MAY 24 The second half of the Book of Nehemiah begins on the first day of the seventh month (chapter 8:2). The emphasis is now on the people of the city and their dedication to God. The material building was over. It was now time to begin to build the people spiritually. In today's reading the proclamation of God's Word is given to the people. Ezra returned to Jerusalem to assist Nehemiah in the dedication of the walls and the sanctifying of the people. It is very significant that they gathered at the water gate, since this gate symbolizes the Word of God (Ezra 3:26). The people had an appetite for the Word, for they asked Ezra to bring the Book and preach it. The Word of God was proclaimed throughout the land and, as the people obeyed, there was great gladness. The result of this meeting at the water gate, which was held daily for a week, was that it brought great conviction to the people. On the 24th day of the month Ezra and the Levites led the people in confession and prayer for three hours. Chapter 10 gives us the names of the brave and godly people who entered into the covenant with God that day. Little did they realize their names would be recorded eternally in God's Word.