The people renew their covenant with God

Neh 8-10   Ezra the priest calls the people together and they re-dedicate themselves to the worship of the LORD, the one true God.

 

The Renewal of the Law

After the walls of Jerusalem had been rebuilt in 445BC, Ezra the priest (who had arrived in Jerusalem with the third group of exiles in 458BC – see Ezra 7:8) called the people together in the square by the Water Gate (see Map 61). Standing beside Nehemiah, the governor, he read the Book of the Law of Moses, explained its meaning and described the religious practices required of the returned exiles.

 

Sefer Torah at Glockengasse Synagogue, Cologne (Willy Horst)

Sefer Torah at Glockengasse Synagogue, Cologne (Willy Horst)

 

The people were deeply moved, intent on following the LORD, and resolved to keep the Jewish religious Law. They collected branches from the surrounding hill country and erected ‘booths’ (small shelters where they could sleep outdoors overnight) to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles in October 445BC. This feast had been initiated to remember how the Israelites had camped in temporary shelters after the LORD had brought them out of slavery in Egypt almost exactly a thousand years earlier (see Leviticus 23:33-43).

After the joyful festival celebrations ended, the people came together again to confess their sins and the wrongdoings of their forefathers. They renewed their covenant with the LORD and promised to follow him faithfully.

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