Nehemiah 8:10
Then Nehemiah told them, "Go and eat what is rich, drink what is sweet, and send out portions to those who have nothing prepared, since today is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength."
The Joy of the Lord, the Strength of His PeopleCharles Haddon Spurgeon Nehemiah 8:10
All the Bible WantedGreat ThoughtsNehemiah 8:1-12
Attention and Retention of Divine TruthChristian AgeNehemiah 8:1-12
Constant AttentionWilliam Sharp.Nehemiah 8:1-12
Ezra Expounding the LawExpository OutlinesNehemiah 8:1-12
Familiarity with the Bible; its DangerD. J. Burrell, D. D.Nehemiah 8:1-12
Hearty Appreciation of God's WordF. C. Monfort, D. D.Nehemiah 8:1-12
Improper Hearing of the ScripturesJ. Spencer.Nehemiah 8:1-12
Reading the LawMonday Club SermonsNehemiah 8:1-12
Reading the LawW. Elliot Griffis.Nehemiah 8:1-12
The Instructor in the LawW. Ritchie.Nehemiah 8:1-12
The Oldest PulpitHomilistNehemiah 8:1-12
The Open-Air MeetingW. P. Lockhart.Nehemiah 8:1-12
The Reading of the LawMonday Club SermonsNehemiah 8:1-12
The Scriptures Related to Revivals of ReligionSunday SchoolNehemiah 8:1-12
The Word of God in a Threefold RelationshipJ.S. Exell Nehemiah 8:1-18
Penitence Turned into PraiseR.A. Redford Nehemiah 8:8-12
Christian JoyJ. W. Burn.Nehemiah 8:9-10
Christian Joy an Inspiration to OthersJ. Robertson.Nehemiah 8:9-10
Christian SympathyH. Allen, M. A.Nehemiah 8:9-10
Conspicuous Christian JoyDr. Fergus Ferguson.Nehemiah 8:9-10
God's Joy Our StrengthA. Mackennal.Nehemiah 8:9-10
God's Tonic of GladnessR. E. Welsh, M. A.Nehemiah 8:9-10
Inreasing JoyF. Harper, M. A.Nehemiah 8:9-10
JoyW. H. M. H. Aitken, M. A.Nehemiah 8:9-10
Joy a StrengthHugh S. Carpenter, D. D.Nehemiah 8:9-10
Joy in Christ Jesus Our LordBp. Dehon.Nehemiah 8:9-10
Joy in Jewish WorshipNehemiah 8:9-10
Joy in the Lord a Source of StrengthW. T. Sabine.Nehemiah 8:9-10
Joy of the LordHomiletic ReviewNehemiah 8:9-10
Joy Our StrengthF. Trench.Nehemiah 8:9-10
On Religious JoyCongregational RemembrancerNehemiah 8:9-10
On Religious Joy, as Giving Strength and Support to VirtueH. Blair, D. D.Nehemiah 8:9-10
Pure Joy an InspirationT. Campbell Finlayson.Nehemiah 8:9-10
Religious HappinessNehemiah 8:9-10
Religious JoyC. G. E. Appleyard, B. A.Nehemiah 8:9-10
Sources of HappinessW. J. Hocking.Nehemiah 8:9-10
Spiritual JoyJ. H. Evans.Nehemiah 8:9-10
Strength and JoyHomilistNehemiah 8:9-10
Strengthening Influence of Christian JoyHomiletic ReviewNehemiah 8:9-10
The Christian in His Spiritual JoysW. Jay.Nehemiah 8:9-10
The Duty and Utility of Christian JoyBp. Woodford.Nehemiah 8:9-10
The Gospel of JoyG. Maxwell, B. A.Nehemiah 8:9-10
The Joy of a ChristianJ. M. Randall.Nehemiah 8:9-10
The Joy of God the Strength of MenJ. Clifford, D. D.Nehemiah 8:9-10
The Joy of ReligionR. J. Campbell.Nehemiah 8:9-10
The Joy of the LordCharles Leach, D. D.Nehemiah 8:9-10
The Joy of the LordA. Maclaren, D. D.Nehemiah 8:9-10
The Joy of the Lord Continues in SorrowJ. R. Miller, D. D.Nehemiah 8:9-10
The Joy of the Lord in the Hour of DeathJ. Entwistle.Nehemiah 8:9-10
The Joy of the Lord is Your StrengthG. F. Galaher, M. A.Nehemiah 8:9-10
The Joy of the Lord Our StrengthNehemiah 8:9-10
The Joy of the Lord the Christian's StrengthH. Melvill, B. D.Nehemiah 8:9-10
The Joy of the Lord the Strength of His PeopleSpurgeon, Charles HaddonNehemiah 8:9-10
The Nature and Effects of a True Believer's JoyA. Roberts, M. A.Nehemiah 8:9-10
The Strength of Divine JoyE. L. Hull, B. A.Nehemiah 8:9-10
True Penitence and Spasmodic EmotionA. Mackennal.Nehemiah 8:9-10
Religious EmotionW. Clarkson Nehemiah 8:9-12

