Thought goes back to a spectacular gathering when Moses said to Israel, "This day thou art become the people of the Lord thy God," and from Ebal and Gerizim came in the loud voice of the Levites the curse upon disobedience and the blessings upon fidelity to God. Later on there must have been a gathering also when "Moses the man of God blessed the children of Israel before his death," reading or reciting his wonderful prophecy of good, ending with the promise, "Thine enemies shall be found liars unto thee." We think also of occasions when David and Solomon were readers, and leaders of public services, in the temple; and of a later date when the "book of the law of the Lord given by Moses" had become forgotten, and when the workmen of King Josiah were repairing the neglected temple and found the book of the law. The king heard the words of the law read to him and humbled himself and prayed, and later before a great gathering of his people "he read in their ears all the words of the book of the covenant that was found in the house of the Lord." Then they all, king and priests and elders and people, made a covenant with God.

One more great occasion was after the return from captivity, when the people "gathered themselves together as one man," calling upon Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law, and he read to them "from the morning until midday, before the men and the women, and those that could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive unto the book of the law." In Nehemiah it is recorded how other readers also took part in this work: "So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading." At a date far distant from this occasion we find that this privilege of public reading of the law could be accepted by our Master, who, visiting Nazareth, where he had grown up, attended the synagogue as he was accustomed to do and stood up to read. They gave him the roll of the prophecy of Isaiah, and after reading he sat down. Then in gracious words at which the audience wondered, he declared the fulfillment of prophecy.

"Arise, let us go hence"
September 28, 1918

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