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AND the seventh month came: and the children of Israel were in their cities. And all the people were gathered together as one man to the street which is before the water gate, and they spoke to Esdras the scribe, to bring the book of the law of Moses, which the Lord had commanded to Israel.

Ver. 1.  Were in, or had been at home, (H.) after the dedication of the walls, (C.) till they assembled (H.) at the beginning of the civil year, on the feast of trumpets, which was a day of rejoicing, (v. 9.  Num. xxix. 1.) the festival of the new moon.  Riberia.  M.


--- Gate, near the temple.  C. iii. 26.  C.


--- Moses; the pentateuch.  M.


--- He is not desired to restore what was lost.  T.


--- As many copies had been preserved by the prophets, which Esdras revised.  W.

2 Then Esdras the priest brought the law before the multitude of men and women, and all those that could understand, in the first day of the seventh month.

Ver. 2.  Women, who were in a separate place.


--- Understand, being come to the use of reason.  C.

3 And he read it plainly in the street that was before the water gate, from the morning until midday, before the men, and the women, and all those that could understand: and the ears of all the people were attentive to the book.

Ver. 3.  In plainly.  Prot. "therein, before the street."  H.


--- Esdras probably read select pieces from Leviticus, &c. but principally from Deuteronomy.  M.

4 And Esdras the scribe stood upon a step of wood, which he had made to speak upon, and there stood by him Mathathias, and Semeia, and Ania, and Uria, and Helcia, and Maasia, on his right hand: and on the left, Phadaia, Misael, and Melchia, and Hasum, and Hasbadana, Zacharia and Mosollam.

Ver. 4.  Step.  Heb. "wooden tower."  C.


--- Prot. "pulpit," (H.) made in the form of a cup," (C.) like the cior, or tribune of Solomon.  2 Par. vi. 13.


--- Mosollam.  We should imagine that this was not the person who had given his daughter in marriage to the son of Tobias.  C. vi. 18.  H.


5 And Esdras opened the book before all the people: for he was above all the people: and when he had opened it, all the people stood.

Ver. 5.  Stood, out of respect, as we do while the gospel is read.  See Num. xxiii. 18.  C.

Esdras Reading The Law In The Hearing Of People

Esdras Reading The Law In The Hearing Of People

And Esdras opened the book before all the people: for he was above all the people: and when he had opened it, all the people stood.

6 And Esdras blessed the Lord the great God: and all the people answered, Amen, amen: lifting up their hands: and they bowed down, and adored God with their faces to the ground. 7 Now Josue, and Bani, and Serebia, Jamin, Accub, Sephtai, Odia, Maasia, Celtia, Azarias, Jozabed, Hanan, Phalaia, the Levites, made silence among the people to hear the law: end the people stood in their place. 8 And they read in the book of the law of God distinctly and plainly to be understood: and they understood when it was read.

Ver. 8.  Understood, by those who were near enough, and were skilled in Heb. (H.) though many began to forget that language; (C. xiii. 24.) and for their benefit, an explanation was given in Chaldee, (v. 9.; Calmet) or Syriac, the vulgar tongue after the captivity.  Pure Hebrew was still retained in the public liturgy.  T.


--- Thus the Catholic Church retains the use of the language first use in the conversion of the respective people, whether Greek, Latin, &c. while she takes care to explain to the people what is necessary, in their own language.  Any change might be attended with more serious inconveniences than benefit.  Our Saviour never blamed this practice, which subsisted among the Jews in his time, no more than that which obliged the people to keep without, while the priest offered incense, &c. Luke i. 10. 21.


--- And plainly.  Prot. "and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading," as much as they were able, though many would, no doubt, still find difficulties, as we at present.  H.

9 And Nehemias (he is Athersatha) and Esdras the priest and scribe, and the Levites who interpreted to all the people, said: This is a holy day to the Lord our God: do not mourn, nor weep: for all the people wept, when they heard the words of the law.

Ver. 9.  Interpreted.  S. Jerom renders the same term, made silence, (v. 7.) as it was the office of the Levites to keep the people in awe, v. 11.  C.