The scene through which the redeemed and now secured nation was passing was fruitful of excitement. Everything conspired to affect the minds and stir the souls of the people. Large multitudes are soon wrought into intense feeling, and all that the assembled Israelites were then seeing, hearing, and doing, - this, taken with all they. recalled of old scenes and past glories, and these experiences and recollections mingled with reviving hopes of future freedom, - all together moved and swayed their souls with powerful emotion; and "all the people wept" (ver. 9). It was an interesting instance of religious emotion, and what followed teaches us -

I. THAT RELIGIOUS EMOTION MUST BE MANFULLY CONTROLLED (ver. 9). Nehemiah and Ezra, and "the Levites that taught the people, said unto all the people, This day is holy unto the Lord your God; mourn not, nor weep" (ver. 9). "So the Levites stilled all the people, saying, Hold your peace, for the day is holy; neither be ye grieved" (ver. 11). Emotion needs control and correction when -

1. It is in danger of being carried to excess. Under some circumstances, such as these of the text, when a very large number of people were all agitated by the same feelings, and each communicated something of his own enthusiasm to his neighbour, it is in serious danger of running into mere physical excitement. Such nervous excitement is perilous, for -

(1) It deludes the hearts of men with the idea that they are intensely religious when they are the subjects of a bodily rather than a spiritual affection.

(2) It often carries its subjects to religious and even bodily excesses, which are both guilty and harmful. All religious emotion is, on this ground, to be carefully controlled. It has its place and its use in the Church of Christ, in the spreading of the kingdom; but it is a thing to be watched and guarded in the interests of morality and religion. It needs correction when -

2. It takes a wrong direction. Weeping was ill-timed on this occasion. It was a "day holy unto the Lord" (ver. 9); they were "not to mourn nor weep." It was unbecoming the occasion. At such a time the air should not be burdened with sighs and groans; it should be resonant with shouts and songs. Often our religious emotion is misplaced, ill-timed: we lament when God would have us "sing with joy," or we make ourselves merry when we have reason to humble ourselves in the dust.

II. THAT JOY SHOULD BE THE PREVAILING NOTE IN OUR RELIGIOUS EMOTION (ver. 10). "This day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the Lord is your strength" (ver. 10). It was not in accordance with the law and the will of God that sorrow should be associated with a holy day. The high priest, with "holiness to the Lord" on his mitre, was not allowed to mourn as others might, or when others did (Leviticus 10:6; Leviticus 21:10). Sin and sorrow, holiness and joy, these are the right companions. "With the voice of joy and praise" we should "keep holyday" (Psalm 42:4). With rejoicing hearts, full of the joy of thankfulness and hope, we should sit down to the table of the Lord. "Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice" (Philippians 4:4). Joy, one of the "fruits of the Spirit," is commended to us with a fulness and frequency in the word of God which may well make us ask ourselves whether we are not negligent in this matter. Joy in Christ Jesus is a grace

(1) which we are repeatedly summoned to show;

(2) which makes us resemble him as he is, crowned with glory and joy;

(3) desirable for its own sake, as obviously, intrinsically better than either sorrow or apathy;

(4) which is a sign and source of spiritual strength. The joy of the Lord is our strength (ver. 10). It is so, for it is both the sign and the source of it.

1. It is the utterance of our spiritual nature; not when it is weak through sin, but when made whole through the power of Christ, and when the "power of Christ" most rests upon us.

2. It is an incentive and encouragement to ourselves to proceed in the path of heavenly wisdom. The Christian man of downcast spirit and dreary views must be under a constant temptation to leave the path; but he who finds not only rest and peace in Christ, but also "joys in God, and delights himself m the service of his Saviour, has the strongest inducement to walk on in the way of life.

3. It is the means of usefulness to others. They who are "in Christ" would be "strong in the Lord," and they would be strong in him that they may be strong for him, extending his kingdom, and winning souls to his side. But how become thus strong for him? By the simple, natural exhibition of a joyous spirit in all spheres and relationships; by constraining the wife, the husband, the children, the servants, the fellow-workmen, etc., to feel that the knowledge of God as a heavenly Father reconciled in Christ Jesus, - the trust, the love, the hope which are in him, - that this does gladden the spirit and brighten the life as nothing else can. By so doing we shall be strong for Christ. The joy of the Lord will prove to be our strength.


