Scriptures

Nehemiah 3

Introduction

‘Eliashib the high priest and his fellow priests went to work and rebuilt the Sheep Gate. They dedicated it and set its doors in place, building as far as the Tower of the Hundred, which they dedicated, and as far as the Tower of Hananel. The men of Jericho built the adjoining section, and Zakkur son of Imri built next to them. The Fish Gate was rebuilt by the sons of Hassenaah. They laid its beams and put its doors and bolts and bars in place. Meremoth son of Uriah, the son of Hakkoz, repaired the next section. Next to him Meshullam son of Berekiah, the son of Meshezabel, made repairs, and next to him Zadok son of Baana also made repairs. The next section was repaired by the men of Tekoa, but their nobles would not put their shoulders to the work under their supervisors. The Jeshanah Gate was repaired by Joiada son of Paseah and Meshullam son of Besodeiah. They laid its beams and put its doors with their bolts and bars in place. Next to them, repairs were made by men from Gibeon and Mizpah—Melatiah of Gibeon and Jadon of Meronoth—places under the authority of the governor of Trans-Euphrates. Uzziel son of Harhaiah, one of the goldsmiths, repaired the next section; and Hananiah, one of the perfume-makers, made repairs next to that. They restored Jerusalem as far as the Broad Wall. Rephaiah son of Hur, ruler of a half-district of Jerusalem, repaired the next section. Adjoining this, Jedaiah son of Harumaph made repairs opposite his house, and Hattush son of Hashabneiah made repairs next to him. Malkijah son of Harim and Hasshub son of Pahath-Moab repaired another section and the Tower of the Ovens. Shallum son of Hallohesh, ruler of a half-district of Jerusalem, repaired the next section with the help of his daughters. The Valley Gate was repaired by Hanun and the residents of Zanoah. They rebuilt it and put its doors with their bolts and bars in place. They also repaired a thousand cubits of the wall as far as the Dung Gate. The Dung Gate was repaired by Malkijah son of Rekab, ruler of the district of Beth Hakkerem. He rebuilt it and put its doors with their bolts and bars in place. The Fountain Gate was repaired by Shallun son of Kol-Hozeh, ruler of the district of Mizpah. He rebuilt it, roofing it over and putting its doors and bolts and bars in place. He also repaired the wall of the Pool of Siloam, by the King’s Garden, as far as the steps going down from the City of David. Beyond him, Nehemiah son of Azbuk, ruler of a half-district of Beth Zur, made repairs up to a point opposite the tombs of David, as far as the artificial pool and the House of the Heroes. Next to him, the repairs were made by the Levites under Rehum son of Bani. Beside him, Hashabiah, ruler of half the district of Keilah, carried out repairs for his district. Next to him, the repairs were made by their fellow Levites under Binnui son of Henadad, ruler of the other half-district of Keilah. Next to him, Ezer son of Jeshua, ruler of Mizpah, repaired another section, from a point facing the ascent to the armoury as far as the angle of the wall. Next to him, Baruch son of Zabbai zealously repaired another section, from the angle to the entrance of the house of Eliashib the high priest. Next to him, Meremoth son of Uriah, the son of Hakkoz, repaired another section, from the entrance of Eliashib’s house to the end of it. The repairs next to him were made by the priests from the surrounding region. Beyond them, Benjamin and Hasshub made repairs in front of their house; and next to them, Azariah son of Maaseiah, the son of Ananiah, made repairs beside his house. Next to him, Binnui son of Henadad repaired another section, from Azariah’s house to the angle and the corner, and Palal son of Uzai worked opposite the angle and the tower projecting from the upper palace near the court of the guard. Next to him, Pedaiah son of Parosh and the temple servants living on the hill of Ophel made repairs up to a point opposite the Water Gate toward the east and the projecting tower. Next to them, the men of Tekoa repaired another section, from the great projecting tower to the wall of Ophel. Above the Horse Gate, the priests made repairs, each in front of his own house. Next to them, Zadok son of Immer made repairs opposite his house. Next to him, Shemaiah son of Shekaniah, the guard at the East Gate, made repairs. Next to him, Hananiah son of Shelemiah, and Hanun, the sixth son of Zalaph, repaired another section. Next to them, Meshullam son of Berekiah made repairs opposite his living quarters. Next to him, Malkijah, one of the goldsmiths, made repairs as far as the house of the temple servants and the merchants, opposite the Inspection Gate, and as far as the room above the corner; and between the room above the corner and the Sheep Gate the goldsmiths and merchants made repairs.’ Nehemiah 3:1-32

Builders Of The Wall

In this chapter, Nehemiah lays out his plans for the rebuilding of the walls, gates and towers of Jerusalem. You will notice that all the men and even some women are to take part in the building on the wall. The wall they were building was around a 50 acre plot of land.

