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Why were the people crying when they heard the word of God?

Then Nehemiah the governor, Ezra the priest and teacher of the Law, and the Levites who were instructing the people said to them all, “This day is holy to the Lord your God. Do not mourn or weep.” For all the people had been weeping as they listened to the words of the Law. Nehemiah 8:9

            As they listened to Genesis through Deuteronomy, they understood God’s power, His plan and His love for them.  They realized how their sinfulness caused the destruction of Israel and Judah.  Now they had an opportunity to make it right.  They grieved their sinfulness and the sinfulness of their ancestors.