1. A right channel it finds in "eating and drinking fat and sweet things," so that this be characterised by

(1) moderation, self-restraint, and

(2) thankfulness the recognition of the hand of the great Giver of all good. But,

2. A better channel in "sending portions to them for whom nothing is prepared" (ver. 10). Better far to feel that we are loading another's table with sweet things where they are seldom found than to be helping ourselves to the most delicious morsels from our own; no source of happiness at once so sure and so pure as in being like the bountiful Father, and opening the hand to satisfy the wants of those who are in need. - C.

And all the people gathered themselves together as one man into the street.
God has evermore blessed His own Word as the chosen instrument of all revival and progress in His Church. It was in this faith of the power of Bible truth in the hand of the Holy Spirit that Nehemiah here sought to instruct the remnant of Judah in the Divine law. His past labours for the good of Jerusalem had chiefly tended to inspire his brethren with patriotic love, and to surround the holy city with a material defence. But his affection for Zion had, from the beginning, higher aims than these; and henceforth his endeavours move in a loftier sphere. He rises now above the work of setting dead stones into a strong wail around the city of God, and labours to place holy affections in the hearts of its people, that they may be adorned with the beauties of the Lord's own Israel. To secure these great ends, the first and highest means he employs is the diffusion of the knowledge of the Holy Scriptures. He perceived, no doubt, that many of the children of Judah needed much this instruction in the law of the Lord. They had been long scattered abroad in strange lands, far away from temple privileges, and were on this account sadly defective in their knowledge of the Divine Word.

I. THE ASSEMBLY OF ISRAEL CONVENED. The persons who presided in this assembly deserve our notice. When God raises up a great man to perform an important work He usually associates another with him of a kindred spirit, who, though endowed with different gifts, is a helper in the good cause. The defects of the one are thus counterbalanced by the graces of the other, and religion is promoted by their mutual co-operation. In the redemption of Israel from the house of bondage Moses and Aaron were united in the common enterprise. And so, in this revival of Judah, Nehemiah and Ezra are joined together; and, through means of the energy of the man of action, coupled with the influence of the man of sacred study, God blesses Zion with His quickening and restoring grace. It is an honour to the youthful Nehemiah that, though invested with ruling power in the holy city, he gives place to the ministers of the sanctuary in their proper work of teaching. These two servants of God, presiding in this great congregation of Israel, differed much from each other in age, in office, in rank, in character; but they were one in heart, and they join here in complete harmony of action for the revival of their beloved Zion. God in nature makes full provision for diversity of elements and forces co-operating together for a common result. And God in the Church also provides for different men looking on revealed truth with free thought and honest heart, where the shades of belief may vary like the colours of the rainbow, but all blend under the power of love, into a pure white ray as from the parent orb. The time at which this assembly was held also merits our consideration. "They gathered themselves together on the first day of the seventh month" (vers. 1, 2). This was emphatically the sacred month of the Jewish year, during which the most touching and impressive ceremonies of their law were observed.

1. It was a full assembly. "All the people gathered themselves together as one man." They were all there, and they were there all of one heart. In times of spiritual indifference and decay the ways of Zion mourn because few come to her solemn feasts. The Great Physician is present to heal them, but they, the dying patients, are not there to be made whole.

2. It was an earnest assembly. "They spake unto Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses, which the Lord had commanded to Israel."

3. It was an attentive assembly. "Ezra the priest brought the law before the congregation, and read therein from the morning until mid-day, before the men and the women; and the ears of all the people were attentive unto the book of the law." This deep attention to His truth is demanded as an act of reverence to God who speaks it. It is reckoned an affront for any one to turn his back on an earthly sovereign or converse with others while the king is addressing words of importance to all in his presence. Besides, men require to give earnest heed to the Word of life in order to derive saving benefit from it! Alas! many give attendance on the Word who do not give attention to it. Gospel truth is a means of persuasion to repentance, but if attention to the Word of conviction is suffered to waver the blessing will in all likelihood be lost. It is difficult with an arrow, however well aimed, to strike a bird on the wing that rapidly changes its flight in the air; and so it is not easy to fix the arrow of conviction in the heart that flits meanwhile from thought to thought, inattentive to the Word.

4. It was a devout assembly. "Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God. And all the people answered, Amen, Amen, with lifting up their hands; and they bowed their heads, and worshipped the Lord with their faces to the ground." This devout frame of mind is essential to full spiritual profit in Divine worship for hearing the truth.

II. THE DIVINE KNOWLEDGE CONVEYED. Ezra was chief among the teachers of Israel in this great assembly, and his eminent gifts fitted him for this position. He is elsewhere distinguished as "a ready scribe in the law of Moses"; he possessed a true love for it, an intimate acquaintance with it, and a profound knowledge of it. "For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments."

1. The instruction here embraced an exposition of the law. "So they read in the book of. the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading."