Barnes, in his commentary, says the following.

‘The exact line which the writer follows in describing the circuit of the wall will probably be always a matter of dispute. According to the view here taken, the line described commences near the pool of Bethesda, on the east of the city, and is traced thence, first, northward, then westward, then southward, and finally eastward, as far as the pool of Siloam, Nehemiah 3:15. From this point, it seems to the writer of this note that the line of the outer wall is not followed, but, instead of this, the inner wall of the ‘city of David,’ which included the temple, is traced. This wall is followed northward from the pool of Siloam, past the ‘sepulchres of David’ and Hezekiah‘s pool to the ‘armoury’, Nehemiah 3:19, at its northwest corner, it is then followed eastward to ‘the tower which lieth out from the king‘s house’, Nehemiah 3:25. from this, it is carried southward, along the western edge of the Kidron valley to the ‘great tower which lieth out,’ Nehemiah 3:27, and then south-westward to the point at which it commenced near Siloam Nehemiah 3:27. The special wall of the ‘city of David’ being thus completed, the writer finishes his entire account by filling up the small interval between the northeast angle of this fortification and the ‘sheep-gate’, Nehemiah 3:28-32, from which he started.’

This whole building project wasn’t randomly put together by Nehemiah, everyone had a specific section of the wall they were to repair and they all worked on the same project, but in their designated areas of work.

In their assigned locations, they were, to begin with, that section of the wall that was nearest their house, Nehemiah 3:10 / Nehemiah 3:23 / Nehemiah 3:28-30.

Their incentive for repairing the wall began with each family seeing their responsibility to secure their own houses by building that portion of the wall that was nearest their home.

You’ll notice that the chapter begins with the High priest and his fellow priests repairing the sheep gate and the wall to the left of it. It was only fitting that they the priest would work on the sheep gate since it was used to bring in the sacrificial lambs and it was the only gate that was sanctified by the priest.

Jerusalem was divided into different areas over which specific rulers were assigned authority, Nehemiah 3:9 / Nehemiah 3:12 / Nehemiah 3:15-18.

Matthew Henry, in his commentary, says the following.

‘They repaired, from the sheep-gate to the fish-gate, Nehemiah 3:1-2. Thence to the old-gate, Nehemiah 3:3-5. Thence to the valley-gate, Nehemiah 3:6-12. Thence to the dung-gate, Nehemiah 3:13-14. Thence to the gate of the fountain, Nehemiah 3:15. Thence to the water-gate, Nehemiah 3:16-26. Thence by the horse-gate to the sheep-gate again, where they began, Nehemiah 3:27-32, and so they brought their work quite round the city.’

There are 10 gates mentioned in this chapter and the gates were used for different purposes and symbolized different things. Gates were places for great assemblies of the people and as clearinghouses for news and announcements, Proverbs 1:20-21.

Sometimes sacrifices were offered in gates, 2 Kings 23:8 / Acts 14:13. Criminals were to be punished outside the gates, Acts 7:58 / Hebrews 13:12, gates stood as symbols of righteousness, Psalm 118:19, and they also stood as a symbol of sin, corruption, and death, Psalm 9:13 / Matthew 16:18.

The Fish Gate is repaired and many believe that the Fish Gate got its name because the fish sellers of Tyre from the Mediterranean and Jordan and Sea of Galilee did their trade there, Nehemiah 13:16.

Notice that although ‘the next section was repaired by the men of Tekoa, their nobles wouldn’t put their shoulders to the work under their supervisors’.

The reason these nobles weren’t pulling their weight and doing a fair share of the work was because they were loyal to Tobiah, who was the enemy of Nehemiah, Nehemiah 6:17.

Notice also that the ‘goldsmiths’ and ‘perfume-makers’, that is, the business people were also building on the wall. We also see Shallum, with the help of his daughters working on the wall together.

The chapter continues listing those who are repairing the gates and the walls all back around to the other side of the sheep gate.

The text doesn’t say that Nehemiah got involved with the physical work but knowing his character he probably did. The text does say that he managed it and oversaw its construction. There is a Nehemiah mentioned by he was the son of Azbuk, Nehemiah 3:16.

According to some commentators, there would have been around 25 to 30 thousand Jews all working together to build the wall and this doesn’t include those men who came and helped them in different areas.

There are 43 three different groups are named in the chapter and so it’s not surprising that they were able to rebuild the wall in 52 days, Nehemiah 6:15.

Go To Nehemiah 4

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