Also day by day, from the first day to the last day, he read in the book of the law of God. And they kept the feast seven days; and on the eighth day was a solemn assembly, according to the manner.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)According unto the manner.—For the Azereth, or supplementary feast day, see Leviticus 23:36.Nehemiah 8:18. Day by day he read in the book of the law of God — The law was commanded to be read at this feast, Deuteronomy 31:10-12. But the reading of it was not enjoined to be continued every day, as was now done through their singular and very laudable zeal. 1 Kings 8:2, 1 Kings 8:65; Ezra 3:4); but that there had been no such celebration as this since Joshua's time. Compare 2 Kings 23:22; 2 Chronicles 35:18.
on the eighth day was a solemn assembly—This was the last and great day of the feast (see on Nu 29:35). In later times, other ceremonies which increased the rejoicing were added (Joh 7:37).He read in the book of the law of God; which was commanded to be done at this feast, Deu 31:10-12, though not enjoined to be done every day, as now out of a singular zeal they did.
and they kept the feast seven days, and on the eighth day was a solemn assembly, according to the manner; prescribed in Leviticus 23:39.Also day by day, from the first day unto the last day, he read in the book of the law of God. And they kept the feast seven days; and on the eighth day was a solemn assembly, according unto the manner.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)18. he read] i.e. Ezra. This is the usual explanation, so also LXX. ἀνέγνω. Vulg. ‘legit.’ According to another interpretation the 3rd pers. sing. is impersonal = ‘and one read,’ ‘there was reading.’
in the book of the law of God] The command to read at the Feast of Tabernacles only applied to the special usage of the Sabbatic year (Deuteronomy 31:10-11), and it is clear from the context in that passage that Moses in using the words ‘thou shalt read this law’ (Deuteronomy 31:11) is speaking especially of the Deuteronomic law which he is described as having written and committed to the priests in Deuteronomy 31:9 and Deuteronomy 31:26. It is a mistake therefore to connect this reading of ‘the law’ by Ezra with any special obedience to Deuteronomy 31:10-11, unless it be assumed that it was the Sabbatic year, and that the law read was the Deuteronomic law. For neither assumption is there any sufficient warrant. The fact that the reading went on for seven days makes it probable that the whole, or at any rate by far the greater portion, of the Torah was read.
the eighth day] This eighth day was not originally part of the feast, but an extra day commanded by the Priestly Law to be observed as ‘an holy convocation’ (Leviticus 23:36; Leviticus 23:39). Its celebration closed, as it were, the festival calendar of the Jewish sacred year. We do not hear of its observance in early times. As we might expect, it is not mentioned in the brief festival notice of Exodus 23:16. In Deuteronomy 16:13-17 it is not spoken of, it is only said ‘Seven days shalt thou keep a feast.’ In 1 Kings 8:65-66, we are told that after the Feast of Tabernacles Solomon sent the people away on the 8th day. In the Priestly Law, however, the observance of this 8th day is insisted upon as ‘a holy convocation,’ ‘a solemn assembly,’ on which ‘no servile work’ is to be done, ‘the eighth day shall be a solemn rest’ (Leviticus 23:36; Leviticus 23:39). It is interesting, therefore, to take notice that in 2 Chronicles 7:8-9 the observance of this 8th day is recorded, although not mentioned in the parallel passage, 1 Kings 8:65-66. The Chronicler recounts the celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles in accordance with his knowledge of the Priestly Law. Our passage agrees with the later observance and with the Priestly Law. The complete disappearance of the originally distinct character of ‘the eighth day’ is shown in 2Ma 10:6 ‘eight days … as in the feast of tabernacles.’
a solemn assembly (Heb. a restrain assembly)] R.V. Marg. ‘Or, closing festival’. LXX. ἐξόδιον. Vulg. ‘collectam.’ The Hebrew word e’ câreth is used technically here and in Leviticus 23:36; Numbers 29:35; 2 Chronicles 7:9, for the day after the Feast of Tabernacles, and in Deuteronomy 16:8, for the 7th and last day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. With an original sense of ‘shutting,’ ‘packing together,’ it is used of ‘public gatherings’ (Jeremiah 9:2), and sacred festivals (2 Kings 10:20; Isaiah 1:13; Joel 1:14; Amos 5:21), and, in post-Biblical Hebrew, especially of the Feast of Weeks.
the manner] R.V. the ordinance. According to the ordinance (mishpât. LXX. κρίμα. Vulg. ‘ritum’) of the Priestly Law (Leviticus 23:36). The emphasis of this appeal to authority is perhaps to be explained by the fact that in early times the 8th day had not been observed.Verse 18. - Also day by day... . he read in the book of the law. Ezra must be intended in the form "he read," though there has been no mention of him since verse 13. The continuous and systematic reading seems to imply that the year was a Sabbatical one, and that the rehearsal commanded in Deuteronomy 31:10-13 now took place. The observance was perhaps a new thing to the newly-formed community, and is therefore recorded with so much emphasis. They kept the feast seven days. See Leviticus 23:34; Numbers 29:12-34; Deuteronomy 16:13. On the eighth day was a solemn assembly, according to the manner. Such a mode of solemnising the octave was commanded in Leviticus 23:36 and Numbers 29:35. By "according to the manner" seems to be meant "according to the regularly established custom"- one proof out of many that the feast had been constantly observed, though not perhaps with all the proper ceremonies (see the comment on ver. 17).
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