2. The instruction comprised exhortation to present duty. "By the law is the knowledge of sin." "For all the people wept when they heard the words of the law." These, with them, were tears both of alarm and compunction — of apprehension for the consequences of their sin and godly sorrow on account of it. It was an expression of deep anxiety, in view of their spiritual danger, as revealed in God's Word. Some men insinuate that all such agitation about the state of the soul is questionable, and not consistent with rational piety. Shall it be deemed reasonable that tears may freely flow on account of temporal bereavements and losses and no sorrow be expressed in fear of everlasting ruin? Observe, then, how nobly Nehemiah here appears to give direction and counsel to his people, mourning all of them for their iniquity: "This day is holy unto the Lord your God; mourn not, nor weep." It is not implied that their sorrow was altogether wrong or without foundation, but it was out of time end defective in its views of the Divine mercy. It might not take too lowly a view of their own sinfulness, but it was wanting in a believing apprehension of the loving-kindness of the Lord, their covenant God. This is needful caution for awakened ones, to make sure that they exercise the full look of faith upward to grace as well as downward to guilt. This counsel to Judah not to weep prepares the way, and then follows this threefold call for relieving their sorrows: "Go your way, cat the fat and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy unto our Lord; neither be ye sorry: for the joy of the Lord is your strength." This is first a call to assuage their griefs in social enjoyment of the gifts of Providence. It is not best always to seek to cure sorrow by reasoning against it; it is often more effectual to meet it with a counteracting joy; and this is the course here followed by this "son of consolation." This is a call, moreover, to relieve sorrow by the exercise of benevolence to poor brethren. "Send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared." To inherit the full blessing of life it is not enough to partake of the comforts of Providence; there requires to be joined with this a compassionate charity to the needy and the destitute. This compassion of the needy sanctifies all the enjoyments of life. It possesses a wonderful power of removing the load of sorrow from the giver's heart and of chasing the cloud of sadness from his brow.

(W. Ritchie.)

We see here —







(W. P. Lockhart.)

And Ezra the priest brought the law before the congregation
1. The people of Jerusalem, like the disciples at Pentecost, were of one accord, in one place. Their hearts were inclined to God's testimonies.

2. The standing position is one of respect. Men stand before their superiors. Moses before Pharaoh, Daniel before Nebuchadnezzar.

3. The messages of a king are entitled to respect. I once witnessed the reception of a royal message by the Parliament of Prussia. As the messenger entered the hall and the royal seal was broken "all the people stood up." Officers, members, and visitors by one impulse rose to hear the writing of their king. A like impulse moved the people before whom Ezra brought the law.

4. A proper appreciation of God's Word is necessary to spiritual success.

5. Respect for God's Word involves respect for His day. It is interesting, in this age of Sabbath desecration, to notice that in the revival of Jewish institutions the observance of the fourth commandment was enforced both among Jews and unbelievers.

6. Respect for God's Word also involves respect for His worship (vers. 14-16). Worship will be a delight.

7. Religion is not only joyous, but unselfish.

8. Respect for God's Word involves respect for all His commandments.

9. A proper appreciation of the Bible is possible only as its Divine authorship and object are recognised.

10. The object of the Bible is to reveal God and the duty He requires of men.

11. How are we to show our appreciation of the Bible? Our duty is to receive and use it. The whole mind suet soul must lay hold of and appropriate its truths. It must be esteemed above all books, and its decisions recognised as final, a wealthy gentleman, having built him a library, placed in it, on a pedestal high above all the shelves, a copy of the Bible. We should do for the sacred volume what he signified by this act. We should give it also a place in our affections — such a place as it had in the heart of the Scotch girl, who, when driven from her burning home, cared first for her copy of the Scriptures.

12. We do appreciate the Bible. We read it at family prayers, and in our closets, and learn verses, and hear it on Sabbath from the pulpit. I have heard that when, in a long war, the city of Haarlem had been desolated by fire and sword, the news of peace was a long letter, which a feeble old man read from a window. His voice could scarcely be heard, yet the people gave profound attention. When the Bible is read men should listen as those burghers listened.

13. The best acceptance of such news is an acceptance of the relief it brings. So the best appreciation of the Bible is an acceptance of its salvation in Christ.

14. Respect for God's Word places it above all creeds and criticism.

15. Respect for God's Word also demands that it be handled reverently. This condemns all trifling with God's truth. All puns, parodies, and riddles based upon misquotation of the Scriptures are hereby condemned.

(F. C. Monfort, D. D.)

Monday Club Sermons.
I. A NEGLECTED DIVINE ORDINANCE MAY BE RESTORED AS A CHANNEL OF DIVINE GRACE. Is there not a suggestion in this incident of how we may often return to methods of service, to means of grace that have been passed by, as useful for the present time? Certain truths have been allowed to remain in the background for a time which may be wisely pressed at another. Currents never carry all that floats on their surface to the sea. Much is left on the banks of the channel. So currents of thought in any age or time do not carry forward all that is valuable. There are cargoes of flotsam and jetsam that will reward the wreckers along the shore.



