Nehemiah 8

1 Ezra was qualified to read and explain the Law (Ezra 7:6).
2 This day was the Feast of Trumpets (Lev 23:24-25). The assembly consisted of people who could "understand." This may simply mean those who knew Hebrew or the other language(s) that others were translating to (Neh 8:8). It would appear that even after one generation of captivity, some Jews had not trained their children in Jewish customs.
3 This can probably be equated to an open-air revival meeting.
4 The other men may have been priests and other leaders. They may have done the translation work.
6 Some people consider it odd to lift their hands or bow to the ground (prostrate) during worship, but as is indicated in other places, it was very common for the Jews to do so.
7 These little lectures may have been interspersed through the six-hour session. This would have given Ezra some needed breaks.
9 The people began weeping as they recognized their sin. Nehemiah and Ezra tried to convey to the people that the Feast of Trumpets was a joyful occasion. Yes, the people had sinned, and it was appropriate to regret that sin and ask God for forgiveness. But after confession, we should recognize God's forgiveness and rejoice.
10 When we recognize all the great things God has done and His great love towards us, we should respond with an attitude of hope, generosity, and thankfulness. Knowing the living God should be the greatest and most exciting experience of our lives.
13 They could not finish the books of Moses in one day; so more reading was needed. Scrolls took very long do duplicate because the work was all done by hand and carefully checked. Thus, the priests generally had the only copies and people would have to come to them to hear or read the word of God for themselves.

The heads-of-households would be responsible for conveying whatever else they learned to their family groups.

14 Lev 23:34-36, 40-43
15 People will often debate whether they should be obedient to God's word or not, but here we see the proper response. The Jews found that God had commanded a holiday that their people had neglected for hundreds of years. Instead of discussing the merits of bringing this holiday back to life, they immediately obeyed what was commanded.
18 During the various holidays we should remember to keep God as the focal point. Yes, the festivities are meant for enjoyment, but we must be continually thankful to God who makes such things possible.