After the wall is complete, the Lord puts in Nehemiah’s heart a desire to register the people according to genealogy. God is ensuring that the ones who left their homes in Babylon to return to do the strenuous labor of rebuilding Jerusalem would not be forgotten. God is a personal God who cares for each person and the trials they endure on this side of heaven. So Nehemiah finds a previously recorded genealogy, possibly the one made by Ezra (Ezra 2), and he records a census of the people. Currently the city of Jerusalem is large and the people are few; however, Nehemiah would like to see this newly restored city repopulated.
Now that the people are physically secure, Nehemiah and Ezra make sure that they are spiritually secure by gathering everyone in the open square and reading the Book of the Law to them – “So Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly of men and women and all who could hear with understanding on the first day of the seventh month. Then he read from it in the open square that was in front of the Water Gate from morning until midday, before the men and women and those who could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive to the Book of the Law.”
The Levites help the people understand what was written in the Book of the Law. “And Nehemiah, who was the governor, Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, ‘This day is holy to the Lord your God; do not mourn nor weep.’” The Levites encourage the people who are weeping over their sin to be joyful because of the renewed relationship with the Lord. “And all the people went their way to eat and drink, to send portions and rejoice greatly, because they understood the words that were declared to them.”
The people rejoice because they finally understand what was written in the Book of the Law. It’s one thing to read or hear God’s word, but reading or hearing God’s word with understanding brings great joy and blessings! So keep reading! (Nehemiah 7:4-8:12)