Then Eliashib the high priest rose up with his brethren the priests, and they builded the sheep gate; they sanctified it, and set up the doors of it; even unto the tower of Meah they sanctified it, unto the tower of Hananeel.
Eliashib (compare the marginal reference) was the grandson of Joshua, the high priest contemporary with Zerubbabel.
The sheep gate - This was a gate in the eastern wall, not far from the pool of Bethesda, marginal reference, which was perhaps originally a sheep-pool.
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 southwestward 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.
They sanctified it - The priests commenced the work with a formal ceremony of consecration. When the work was completed, there was a solemn dedication of the entire circuit (see Nehemiah 12:27-43).
The tower of Hananeel is often mentioned; that of Meah, or rather Hammeah, or "the Hundred," in Nehemiah only. Both towers must have been situated toward the northeastern corner of the city.
And next unto him builded the men of Jericho. And next to them builded Zaccur the son of Imri.
The people of each provincial town were set to work for the most part on the portion of the wall nearest their city. Thus, "the men of Jericho," were employed at the northeast corner of Jerusalem.
But the fish gate did the sons of Hassenaah build, who also laid the beams thereof, and set up the doors thereof, the locks thereof, and the bars thereof.
The fish gate - The gate through which fish from the Jordan and the Sea of Galilee entered Jerusalem; a gate in the north wall, a little to the east of the modern Damascus gate.
Locks - The word used (here and in Nehemiah 3:6, Nehemiah 3:13-15) is thought to mean rather a "cross-bar" than a lock, while that translated "bars" is regarded as denoting the "hooks" or "catches" which held the cross-bar at its two ends.
And next unto them repaired Meremoth the son of Urijah, the son of Koz. And next unto them repaired Meshullam the son of Berechiah, the son of Meshezabeel. And next unto them repaired Zadok the son of Baana.
And next unto them the Tekoites repaired; but their nobles put not their necks to the work of their Lord.
Tekoites - See 2 Samuel 14:2 note.
Moreover the old gate repaired Jehoiada the son of Paseah, and Meshullam the son of Besodeiah; they laid the beams thereof, and set up the doors thereof, and the locks thereof, and the bars thereof.
The old gate - Either the modern Damascus gate, the main entrance to the city on the north side; or a gate a little further eastward.
And next unto them repaired Melatiah the Gibeonite, and Jadon the Meronothite, the men of Gibeon, and of Mizpah, unto the throne of the governor on this side the river.
Unto the throne ... - The meaning is thought to be "the men of Gibeon and Mizpah, who, though they worked for Nehemiah, were not under his government, but belonged to the jurisdiction of the governor on this side the river."
Next unto him repaired Uzziel the son of Harhaiah, of the goldsmiths. Next unto him also repaired Hananiah the son of one of the apothecaries, and they fortified Jerusalem unto the broad wall.
And next unto them repaired Rephaiah the son of Hur, the ruler of the half part of Jerusalem.
And next unto them repaired Jedaiah the son of Harumaph, even over against his house. And next unto him repaired Hattush the son of Hashabniah.
Malchijah the son of Harim, and Hashub the son of Pahathmoab, repaired the other piece, and the tower of the furnaces.
The other piece - Rather, "another piece" (as in Nehemiah 3:19, Nehemiah 3:21, Nehemiah 3:27, Nehemiah 3:30). It is conjectured that a verse has fallen out in which Malchijah's and Hashub's "first piece" was mentioned.
The tower of the furnaces - Either a tower at the northwestern angle of the city; or, midway in the western wall. The origin of the name is uncertain.
And next unto him repaired Shallum the son of Halohesh, the ruler of the half part of Jerusalem, he and his daughters.
The valley gate repaired Hanun, and the inhabitants of Zanoah; they built it, and set up the doors thereof, the locks thereof, and the bars thereof, and a thousand cubits on the wall unto the dung gate.
Zanoah lay west of Jerusalem, at the distance of about 10 miles (Joshua 15:34 note).
But the dung gate repaired Malchiah the son of Rechab, the ruler of part of Bethhaccerem; he built it, and set up the doors thereof, the locks thereof, and the bars thereof.
But the gate of the fountain repaired Shallun the son of Colhozeh, the ruler of part of Mizpah; he built it, and covered it, and set up the doors thereof, the locks thereof, and the bars thereof, and the wall of the pool of Siloah by the king's garden, and unto the stairs that go down from the city of David.
The "pool of Siloah" lies at the southwestern foot of the temple hill, near the lower end of the Tyropoeon. It appears to have been at all times beyond the line of the city wall, but was perhaps joined to the city by a fortification of its own.
The king's gardens - See 2 Kings 25:4 note.
