Ezra Reads the Law of Moses
8 When the seventh month came and the Israelites were in their cities,[a] all the people gathered together at the public square that is in front of the Water Gate. They told Ezra the scribe to bring the Book of the Law of Moses, which the Lord had commanded Israel. 2 So on the first day of the seventh month, Ezra the priest brought the Law before the congregation, both men and women and all who were able to understand what they heard. 3 From dawn until midday in front of the public square in front of the Water Gate, he read from the scroll, while facing the men, the women, and those who could understand. All the people listened attentively to the Book of the Law. 4 Ezra the scribe stood on a wooden platform that was made for the occasion. Beside him stood Mattithiah, Shema, Anaiah, Uriah, Hilkiah, and Ma’aseiah on his right, and on his left were Pedaiah, Mishael, Malkijah, Hashum, Hashbaddanah, Zechariah, and Meshullam.
5 All the people could see Ezra as he opened the scroll, because he was elevated above all the people. As he opened the scroll, all the people stood. 6 Then Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God, and all the people answered, “Amen! Amen!” while they lifted up their hands and then knelt and bowed down with their faces to the ground.
7 Jeshua and Bani and Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodiah, Ma’aseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, and the rest of the Levites helped the people understand the Law, while the people remained standing in their places. 8 So they read from the Book of the Law of God clearly and interpreted it, and the people understood what was read.[b]
9 Then Nehemiah the governor, Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites, who helped the people understand, said to all the people, “Today is holy to the Lord your God. Do not mourn or cry!” because all the people were crying as they heard the words of the Law. 10 Nehemiah said to them, “Go, eat rich food and drink sweet drinks and send portions to those who have nothing prepared, because today is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, because the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
11 Then the Levites silenced all the people, saying, “Hush! Today is holy. Do not grieve.”
12 All the people went to eat and drink and to send portions to others and to celebrate with great joy, because they understood the words that had been made known to them.
Ezra Leads the Study of the Law of Moses
13 Now on the second day, the heads of the families of all the people, the priests, and the Levites were gathered around Ezra the scribe to study the words of the Law. 14 They found written in the Law, which the Lord had commanded by the hand of Moses, that the Israelites should dwell in temporary shelters during the festival of the seventh month, 15 and that they should proclaim this and make this announcement in all their cities and in Jerusalem: “Go out to the mountains and bring branches from olive trees, wild olive trees, myrtle bushes, date palms, and leafy trees to make shelters, as it is written.”
16 So the people went out and brought branches and made shelters for themselves. Each man made a shelter on his roof. They also made shelters in their courtyards, in the courtyards of the house of God, in the square by the Water Gate, and in the square by the Ephraim Gate. 17 The entire congregation that had returned from the captivity made shelters and stayed in the shelters. From the days of Joshua[c] son of Nun until that day, the Israelites had not celebrated in this way, because there was very great joy. 18 Ezra also read from the Book of the Law of God every day of the festival, from the first day to the last day. They celebrated the festival for seven days, and on the eighth day they held an assembly according to the ordinance.
Worship and the Reading of the Law
9 On the twenty-fourth day of this same month, the Israelites gathered together. They were fasting and wearing sackcloth, and they had dirt on their faces.[d] 2 Those of Israelite descent had separated themselves from all foreigners. They stood and confessed their sins and the guilt of their ancestors. 3 They stood up in their place and read from the Book of the Law of the Lord their God for a quarter of the day, and for another quarter they confessed their sins and worshipped the Lord their God.
4 Then Jeshua and Bani,[e] Kadmiel, Shebaniah, Bunni, Sherebiah, Bani, and Kenani stood on the stairs for the Levites and cried out in a loud voice to the Lord their God. 5 The Levites Jeshua and Kadmiel, Bani, Hashabneiah, Sherebiah, Hodiah, Shebaniah, and Pethahiah said,
“Stand up! Bless the Lord your God,
who is from eternity to eternity.
May they bless your glorious Name,
which is more exalted than all other blessing and praise.
6 You are the Lord—you alone.
You made the heavens—
the highest heavens and their entire army,
the earth and everything that is on it,
the seas and all that is in them.
You sustain life in all of them,
and the army of heaven worships you.
7 You are the Lord, the God who chose Abram.
You brought him from Ur of the Chaldeans,
and you gave him the name Abraham.
8 You found his heart to be faithful before you.
You made the covenant with him
to give to his descendants the land of the Canaanites,
the Hittites, the Amorites and the Perizzites,
and the Jebusites and the Girgashites.[f]
You kept your word, because you are righteous.
9 You saw the oppression of our ancestors in Egypt.
You heard their cry at the Red Sea.
10 You performed signs and wonders against Pharaoh,
against all his officials,
and against all the people of his land,
because you knew that they were acting arrogantly against Israel.
You made a name for yourself, as it remains to this day.
