After the wall had been built, the gates installed, Nehemiah sets over the city a governor with particular instructions (7:1-4). Nehemiah also looks into a list of those who returned from Babylon; he took note of not only who returned, but that some were not able to support their contention with regard to genealogy. *** A large gathering of the people was present as the Book of the Law was read by Ezra. It was during the 7th month that they gathered and heard the Book of the Law read; moreover, they observed the occasion to dwell on booths. So neglected was this (8:17), that it was worthy of a special note. “When it is said that since the days of Jeshua had not the children of Israel done so, we must understand, not that there had been no celebration of the feast of tabernacles since that time not even that there had been no celebration accompanied by ‘dwelling in booths,’ but only that there had been no such joyous and general celebration of the festival (comp. what is said in 2Kings 23:22 and 2Chronicles 35:18 of the passover kept in Josiah’s eighteenth year). It is the very great gladness that is especially insisted upon” (Pulpit, E-Sword).
Application: In 7:64 we notice that some could not serve the Lord in a particular way (as Levite priest) because they were unable to support the heritage. So important was God’s will to them they were not even going to think of compromising what he said. How unlike that for a great many people today, isn’t it? *** What kind of reverence do you have for God’s word (cf. 8:1-5)? Is your reverence to such a degree that when you hear it read (from the pulpit for instance) that your ears are attentive? Or, are you still “fumbling” around tending to other matters because you know this is a formality of the worship hour? Tuning our ears to hear to the holy word of God is very important, but after that if we tend to other matters without regard to and for God’s word, then what?