Reading for Today:
- Nehemiah 8:1–9:38
- Proverbs 21:29-31
- Psalm 89:11-18
- Acts 27:27-44
Nehemiah 9:1 this month. Tishri (Sept./Oct.), 445 B.C. (7:73b; 8:2). with fasting, in sackcloth, and with dust. The outward demonstration of deep mourning and heaviness of heart for their iniquity seems to have been done in the spirit of the Day of Atonement which was normally observed on the tenth day of the seventh month (Lev. 16:1–34; 23:26–32).
Nehemiah 9:2 separated themselves from all foreigners. This call for divorcing all lawful wives taken from among the heathen was needed, since the last time, prompted 13 years before by Ezra, had only been partially successful. Many had escaped the required action of divorce and kept their pagan wives. Perhaps new defaulters had appeared, also, and were confronted for the first time with this necessary action of divorce. Nehemiah’s efforts were successful in removing this evil mixture.
Nehemiah 9:3 they stood…read…confessed and worshiped. The succession of events helped to reestablish the essential commitment of Israel to God and His law. They read for 3 hours about the sins of their fathers and for 3 more hours confessed that they had been partakers of similar evil deeds. In response to all of this, they worshiped.
Proverbs 21:29 The wicked become obstinate, maintaining what suits them without regard for others or the truth, while good people proceed with integrity.
Acts 27:27 fourteenth night. Since they sailed from Fair Havens (v. 13).Adriatic Sea. The central Mediterranean Sea, not the present Adriatic Sea located between Italy and Croatia. The modern Adriatic was known in Paul’s day as the Gulf of Adria. sensed. The sailors probably heard the sound of waves breaking on a shore.
Acts 27:28 took soundings. With a weight attached to a length of rope they measured the depth of the sea. twenty fathoms…fifteen fathoms. 120 feet…90 feet. The decreasing depth of the water confirmed the ship was approaching land.
Acts 27:42 the soldiers’ plan was to kill the prisoners. Knowing they could face punishment or death if their prisoners escaped (12:19; 16:27).
DAY 28: How do repentance from sin and rejoicing go together?
In response to the people’s request, Ezra brought the Law of the Lord to the people (Nehemiah 8:1).At this time, the Law was a scroll, as opposed to a text consisting of bound pages. Such a reading was required every 7 years at the Feast of Tabernacles (Deut. 31:10–13), even though it had been neglected since the Babylonian captivity until this occasion.
From daybreak to noon, a period of at least 6 hours, the Law was read and explained. Other men, probably priests, stood with Ezra to show agreement, and all of the people stood, as well (Neh. 8:5).This was in respect for God’s Word, as though they were in the presence of God Himself. Some of the Levites assisted Ezra with the people’s understanding of the Scripture by reading and explaining it (vv. 7, 8). This may have involved translation for people who were only Aramaic speakers in exile, but more likely it means “to break down” the text into its parts so that the people could understand it. This was an exposition or explanation of the meaning and not just translation.
When the people heard and understood God’s law, they wept (v. 9). Not tears of joy, but penitent sorrow (v. 10) came forth as they were grieved by conviction (v. 11) over the distressing manifestations of sin in transgressing the Lord’s commands and the consequent punishments they had suffered in their captivity.
The event called for a holy day of worship to prepare them for the hard days ahead (12:43), so they were encouraged to rejoice. The words they had heard did remind them that God punishes sin, but also that God blesses obedience. That was reason to celebrate. “Do not sorrow, for the joy of the LORD is your strength” (8:10). They had not been utterly destroyed as a nation, in spite of their sin, and were, by God’s grace, on the brink of a new beginning. That called for celebration.
From The MacArthur Daily Bible Copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson Bibles, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc, Nashville, TN 37214, www.thomasnelson.com.