(Monday Club Sermons.)

Concerning "the book, in the law of God," and the giving of the sense to the people, we remark in explanation —

I. THE ACTUAL SPEECH IN WHICH THE GOSPEL WAS FIRST UTTERED BY JESUS AND PROCLAIMED BY THE APOSTLES AMONG THE ISRAELITES IS HERE, PROBABLY FOR THE FIRST TIME, PUBLICLY PUT TO SACRED USE. The old Hebrew language in which the law was written had become, when the exile was over, the tongue of the learned. It was unknown to the common people, as that of Spencer and Chaucer is unknown to us. Interpreters were necessary. Ezra knew the need, and provided for it. The Levites gave the sense and caused the people to understand the reading.

II. IN THIS EVENT WE BEHOLD THE RISE OF THE SYNAGOGUE AND OF SYSTEMATIC BIBLE STUDY. From the time of Ezra the temple gradually retired into the background, and the synagogue came into prominence. The pulpit and sermons were institutions. The soul was nurtured by Bible study. Less and less did the priests wield power in the regions beyond Jerusalem, and more and more did the congregations or synagogues become like our best modern prayer-meetings, where speech and devotional service are free. When Christianity spread over the world the synagogue was its cradle. Every. where the apostles found first welcome here and the place and privilege of preaching Christ. In the substitution of prayer for sacrifice, in the triumph of moral over mechanical functions of worship, we see a tremendous advance, and read for our times an inspiring lesson.

(W. Elliot Griffis.)

Monday Club Sermons.
In this scene are suggested —


1. The simple proclamation of the law of God.

2. The statement of God's work in human history.

3. The earnest utterance of intelligent faith.


1. An aroused interest.

2. A prayerful spirit.

3. Listening with the resolve to obey.


1. Love for the law makes noble men.

2. Honouring the law insures the prosperity of the Church.

(Monday Club Sermons.)

Expository Outlines.
I. A LARGE GATHERING. There are two important advantages connected with a numerous congregation over one that is thinly attended.

1. It gives an opportunity for more extensive usefulness. We grant that there is not a little to encourage even those whose hearers are few, "For where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them." "A sportsman," says Jay, "has fired into a flight of birds and not killed one, and he has killed one when he had only one to aim at." That maybe true; but on the other hand, if two anglers went forth with rod and line to spend a day in fishing, it would be naturally expected that the largest number would be caught by him who had secured a pond where fish were abundant, rather than by the other, who had toiled from morning till night in a place where they were scarce.

2. Large congregations possess a peculiar power of stimulating those who have to address them. Probably the man has never yet lived who could long be an orator before a small assembly. Even Cicero could not deliver his famous oration in behalf of the poet Archias, though addressed to a single man, without having all that was learned and great in Rome to listen to him. Those who love the means of grace should do all they can to induce their friends and neighbours to attend.




V. A DEVOUT, EARNEST, AND REVERENTIAL, GATHERING. To stand in awe of God's holy Word, whenever it is read and expounded in our hearing, indicates a right state of mind; and those who are thus influenced are regarded by God with approval and delight (Isaiah 66:2).


(Expository Outlines.)

Sunday School.
Every great revival of religion has had its beginning in this hunger for the Word, and has been permanent and widespread exactly in proportion as it has been rooted in the Scriptures. There is Wickliffe, frightened like the rest of the nation by the plague that had swept from Asia to Europe, and now had burst upon England, sounding in the ears of men like the trump of the judgment day. Lying in his cell poring over the pages of an old Latin Bible, he finds the truth that fills his soul with the sweetness of God's peace and the music of heaven. At once he began to translate passages of the blessed book into English, and sent them forth by his "poor priests," as they were called, to be read as best they might amongst the peasants of England; and so came the dawning of the day of God upon our land. Thus, too, was it that the later reformation had its birth. Erasmus had sent to Cambridge his new translation of the Greek Testament; and a copy of it comes into the hands of "Little Bilney," who tells us how that on the first reading of it he chanced on these words, "It is a faithful saying, and worthy of all men to be embraced, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief." "These words," says he, "by God's inward working did so lift up my poor bruised spirit, that the very bones within me leapt for joy and gladness." Then forthwith, he, unable to keep the sweet secret to himself, goes to confess his soul to Father Latimer, and pours out the story of his great discovery, how that being justified by faith he has peace with God through the Lord Jesus Christ; and thus Latimer was led into the light, and became the great preacher of the English Reformation. And Luther, more slowly, but no less surely, is led by the study of the Word of God to the great truth which comes back again to him, as from the lips of God, whilst crawling up the steps of the sacred stairs in Rome, "The just shall live by faith." It was two hundred years later that a little meeting was being held in Aldersgate Street, London, where one was reading Luther's Preface to the Romans; and amongst the company was one who, as he listens, tells us that he felt his heart strangely warned: "I did trust in Christ, Christ alone, for salvation," says he, "and an assurance was given me that He had taken away my sins, even mine." So was it that John Wesley went forth to claim the whole world for his parish(and uplift the nation by the Word of truth, the gospel of our salvation.

