The long list of names in Nehemiah 7 accounted for all the people who belonged to the covenant they were renewing. Then in chapter 8, on the first day of the seventh month, they read the Torah. They reviewed the people to establish who was in the covenant, then they read the Torah to instruct the people in the covenant, and in 8:9–10 they began to mourn and weep about the way that they had fallen short of the Torah, fallen short of the stipulations of the covenant.
Because of the time of year, because the first day of the seventh month was a holy day (8:2), they were told not to weep that day. They postponed the weeping and went forward with the Festivals of the seventh month:
• The first day of the seventh month is a holy convocation, the Festival of Trumpets (Lev 23:24).
• The tenth day of the seventh month is the Day of Atonement (Lev 23:26–28).
• Beginning on the fifteenth day of the seventh month they celebrate the Festival of Booths for seven days (Lev 23:33–36).
The events of the Festival of Booths continue to the twenty-second day of the seventh month. Then the eighth day of the Festival of Booths is another holy convocation—that would be the twenty-third day of the month—and now in Nehemiah 9:1 we arrive at the twenty-fourth day of the month. So they have completed the Festivals, and now they are here on the twenty-fourth day to finish what they started when the law was read on the first day and they began to weep and mourn in response to it (8:2, 9–10).