between the completion of the wall and Ezra reading the Law to the people.
With this information I’m assuming that once the wall was complete, the next four days saw all the returnees travel to Jerusalem. This is so they would be present on the fifth day, the first day of the seventh month, when Ezra read the Law to them.
Great pains are taken to make sure the people ALL understand what is being read to them. Ezra reads straight from the scrolls and the Levites translate it into language the people can understand. They put God’s Law into practical words that the people can relate to in their daily lives.
EVERYONE is listening intently to what is being shared. They also show great respect during the assembly. They all stand as soon as Ezra opens the scrolls. Ezra blesses the Lord and they responded with absolute agreement; “Amen, Amen” (verse 6b).
The people worship the Lord as Ezra reads. I’m not sure if this description is of the people bowing down with their faces on the ground or if their faces are simply turned downward towards the ground. Their hands are lifted up at the same time. All through Ezra’s reading and the Levites translation, “the people remained in their places” (verse 7b). I don’t know if this means they remained in this position of worship just described or if no one left to go to the bathroom or deal with a crying baby. They ALL STAYED to hear EVERYTHING that was said. I have a feeling it would be easier to pay attention if they were standing or seated on the ground during the reading instead of concentrating on maintaining a head bowed to the ground and arms raised position.
This reading had a profound impact on the people and we will look at it the next time we meet. But for now envision all those faces listening with rapt attention as Ezra reads the words of God that they have not heard in some time, at least as a group. Imagine the throngs of people as the Levites translate into plain language the words of the Lord. See the look of understanding and recognition as it settles on the faces of the assembly. God’s words are touching their hearts and minds. These are not just dry words spilling from the mouth of a leader and all those who stand with him but words that capture the attention every ear that hears them and pierce every heart.
There are 13 Levites listed here who helped the people understand. There were also 13 leaders who stood with Ezra as he read from the Law. The whole of the government of Judah was in agreement with Ezra’s reading of the Law, or at least this is how it looks to me.
Thank You Father for giving me people who can help me understand Your words. Thank You Holy Spirit for helping me dig in to find the treasure buried in plain sight. Keep me always digging AND finding. Help me put into practice every day the lessons that You share with me.