(Sunday School.)

Suppose a company of people coming, not to an elbow, but to a working goldsmith's shop; one buys a chain, another a diamond ring; this buys a jewel, that a rich piece of plate; and that there should be one amongst them so self-conceited, should take up a coal from off the floor, and handle it so long, till he had all besmeared his fingers, refusing what the shop afforded, so as he might but have that coal along with him. Were not this great absurdity? Yet such and more is the condition of those captious hearers of God's Word, that while others carry away good and wholesome doctrine, precious promises, such as is food for their souls, they come only to carp and catch at their minister, that so they may more easily traduce him, and brand him with the black coal of infamy and disgrace.

(J. Spencer.)

Great Thoughts.
A little blind girl in Cairo, who had read a copy of the Psalms in Arabic, by the aid of Dr. Moon's "Alphabet for the Blind," sent a message by a gentleman who was coming to England, "Please tell Dr. Moon, when you see him, I am so hungry, I want all the Bible."

(Great Thoughts.)

There were no listless or indifferent ones among them. They had been so long without the Word of God that their appetites were whetted. We are so familiar with it that possibly we are not as sensitive to its Divineness as we should be. Our familiarity induces a measure of indifference. The settlers of Arizona walled over their fields for years without knowing that untold treasures of precious ore lay just below the surface. Thus we treat our Bibles as we treat other books; but other books are mere pasture-land, while this is a goldfield.

(D. J. Burrell, D. D.)

And the ears of all the people were attentive unto the book of the law
One of Mr. Browning's particular pleasures was to lie beside a hedge, or deep in meadow grasses, or under a tree, and there to give himself up so absolutely to the life of the moment that even the shy birds would alight close by, and sometimes venturesomely poise themselves upon his body. I have heard him say that his faculty of observation would not have appeared despicable to an Iroquois Indian. He saw everything — the bird on the wing, the snail dragging its shell up the wood, bine, the bee adding to his golden treasure, the green fly darting hither and thither like an animated seedling, the spider weaving her gossamer from twig to twig, the woodpecker scrutinising the lichen on the gnarled oak, the passage o! the wind across the grass, the motions and shadows of the clouds. And his own words are "Keep but ever looking, whether with the body's eye or the mind's, and you will soon find something to look on!"

(William Sharp.)

Christian Age.
It is related that Gotthold had for some purpose taken from a cupboard a phial of rose-water, and, after using it, inconsiderately left it unstopped. Observing it some time after, he found that all the strength and sweetness of the perfume had evaporated. Here, thought he, is a striking emblem of a heart fond of the world and open to the impression of outward objects. What good does it do to take such a heart to the house of God, and there fill it with the precious essence of the roses of paradise, which are the truths of Scripture? What good to kindle in a glow of devotion, if we afterward neglect to close the outlet — that is, keeping the Word in an honest and good heart? (Luke 8:15). How vain to hear much, but to retain little, and practise less! How vain to experience within us sacred and holy emotions, unless we are afterward careful to close the heart by careful and diligent reflection and prayer, and so keep it unspotted from the world[ Neglect this duty, and the whole strength and spirit of devotion evaporates and leaves only a lifeless froth behind.

(Christian Age.)

And Ezra the scribe stood upon a pulpit of wood
We offer three remarks upon this old pulpit.

I. IT WAS OCCUPIED BY DULY QUALIFIED MEN. Ezra the priest and scribe, with thirteen other Levites, occupied this pulpit. They were the recognised teachers of Israel. Who is the duly qualified preacher of the truth? The man who is superior to the people in mental capability, spiritual intelligence, and practical godliness, having the power to convey his thoughts acceptably, and with propriety and force.


