Ezra makes his first appearance in the book of Nehemiah while Israel celebrates the Feast of Booths (or Tabernacles). The regulations for this 8-day festival are spelled out in Leviticus 23:33-44. Nehemiah and Ezra call Israel to follow those stipulations, and Israel goes above and beyond in their obedience. Those following Nehemiah’s leadership listen to the law and the scriptures being read for hours and hours.
In our day, where many people demonstrate the traits, even if they don’t have the disorders, of attention deficit problems, this is hard to fathom. Truthfully, in any age, when people are interested in the scriptures to this degree, this is great evidence that God is at work. In fact, the passage makes Judah’s enthusiasm clear when it says that this festival had never been celebrated in this way since the times of Joshua. Though the Festival of Booths had been observed, the passion and zeal for God’s glory makes this instance special. It seems like revival. May God cause such love for His word in our midst today.