11 You split the sea in front of them,
and they passed through the middle of it on dry ground.
You threw their pursuers into the depths like a stone into mighty waters.
12 With a pillar of cloud you led them by day
and with a pillar of fire by night,
which lit up for them the way they were to travel.
13 You came down on Mount Sinai and spoke with them from heaven.
You gave them upright judgments and true laws,
good statutes and commandments.
14 You made known to them your holy Sabbath.
You gave them commandments, statutes,
and the Law, by the hand of your servant Moses.
15 You gave them bread from heaven for their hunger,
and you made water come out of a rock for their thirst.
Then you told them to go and take possession of the land
that you swore to give them.
16 But they and our ancestors acted arrogantly.
They became stiff-necked and would not listen to your commands.
17 So they refused to listen,
and they did not remember your wonders that you did for them.
They became stiff-necked and appointed a leader
in order to return to their slavery in Egypt.
But you are a God who is forgiving, merciful, and compassionate,
slow to anger, abounding in mercy.
So you did not abandon them.
18 However, they made a cast metal calf for themselves and said,
“This is your god who brought you up from Egypt,”
and they committed great blasphemies.
19 But in your abundant compassion, you did not abandon them in the wilderness.
By day the pillar of cloud did not depart from above them
or stop leading them on their way.
By night the pillar of fire did not stop lighting the way that they should go.
20 You gave them your good Spirit to give them insight.
So you did not withhold your manna from their mouth,
and you gave them water for their thirst.
21 You sustained them for forty years in the wilderness.
They did not lack anything.
Their clothing did not wear out,
and their feet did not swell.
- Nehemiah 8:1 The preceding words are part of 7:73.
- Nehemiah 8:8 Or understood the Scriptures. Miqra, what is read, is the Hebrew name for the Old Testament Scriptures.
- Nehemiah 8:17 In Nehemiah this name is consistently spelled Jeshua, but the translation has retained the usual spelling for the famous Joshua.
- Nehemiah 9:1 All signs of mourning
- Nehemiah 9:4 Some emend to Binnui on the basis of parallel passages. There are many spelling variants of the names in these lists.
- Nehemiah 9:8 The Hebrew text divides these peoples into groups as indicated by the occurrences of the ands in the translation above. It is uncertain whether these groupings have any special significance, but the translation preserves them.
1 Corinthians 9:1-18
What Paul Does With His Rights and Freedom
9 Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus, our Lord? Are you not my work in the Lord? 2 If I am not an apostle to others, yet at least I am to you. For you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord.
3 This is my defense to those who examine me. 4 Do we not have a right to eat and to drink? 5 Do we not have a right to take along a wife who is a believer, as the rest of the apostles do, and the brothers of the Lord, and Cephas?[a] 6 Or are Barnabas and I the only ones who have no right to be spared from manual labor? 7 What soldier ever serves at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat some of its fruit? Or who takes care of a flock and does not drink milk from the flock? 8 Am I saying this just from a human point of view? Doesn’t the law also say this? 9 Yes, it is written in the Law of Moses, “You shall not muzzle an ox while it is treading out grain.”[b] Is God really concerned about oxen, 10 or does he say this entirely for our sake? Yes, it was written for our sake, because the plowman ought to plow in hope, and the thresher ought to thresh in hope of getting a share. 11 If we sowed spiritual seed for your good, is it too much if we reap material benefits from you? 12 If others have some right to make this claim on you, don’t we even more? But we did not use this right. Instead, we endure everything so as not to cause any hindrance for the gospel of Christ.
13 Do you not know that those who do the work in the temple eat food from the temple, and those who attend to the altar receive a portion from what is on the altar? 14 In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel are to receive their living from the gospel. 15 But I have used none of these things.
I am not writing this to have it done this way in my case, because it is better for me to die than to let anyone deprive me of my boast. 16 You see, if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast about, because an obligation is laid on me, and woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! 17 If I do this as a volunteer, I receive compensation. But if not, I have been entrusted with a responsibility as a steward. 18 What then is my compensation? To present the gospel of Christ[c] free of charge when I preach it, instead of making use of the right I have when I preach the gospel.
12 How blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord,
the people he chose to be his possession.
13 From heaven the Lord observes.
He sees all the children of Adam.
14 From his throne room he looks at all the inhabitants of earth.
15 He alone is the one who shapes all their hearts.
He understands all their deeds.
16 No king is saved by the great size of his army.
No hero is rescued by his great strength.
17 You cannot rely on a horse to save you.
Its great strength will not deliver you.
18 Look, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him,
on those who wait for his mercy.
19 He will deliver their souls from death.
He keeps them alive in famine.
20 Our souls wait for the Lord.
He is our help and our shield.
21 Yes, in him our heart rejoices,
because we trust in his holy name.
22 May your mercy, O Lord, be on us,
even as we wait confidently for you.