1. It Was a congregation disposed to hear.

2. It was a congregation competent to understand.

3. It was a congregation deeply interested in the discourse.

4. It was a congregation inspired with religious reverence.


1. It imparted spiritual instruction.

2. It made a deep religious impression.

3. It stimulated a practical godliness.


Akkub, Anaiah, Azariah, Bani, Ezra, Hanan, Hashbadana, Hashum, Hilkiah, Hodiah, Hodijah, Israelites, Jamin, Jeshua, Joshua, Jozabad, Kelita, Levites, Maaseiah, Malchiah, Malchijah, Mattithiah, Meshullam, Mishael, Nehemiah, Nun, Pedaiah, Pelaiah, Shabbethai, Shema, Sherebiah, Uriah, Urijah
Gate of Ephraim, Jerusalem, Water Gate
Choice, Drink, Drinks, Eat, Enjoy, Fat, Grief, Grieve, Grieved, Hearts, Holy, Joy, Nothing, Portions, Prepared, Ready, Sacred, Sad, Sorry, Strength, Strong, Sweet, To-day, Wine
1. The reverent manner of reading and hearing the law
9. They comfort the people
13. The eagerness of the people to hear and be instructed
16. They keep the feast of tabernacles

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Nehemiah 8:10

     5312   feasting
     5387   leisure, pastimes
     5957   strength, spiritual
     7936   love feast
     8287   joy, experience

Nehemiah 8:1-18

     1640   Book of the Law
     7464   teachers of the law

Nehemiah 8:9-11

     5970   unhappiness

Nehemiah 8:9-12

     5846   enjoyment
     8642   celebration

Nehemiah 8:10-12

     9150   Messianic banquet

January 29. "Send Portions unto them for whom Nothing is Prepared" (Neh. viii. 10).
"Send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared" (Neh. viii. 10). That was a fine picture in the days of Nehemiah, when they were celebrating their glorious Feast of Tabernacles. "Neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the Lord is your strength. Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions to them for whom nothing is prepared." How many there are on every side for whom nothing is prepared! Let us find out some sad and needy heart for whom there is no one else to think or care.
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth

The Joy of the Lord
'The joy of the Lord is your strength.'--Neh. viii. 10. Judaism, in its formal and ceremonial aspect, was a religion of gladness. The feast was the great act of worship. It is not to be wondered at, that Christianity, the perfecting of that ancient system, has been less markedly felt to be a religion of joy; for it brings with it far deeper and more solemn views about man in his nature, condition, responsibilities, destinies, than ever prevailed before, under any system of worship. And yet all deep
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Reading the Law with Tears and Joy
'And all the people gathered themselves together as one man into the street that was before the water gate; and they spake unto Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses, which the Lord had commanded to Israel. 2. And Ezra the priest brought the law before the congregation both of men and women, and all that could hear with understanding, upon the first day of the seventh month. 3. And he read therein before the street that was before the water gate, from the morning until midday, before
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Joy of the Lord, the Strength of his People
LAST Sabbath day in the morning I spoke of the birth of our Saviour as being full of joy to the people of God, and, indeed, to all nations. We then looked at the joy from a distance; we will now in contemplation draw nearer to it, and perhaps as we consider it, and remark the multiplied reasons for its existence, some of those reasons may operate upon our own hearts, and we may go out of this house of prayer ourselves partakers of the exceeding great joy. We shall count it to have been a successful
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 17: 1871

The Original Text and Its History.
1. The original language of the Old Testament is Hebrew, with the exception of certain portions of Ezra and Daniel and a single verse of Jeremiah, (Ezra 4:8-6:18; 7:12-26; Dan. 2:4, from the middle of the verse to end of chap. 7; Jer. 10:11,) which are written in the cognate Chaldee language. The Hebrew belongs to a stock of related languages commonly called Shemitic, because spoken mainly by the descendants of Shem. Its main divisions are: (1,) the Arabic, having its original seat in the
E. P. Barrows—Companion to the Bible

Twenty-First Day. Holiness and Happiness.
The kingdom of God is joy in the Holy Ghost.'--Rom. xiv. 17. 'The disciples were filled with joy and the Holy Ghost.'--Acts xiii. 52. 'Then Nehemiah said, This day is holy unto the Lord: neither be ye sorry, for the joy of the Lord is your strength. So the Levites stilled the people, saying, Hold your peace; for the day is holy; neither be ye grieved. And all the people went their way to make great mirth, because they had understood the words.'--Neh. viii. 10-12. The deep significance of
Andrew Murray—Holy in Christ

John's First Testimony to Jesus.
(Bethany Beyond Jordan, February, a.d. 27.) ^D John I. 19-34. ^d 19 And this is the witness of John [John had been sent to testify, "and" this is the matter of his testimony], when the Jews [The term "Jews" is used seventy times by John to describe the ruling classes of Judæa] sent unto him [In thus sending an embassy they honored John more than they ever honored Christ. They looked upon John as a priest and Judæan, but upon Jesus as a carpenter and Galilæan. It is probable that
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

Healing a Demoniac in a Synagogue.
(at Capernaum.) ^B Mark I. 21-28; ^C Luke . IV. 31-37. ^b 21 And they [Jesus and the four fishermen whom he called] go into { ^c he came down to} Capernaum, a city of Galilee. [Luke has just spoken of Nazareth, and he uses the expression "down to Capernaum" because the latter was on the lake shore while Nazareth was up in the mountains.] And ^b straightway on the sabbath day he entered into the synagogue and taught. { ^c was teaching them} ^b 22 And they were astonished at his teaching: for he taught
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