--- Prot. "taught."  They had also (H.) to instruct.  1 Esd. viii. 16.  M.


--- Weep.  The Jews had only one feast for mourning, the day of expiation.  On all the rest, a holy joy was commended.  For the same reason, the Church does not fast on such days.  C.


--- Law, reflecting on the threats denounced against transgressors, which they had so lately witnessed.  T.

10 And he said to them: Go, eat fat meats, and drink sweet wine, and send portions to them that have not prepared for themselves: because it is the holy day of the Lord, and be not sad: for the joy of the Lord is our strength.

Ver. 10.  Wine.  Heb. and Sept. "things."  Syr. and Arab. have simply, "drink."


--- Portions.  The Greeks styled them, merideV; and the Latins, sportulæ.  The custom prevailed not only among the Jews, (Est. ix. 19.) but also among Christians and pagans.  Moses frequently exhorts the people to invite the poor; (Deut. xvi. 14.) and S. Paul blames the rich Corinthians, for giving no part of their feast to them.  1 Cor. xi. 21.


--- Strength.  By this holy joy, we shall be encouraged to perform all our duties.  C.


--- Sept. "Be not downcast, because he (the Lord) is our strength."  H.

11 And the Levites stilled all the people, saying: Hold your peace, for the day is holy, and be not sorrowful. 12 So all the people went to eat and drink, and to send portions, and to make great mirth: because they understood the words that he had taught them.
13 And on the second day the chiefs of the families of all the people, the priests, and the Levites were gathered together to Esdras the scribe, that he should interpret to them the words of the law.

Ver. 13.  Law, concerning some difficulties, particularly the manner of keeping the ensuing festival.  T.


--- Thus Christ explained to his disciples what he had spoken to the people.  H.

14 And they found written in the law, that the Lord had commanded by the hand of Moses, that the children of Israel should dwell in tabernacles, on the feast, in the seventh month: 15 And that they should proclaim and publish the word in all their cities, and in Jerusalem, saying: Go forth to the mount, and fetch branches of olive, and branches of beautiful wood, branches of myrtle, and branches of palm, and branches of thick trees, to make tabernacles, as it is written.

Ver. 15.  And that.  This is not expressed in the law, though it was probably practised.  C.


--- Some translate, "And they proclaimed," &c.  Vatable.


--- Beautiful.  Lit. "very or most beautiful."  H.


--- Heb. "of oily wood."  Sept. "cypress."  Syr. "nut-tree."  Others understand the pine, (Pagnin) balm, (Mariana) citron, (H.) or any other species of branches, which might then be used.  C.  T.

16 And the people went forth, and brought. And they made themselves tabernacles every man on the top of his house, and in their courts, and in the courts of the house of God, and in the street of the water gate, and in the street of the gate of Ephraim.

Ver. 16.  House, which was flat.  H.


--- The tents might be erected in any place; in the open air.  T.

17 And all the assembly of them that were returned from the captivity, made tabernacles, and dwelt in tabernacles: for since the days of Josue the son of Nun the children of Israel had not done so, until that day: and there was exceeding great joy.

Ver. 17.  Done so, with such alacrity, though they had displayed more magnificence.  See the meaning of similar expressions, 4 K. xxiii. 22.  C.


18 And he read in the book of the law of God day by day, from the first day till the last, and they kept the solemnity seven days, and in the eighth day a solemn assembly according to the manner.

Ver. 18.  Assembly.  Lit. "the collect."  H.


--- Heb. "the day of retention;" the people being kept at the temple.  C.


--- Sept. "the dismission;" as they were afterwards permitted to depart.  H.


--- See Lev. xxiii. 26.


--- It was probably on this occasion, that the sacred fire was found again; (2 Mac. i. 18.  C.) and also the ark, the tabernacle, and the altar of incense, which had been hidden by Jeremias.  2 Mac. ii. 4.  Torniel, A. 3610.  Cano, &c.


--- But this is not so certain.  H.  C. Diss.

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