Nehemiah 9:3 MEANING

Nehemiah 9:3
(3) One fourth part.--Both day and night were divided into four parts. All orders standing in their respective place, the reading occupied the morning and the worship the afternoon. It is the latter which is now made prominent, as the former had been prominent in the preceding chapter.

Verse 3. - In their place. See above, Nehemiah 8:7. The people and the ministers had their appointed "places"in every gathering of a religious character. The former now "stood up" in their proper place, and read, i.e. "engaged in the reading of the law, not, however, as actual readers, but as listeners. The readers would be the Levites (see Nehemiah 8:7, 8). One fourth part of the day. The day and the night were alike divided by the Jews into four parts, each of three hours duration. The nocturnal divisions are frequently alluded to in the New Testament (Mark 13:35; John 18:28, etc.). Worshipped. Literally, "bowed themselves down," or "prostrated themselves."

9:1-3 The word will direct and quicken prayer, for by it the Spirit helps our infirmities in prayer. The careful study of God's word will more and more discover to us our own sinfulness, and the plenteousness of his salvation; thus it calls us to mourn for sin, and to rejoice in him. Every discovery of the truth of God, should render us more unwearied in attendance on his sacred word, and on his worship.And they stood up in their place,.... In the outward court of the temple, where men used to stand when they prayed and confessed their sins: and read in the book of the law of the Lord their God; that they might the better know the mind and will of God, and do their duty: this they did

one fourth part of the day; the space of three hours, from sun rising, or six o'clock in the morning, to the time of the morning sacrifice, which was about nine o'clock:

and another fourth part they confessed; the goodness of God to them, and the sins they had been guilty of:

and worshipped the Lord their God; bowed down before him in prayer and supplication, and so spent three hours more, which reached to noon or twelve o'clock; and from thence to three o'clock, about the time of the evening sacrifice, and from thence to sun setting, or six o'clock, and so spent the whole day in the above exercises alternately.

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