And all the people gathered themselves together as one man into the street that was before the water gate…
The public reading and exposition of the law of Moses in the presence of all the people as soon as possible after their settlement in their cities and the rebuilding of Jerusalem.
I. THE PEOPLE WANT, and must have, THE SCRIPTURES BOTH FAMILIARISED BY REPETITION AND EXPOUNDED, that they may "have the sense, and understand the reading."
1. As individuals. The law of God the true foundation on which the life must be built up. In that law is not only the will of God, but his mercy. The Scriptures make wise to salvation. The law was the root out of which the gospel came.
2. As a commonwealth. The Bible the true law of nations and communities.
3. As families. The men, women, and children were there together. God has provided his word for our household life. Those who neglect its reading in the house neglect the best support of parental authority, the truest bond of love, and the fountain of consolation and joy. The only real education is that which acknowledges the Scriptures as its basis. All popular reformation and advancement has been achieved with the written word as the instrument.
II. GREAT GATHERINGS ARE OPPORTUNITIES FOR GREAT IMPRESSIONS, AND LARGE RESULTS MAY BE OBTAINED BY THEM. Street preaching may effect more than any other on some occasions. The great reformers of Israel were too much in earnest to pay much heed to sanctities of place. They wanted a large enough assembly to be a true representation of the people. The reading and preaching of God's word can never be dispensed with.
III. MINISTERS MUST BE MEN WHO CAN HELP THE PEOPLE TO HEAR ATTENTIVELY AND UNDERSTAND THE WORD OF GOD. They have no right to occupy Ezra's place unless they have Ezra's qualification, and they should be both literally and figuratively "above all the people." There were many with the chief reader who doubtless read and expounded in their turns. What is wanted is not that official dignity should be saved at any price, but that the people should hear and understand. We want more good readers and preachers.
IV. When we call the people together in the spirit of faith, "blessing the Lord, the great God," and putting truth before them in his name, THERE WILL BE A READY AND HEARTY RESPONSE. The people said, Amen, Amen; lifted up their hands, bowed their heads, worshipped with their faces to the ground. We should expect such response. - R.
Parallel VersesKJV: And all the people gathered themselves together as one man into the street that was before the water gate; and they spake unto Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses, which the LORD had commanded to Israel.
WEB: All the people gathered themselves together as one man into the broad place that was before the water gate; and they spoke to Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses, which Yahweh had commanded to Israel.