Then the Levites
9:5 Then the Levites. The long and magnificent prayer of praise, confession, and dedication in this chapter could hardly have been recited spontaneously by all eight Levites mentioned in this verse. It must have been composed ahead of time, possibly by either Nehemiah or Ezra, and then read by the various Levites, possibly standing in different locations so that all the great congregation could hear and appropriate it to their own hearts. Whether or not it was composed by him, it was certainly authorized by Nehemiah, as governor (or “Tirshatha”—Nehemiah 8:9). He apparently was the first to sign and seal it (Nehemiah 10:1), as the people accepted it as their covenant with God (Nehemiah 9:38).