Also Jeshua, and Bani, and Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodijah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, and the Levites, caused the people to understand the law: and the people stood in their place.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Nehemiah 8:7. The Levites caused the people to understand the law — As well the words, which, being Hebrew, needed to be translated into the Chaldee or Syriac language, now the common language of that people; who, together with their religion, had also, in a great part, lost their language; as also the meaning of them: they expounded the mind and will of God in what they read, and applied it to the people’s present condition. The people stood in their place — That is, in their several places and stations, into which the company seems to have been distributed for convenience of hearing; it not being likely that so vast a congregation could distinctly hear one man’s voice. Or, by their stations; that is, by the several stations of the Levites, and persons last named, who seem to have had several scaffolds, by comparing this with Nehemiah 9:4, upon which they stood, as Ezra, and those mentioned Nehemiah 8:4, did upon their pulpit.Nehemiah 9:4, Nehemiah 9:5; Nehemiah 10:9) seem not to be the personal appellations of individuals, but rather designations of Levitical families, the descendants respectively of Jeshua, etc., who lived not later than the time of Zerubbabel Nehemiah 7:43; Nehemiah 12:8. Caused the people to understand the law; as well the words, which being Hebrew, now needed to be translated into the Chaldee or Syriac language, which was now and henceforth the common language of that people, who together with their religion had also in a great part lost their language; as also the sense and meaning of them; they expounded the mind and will of God in what they read, and applied it to the people’s present condition, as they saw fit, as the manner of the prophets generally was. And hence the people were so deeply affected with it.
The people stood in their place, i.e. in their several places and stations into which the company seems to have been distributed for conveniency of hearing; it not being likely that so vast a congregation could distinctly hear one man’s voice. Or, by their stations, i.e. by the several stations of the Levites and persons last named; who seem to have had several scaffolds, by comparing this with Nehemiah 9:4, upon which they stood, as Ezra did upon his pulpit, Nehemiah 8:4. Nehemiah 9:4 these also
caused the people to understand the law; as well as Ezra; from whence it is plain that he did not only read the law, but gave the sense of it, especially where there was any seeming difficulty, and these men were assisting in the same work: and the people stood in their place; to hear the law read and explained; they did not move from their first station, but continued in it from morning to noon; they were both attentive and constant.Also Jeshua, and Bani, and Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodijah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, and the Levites, caused the people to understand the law: and the people stood in their place.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)7. Also Jeshua &c.] Of the 13 names here mentioned we find four, i.e. Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Hodiah, mentioned among the Levites in chap. Nehemiah 9:5, and seven, i.e. Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Hodiah, Kelita, Hanan, Pelaiah, among the Levites in chap. Nehemiah 10:9-14. Perhaps these seven were representative of Levitical houses, whose names they bore; if so, the remaining six mentioned here, whose names do not occur again, possibly represented branches of some other Levitical families mentioned under different collective names in chaps. 10 and 12. The LXX. here only gives the first three names.
Hodijah] R.V. Hodiah.
and the Levites] So the LXX. But 1 Esdr. οἱ Λευῖαι, Vulg. ‘Levitæ,’ omitting the copula which gives the better rendering. The ‘copula’ if the text is correct, must define the list of names just given in the sense of ‘even.’ The writer adds that they were Levites. The rendering ‘And the Levites’ in the sense of ‘And all the rest of the Levites’ would give a scene of confusion. For the use of the copula = ‘even,’ cf. Nehemiah 8:13. But very possibly the words have been interpolated.
caused the people … the law] i.e. they expounded what Ezra read. We must suppose that only short passages were read at a time.
stood in their place] Literally, ‘And the people were upon their standing.’ LXX. καὶ ὁ λαὸς ἐν τῇ στάσει αὐτοῦ. Cf. 2 Chronicles 30:16, ‘And they stood in their place,’ 2 Chronicles 35:10. It will be noticed that in this passage the Levites share with the priests the duty of instructing the people out of the Law; and we are led to infer that this was customary from the Chronicler’s statements in 2 Chronicles 15:3; 2 Chronicles 17:8-9; 2 Chronicles 35:3. In the Levitical law we only find the priests entrusted with this duty (Leviticus 10:10-11).Verse 7. - Joshua, Bani, Sherebiah, etc. Levitical families, not individual Levites (see Nehemiah 9:4, 5; Nehemiah 10:10-13; Nehemiah 12:8, etc.). And the Levites. i.e. "the rest of the Levites." Caused the people to understand the law. Expounding it, during pauses in the reading. The people stood in their place. Rather, "were in their place" - remained throughout the whole of the reading and exposition without quitting their places. It is not probable that they stood. Nehemiah 8:1-2. The public reading of the law. - Nehemiah 8:1-3. The introduction to this narrative (Nehemiah 7:73b-8:1a) is identical with Ezra 3:1. The same matter, the assembling of the people on the approach of the seventh month, is described in the same words. But the object of this assembling of the people was a different one from that mentioned in Ezra 3:1-13. Then they met to restore the altar of burnt-offering and the sacrificial worship; now, on the contrary, for the due solemnization of the seventh month, the festal month of the year. For this purpose the people came from the cities and villages of Judah to Jerusalem, and assembled "in the open space before the water-gate," i.e., to the south-east of the temple space. On the situation of the water-gate, see rem. on Nehemiah 3:26; Nehemiah 12:37., and Ezra 10:9. "And they spake unto Ezra the scribe" (see rem. on Ezra 7:11). The subject of ויּאמרוּ is the assembled people. These requested, through their rulers, that Ezra should fetch the book of the law of Moses, and publicly read it. This reading, then, was desired by the assembly. The motive for this request is undoubtedly to be found in the desire of the congregation to keep the new moon of the seventh month, as a feast of thanksgiving for the gracious assistance they had received from the Lord during the building of the wall, and through which it had been speedily and successfully completed, in spite of the attempts of their enemies to obstruct the work. This feeling of thankfulness impelled them to the hearing of the word of God for the purpose of making His law their rule of life. The assembly consisted of men and women indiscriminately (אשּׁה ועד אישׁ, like Joshua 6:21; Joshua 8:25; 1 Samuel 22:19; 1 Chronicles 16:3), and לשׁמע מבין כּל, every one that understood in hearing, which would certainly include the elder children. The first day of the seventh month was distinguished above the other new moons of the year as the feast of trumpets, and celebrated as a high festival by a solemn assembly and a cessation from labour; comp. Leviticus 23:23-25; Numbers 29:1-6.
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