The Walls were finished; a civilian ruled Jerusalem; people were coming back to the City. It was time to celebrate.
Just a few days after the completion of the wall, the Jews began to celebrate the Feast of Trumpets (Lev. 23.24-25), the new year during this new age. The people called on Ezra to bring again the book of the law. They didn’t separate into men and women and youth – they all stood together, families united, near the Water Gate. If the children were old enough to understand, they stood with the crowd. There was no division here. All were equal in receiving the duties of the Law.
For hours during the day, the Levites under Ezra’s leadership would not just read the book of the Law of God, they would then explain it to the people. They wanted the people to understand the words. And when they did – they began to weep and mourn for their own sins. Standing with the leaders, Ezra and Nehemiah told the people to cease their wails on this scared day, but go and celebrate with good food and drinks and to share with those who have nothing.
The joy of the Lord was their strength.
Why were the mourning? Because, they finally understood the meaning of the words which they had heard. Perhaps some of them had heard it before, but now, well, now they understood them. They felt as dejected as the words they had rejected. But not today – no, the sacred day would be one of celebration.
Just as the people had forgotten the words of the Law, so too had the priests. Along with Ezra, they began to study again the Word of God, finding in it treasures – and convictions. They discovered a feast that they had failed to celebrate since the time of Joshua. So, after generations of not doing so, they celebrated the Feast of the Tabernacles in which the people would live in tents to remember the journey in the wilderness. For seven days, those that had returned from the Captivity lived in the tents, hearing the word of God proclaimed by Ezra.
On the eight day, they held their convocation – a solemn assembly.
For the early part of October, an open door revival was held. The Preacher read the Word of God, giving insight, application, notes to the people. They began to celebrate, giving heeding to the good word, and returning to the ancient landmark.