Nehemiah Chapter 8  PDF  MSWord

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Go to Bible: Nehemiah 8
Neh 8:1

“the Law of Moses.” The Hebrew is “the torah of Moses,” where “torah” is much more than “law.” The torah involves instruction in many different ways (see commentary on Prov. 1:8).

Neh 8:2(top)
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Neh 8:6

“kneeled and worshiped.” The kneeling preceded bowing down to the ground. The two actions, kneeling and then bowing to the ground blended into one act of homage or worship. The common biblical way of bowing down before people or God was to fall to one’s knees and bow the upper body and face to the earth. Also, instead of “bowed down and worshiped,” the text could be translated, “kneeled and bowed down,” with “kneeling” being understood as part of the process of bowing down, and “bowing down” was the act of worship. The same Hebrew verb, shachah (#07812 שָׁחָה), is translated as both “bow down” and “worship;” traditionally “worship” if God is involved and “bow down” if people are involved, but the verb and action are the same, the act of bowing down is the worship.

[For more on bowing down, see commentary on 1 Chronicles 29:20.]

Neh 8:7(top)
Neh 8:8(top)
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Neh 8:17

“Joshua the son of Nun.” This is Joshua, but the Hebrew text here spells it “Jeshua.” The reason for the different spelling is not known.

“had not celebrated in that way.” The Hebrew reads more literally, “had not done so,” or “had not done this way” (cp. “done this,” CJB; “not celebrated like this,” CSB, NLT, cp. NIV). The Israelites had kept the Feast of Tabernacles before, but not in this way that so fully fulfilled the Law. C. F. Keil writes, “The text only states that since the days of Joshua the whole community had not so celebrated it, i.e., had not dwelt in booths. Neither do the words imply that since the days of Joshua to that time no booths at all had been made at the celebration of the feast of tabernacles, but only that this had not been done by the whole congregation. On former occasions, those who came up to Jerusalem may have regarded this precept as non-essential….”a It is also possible that the Feast of Tabernacles had lost its connection to the fact that the booths were to remind people that the Israelites lived in booths when they left Egypt, but the reading of the Law brought that into everyone’s mind and so the connection between the Exodus from Egypt and the exodus from the Babylonian Captivity made this particular annual feast especially meaningful to these Israelitesb.

Keil & Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament, 3:234.
H. G. M. Williamson, Ezra-Nehemiah [WBC].
Neh 8:18(top)

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