“For all the people wept as they heard the words of the Law” (v9). After years of living in Babylon and all the unfaithfulness that preceded the exile, the Israelites were shocked when they heard God’s Word. As they studied the scriptures (v13), they realized that they should celebrate the Feast of Booths, which hadn’t happened in generations (v17). God’s Word to them was both convicting and inspiring, showing them how far they had fallen and yet how much God desired their wellbeing.
“And do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength" (v10). Real repentance includes regret over the past but also embraces the joy of God’s forgiveness and new life.