The stairs - A flight of steps, still to be seen, led from the low valley of the Tyropoeon up the steep sides of Ophel to the "city of David," which it reached probably at a point not far south of the temple.
After him repaired Nehemiah the son of Azbuk, the ruler of the half part of Bethzur, unto the place over against the sepulchres of David, and to the pool that was made, and unto the house of the mighty.
Beth-zur - Now Beit-sur, on the road from Jerusalem to Hebron Joshua 15:58.
By "the sepulchres of David" must be understood the burial place in which David and the kings his descendants to the time of Hezekiah were interred. This was an excavation in the rock, in the near vicinity of the temple Ezekiel 43:7-9, and on its western side. The position of the burial-place was well known until the destruction of the city by Titus; but modern research has not yet discovered it.
The pool - Probably that made by Hezekiah in the Tyropoeon valley, west of the temple area (marginal reference).
After him repaired the Levites, Rehum the son of Bani. Next unto him repaired Hashabiah, the ruler of the half part of Keilah, in his part.
The constant mention of "priests," "Levites," and Nethinims," sufficiently indicates that the writer is here concerned with the sacerdotal quarter, that immediately about the temple.
After him repaired their brethren, Bavai the son of Henadad, the ruler of the half part of Keilah.
Bavai - Or, "Binnui" Nehemiah 3:24; Nehemiah 10:9.
The armoury at the turning of the wall - literally, "the armoury of the corner." The northwestern corner of the special wall of the "city of David" seems to be intended. See Nehemiah 3:1 note.
And next to him repaired Ezer the son of Jeshua, the ruler of Mizpah, another piece over against the going up to the armoury at the turning of the wall.
After him Baruch the son of Zabbai earnestly repaired the other piece, from the turning of the wall unto the door of the house of Eliashib the high priest.
The other piece - Rather, "another piece." The notice of Baruch's first piece, like that of Malchijah's and Hashub's Nehemiah 3:11, seems to have slipped out of the text.
After him repaired Meremoth the son of Urijah the son of Koz another piece, from the door of the house of Eliashib even to the end of the house of Eliashib.
And after him repaired the priests, the men of the plain.
The word here translated "plain" is applied in the rest of Scripture almost exclusively to the Ghor or Jordan valley. Compare, however, Nehemiah 12:28.
After him repaired Benjamin and Hashub over against their house. After him repaired Azariah the son of Maaseiah the son of Ananiah by his house.
After him repaired Binnui the son of Henadad another piece, from the house of Azariah unto the turning of the wall, even unto the corner.
The turning of the wall - The northeastern angle of the "city of David" seems here to be reached. At this point a tower "lay out" Nehemiah 3:25, or projected extraordinarily, from the wall, being probably a watch-tower commanding the Kidron valley and all the approaches to the city from the southeast, the east, and the northeast.
Palal the son of Uzai, over against the turning of the wall, and the tower which lieth out from the king's high house, that was by the court of the prison. After him Pedaiah the son of Parosh.
The "king's high house" is almost certainly the old palace of David, which was on the temple hill, and probably occupied a position directly north of the temple.
That was by the court of the prison - Prisons were in old times adjuncts of palaces. The palace of David must have had its prison; and the "prison gate" Nehemiah 12:39 was clearly in this quarter.
Moreover the Nethinims dwelt in Ophel, unto the place over against the water gate toward the east, and the tower that lieth out.
The marginal reading is better. On the Nethinims see 1 Chronicles 9:2 note.
Ophel was the slope south of the temple (see the marginal reference "y" note); and the water-gate, a gate in the eastern wall, either for the escape of the superfluous water from the temple reservoirs, or for the introduction of water from the Kidron valley when the reservoirs were low.
After them the Tekoites repaired another piece, over against the great tower that lieth out, even unto the wall of Ophel.
The foundations of an outlying tower near the southeast angle of the temple area in this position have been recently discovered.
From above the horse gate repaired the priests, every one over against his house.
"The horse gate" was on the east side of the city, overlooking the Kidron valley. It seems to have been a gate by which horses approached and left the old palace, that of David, which lay north of the temple Nehemiah 3:25.
After them repaired Zadok the son of Immer over against his house. After him repaired also Shemaiah the son of Shechaniah, the keeper of the east gate.
After him repaired Hananiah the son of Shelemiah, and Hanun the sixth son of Zalaph, another piece. After him repaired Meshullam the son of Berechiah over against his chamber.
After him repaired Malchiah the goldsmith's son unto the place of the Nethinims, and of the merchants, over against the gate Miphkad, and to the going up of the corner.
The gate Miphkad - Not elsewhere mentioned. It must have been in the east, or northeast, wall, a little to the south of the "sheep-gate"
And between the going up of the corner unto the sheep gate repaired the goldsmiths and the merchants.