The Scattering of the People
[Illustration: (drop cap A) The Fish-god of Assyria and Babylonia] At last the full punishment for their many sins fell upon God's chosen people. The words of warning written in the fifth book of Moses had told them plainly that if they turned aside and worshipped the wicked idol-gods of Canaan, the Lord would take their country from them and drive them out into strange lands. Yet again and again they had yielded to temptation. And now the day of reckoning had come. Nebuchadnezzar, the great king
Mildred Duff—The Bible in its Making

The Last Days of the Old Eastern World
The Median wars--The last native dynasties of Egypt--The Eastern world on the eve of the Macedonian conquest. [Drawn by Boudier, from one of the sarcophagi of Sidon, now in the Museum of St. Irene. The vignette, which is by Faucher-Gudin, represents the sitting cyno-cephalus of Nectanebo I., now in the Egyptian Museum at the Vatican.] Darius appears to have formed this project of conquest immediately after his first victories, when his initial attempts to institute satrapies had taught him not
G. Maspero—History Of Egypt, Chaldaea, Syria, Babylonia, and Assyria, V 9

Its Effects.
Among the effects and benefits which in this life accompany and flow from being filled with the Holy Ghost, may be mentioned the following:-- 1. Courage. "Oh, I could not do so and so--I have not the courage," is a reply frequently made by Christian people when asked to undertake some piece of service or other for the Master. The first point to be settled is, "Is that the Master's will for me?" If so, lack of courage is a confession to the lack of the "Fullness of the Holy Ghost." The Spirit-filled
John MacNeil—The Spirit-Filled Life

The Old Testament Canon from Its Beginning to Its Close.
The first important part of the Old Testament put together as a whole was the Pentateuch, or rather, the five books of Moses and Joshua. This was preceded by smaller documents, which one or more redactors embodied in it. The earliest things committed to writing were probably the ten words proceeding from Moses himself, afterwards enlarged into the ten commandments which exist at present in two recensions (Exod. xx., Deut. v.) It is true that we have the oldest form of the decalogue from the Jehovist
Samuel Davidson—The Canon of the Bible

Of the Public Fast.
A public fast is when, by the authority of the magistrate (Jonah iii. 7; 2 Chron. xx. 3; Ezra viii. 21), either the whole church within his dominion, or some special congregation, whom it concerneth, assemble themselves together, to perform the fore-mentioned duties of humiliation; either for the removing of some public calamity threatened or already inflicted upon them, as the sword, invasion, famine, pestilence, or other fearful sickness (1 Sam. vii. 5, 6; Joel ii. 15; 2 Chron. xx.; Jonah iii.
Lewis Bayly—The Practice of Piety

'The fruit of the Spirit is joy.' Gal 5:52. The third fruit of justification, adoption, and sanctification, is joy in the Holy Ghost. Joy is setting the soul upon the top of a pinnacle - it is the cream of the sincere milk of the word. Spiritual joy is a sweet and delightful passion, arising from the apprehension and feeling of some good, whereby the soul is supported under present troubles, and fenced against future fear. I. It is a delightful passion. It is contrary to sorrow, which is a perturbation
Thomas Watson—A Body of Divinity

Q-xxxvi: WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS WHICH FLOW FROM SANCTIFICATION? A: Assurance of God's love, peace of conscience, joy in the Holy Ghost, increase of grace, and perseverance therein to the end. The first benefit flowing from sanctification is assurance of God's love. 'Give diligence to make your calling and election sure.' 2 Pet 1:10. Sanctification is the seed, assurance is the flower which grows out of it: assurance is a consequent of sanctification. The saints of old had it. We know that we know
Thomas Watson—A Body of Divinity

Man's Chief End
Q-I: WHAT IS THE CHIEF END OF MAN? A: Man's chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him for ever. Here are two ends of life specified. 1: The glorifying of God. 2: The enjoying of God. I. The glorifying of God, I Pet 4:4: That God in all things may be glorified.' The glory of God is a silver thread which must run through all our actions. I Cor 10:01. Whether therefore ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.' Everything works to some end in things natural and artificial;
Thomas Watson—A Body of Divinity

Some of the most complicated problems in Hebrew history as well as in the literary criticism of the Old Testament gather about the books of Ezra and Nehemiah. Apart from these books, all that we know of the origin and early history of Judaism is inferential. They are our only historical sources for that period; and if in them we have, as we seem to have, authentic memoirs, fragmentary though they be, written by the two men who, more than any other, gave permanent shape and direction to Judaism, then
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament

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