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.Nehemiah 3:1. Then Eliashib the high-priest rose up — The grandchild of Jeshua, the first high-priest after their return from Babylon. He, with his brethren, set a noble example, in being the first that began to rebuild the walls of the holy city, which the Babylonians had demolished. Ministers should be foremost in every good work, animating others by their example as well as doctrine. And they built the sheep-gate — Which was on the south side of the city, in that part of the valley which looked toward mount Zion and the temple; called the sheep-gate, because the sheep were brought through it to be sacrificed. Thus he not only shows by whom, but in what order, the wall was built. They sanctified it — Or they prepared, or repaired it; for so the word sometimes signifies. But our translation seems best, both because that use of the word is most common, and because this is spoken only of this gate, which, being built by the priests, and nearest to the temple, and with a special eye to the service of the temple, for which both men and things were most commonly brought in this way, and being also the first part of the building, might be in a peculiar manner sanctified by solemn prayer and sacrifice, whereby it was dedicated to God’s service. Even unto the tower of Meah they sanctified it — That is, they sanctified the rest of the wall which they built as far as the tower of Meah on one side, and the tower of Hananeel on the other.
And next unto him builded the men of Jericho. And next to them builded Zaccur the son of Imri.Nehemiah 3:2-3. The men of Jericho — The posterity of the ancient inhabitants of Jericho. The fish-gate — This gate, being on the north-west side of Jerusalem, looked toward the sea, from whence fish was wont to be brought and sold in the fish-market near this gate.
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.
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.Nehemiah 3:5. Next unto them the Tekoites repaired — The inhabitants of the city of Tekoa, in the tribe of Judah. But their nobles put not their necks to the work — Would not submit to it, would not further it, either through pride, or sloth, or covetousness, or secret compliance with the enemies of the Jews. Of their Lord — Of God, whom they owned for their Lord, whose work this was, because it had proceeded thus far by his singular providence; and because it was done for the defence of the city, and people, and temple of God. And therefore they are branded to all posterity. Let not nobles think any thing beneath them, by which they may benefit their country. What is their nobility good for, but that it places them in a higher and larger sphere of usefulness?
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.
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.Nehemiah 3:7. Unto the throne of the governor on this side the river — Unto the place where the governor of the country on this side Euphrates, under the Persian kings, sometimes had a palace or throne.
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.Nehemiah 3:8. Next unto him repaired Uzziel; also Hananiah — These were two eminent persons, one among the workers or casters of gold, the other among the perfumers. They fortified Jerusalem, &c., unto the broad wall — It is not said, they repaired, but, they fortified it, either because this part of the wall was less demolished than the other, and therefore they needed not to repair it, but only to make it stronger; or, to note their extraordinary care and diligence, that they would not only repair it, but make it stronger than ever.
And next unto them repaired Rephaiah the son of Hur, the ruler of the half part of Jerusalem.Nehemiah 3:9-10. The ruler of the half part of Jerusalem — As Rome was anciently divided into several quarters or regions, so was Jerusalem; and especially into two parts, whereof one was in the tribe of Benjamin, and nearest the temple, the other in the tribe of Judah; these accordingly had two several rulers, this man and the other, (Nehemiah 3:12,) but both under the chief governor of the city. Jedaiah — over against his house — That part of the wall which was next to him, which his own interest obliged him to repair.
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.
And next unto him repaired Shallum the son of Halohesh, the ruler of the half part of Jerusalem, he and his daughters.Nehemiah 3:12. Shallum, the ruler of the half part, &c. — That is, of the other half of Jerusalem: see on Nehemiah 3:9. He and his daughters — Who were either heiresses or rich widows, and caused part to be done at their charges.
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.
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.Nehemiah 3:14-16. Beth-haccerem — A town or territory, the government whereof was divided between two persons. The wall of the pool of Siloah — That part of the wall which was directly against that pool. After him repaired Nehemiah — One of the same name, but not of the same family, with the writer of this book. Over against the sepulchres of David — The place which David appointed for his own sepulchre, and the sepulchres of his successors, the kings of Israel and Judah. To the pool that was made — To wit, by Hezekiah, (2 Kings 20:20,) whereby it was distinguished from that pool, which was natural. And unto the house of the mighty — Or, valiant. The place where the king’s guards were lodged, who were all mighty men, and from this circumstance probably it had its name.
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.
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.
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.
After him repaired their brethren, Bavai the son of Henadad, the ruler of the half part of Keilah.
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.Nehemiah 3:19. The going up to the armory — Either to the house, or the forest of Lebanon, which was their armory from Solomon’s days, (Isaiah 22:8,) or to some other place, which, either before or since that time, had been used as another and less armory for common occasions. At the turning of the wall — Or, at the corners.
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.Nehemiah 3:20. Baruch earnestly repaired the other piece — Did his work with eminent diligence and fervency; which is here noted to his commendation. And, it is probable, this good man’s zeal provoked many to take the more pains, and make the more haste.
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.Nehemiah 3:21. From the door of the house of Eliashib, &c. — He carried on the work from the place where the other left off, from the door of the house to the end of it, which, being the house of a great man, we may suppose was very large.
And after him repaired the priests, the men of the plain.Nehemiah 3:22. The priests, the men of the plain — Either of the plains of Jordan, or of the plain country round about Jerusalem, as it is called Nehemiah 12:28. Probably they were thus called, because they or their parents now or formerly dwelt in those parts, whence they came to Jerusalem when the service of the temple required it.
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.
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.Nehemiah 3:25. Over against the turning of the wall — In a part of the wall which jutted out. And the tower — Or, even the tower. Which lieth out from the king’s high house — Either from the royal palace, or from some other house which the king formerly built there, either for prospect or for defence. By the court of the prison — A place often mentioned: see Jeremiah 32:2; Jeremiah 38:7; Jeremiah 38:13.
Moreover the Nethinims dwelt in Ophel, unto the place over against the water gate toward the east, and the tower that lieth out.Nehemiah 3:26. The Nethinims dwelt in Ophel — Or, who dwelt in Ophel. For this seems to be only a description of the persons whose work follows. Not only the priests and Levites, but the meanest persons that belonged to the house of God, inferior officers, contributed to this work. Over against the water-gate — So called, because by that gate water was brought in, either by the people, for the use of that part of the city, or rather, by these Nethinims, who were Gibeonites, for the uses of the temple, for which they were drawers of water, Joshua 9:21.
After them the Tekoites repaired another piece, over against the great tower that lieth out, even unto the wall of Ophel.Nehemiah 3:27. After them the Tekoites repaired — The same spoken of before, who, having despatched their first share sooner than their brethren, freely offered to supply the defects of others, who, as it seems, neglected that part of the work which had been committed to them. And this their double diligence is noted, both for the greater shame of their nobles, who would not do any part of it, and for their own honour, who were so far from being corrupted by that bad example, that they were quickened to greater zeal and industry in this pious work.
From above the horse gate repaired the priests, every one over against his house.Nehemiah 3:28-29. From above the horse-gate — Not that belonging to the king’s palace, (2 Chronicles 23:15,) but one of the gates of the city, so called, probably, because the horses commonly went out that way to their watering-place. Shechaniah the keeper of the east gate — To wit, of the city or of the temple, which, being the chief gate, was committed to his particular care and custody.
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.Nehemiah 3:30. And Hanun the sixth son of Zalaph, another piece — It seems his five elder brethren laid not their hands to the work. But in doing that which is good, we need not stay to see our betters go before us.
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.
And between the going up of the corner unto the sheep gate repaired the goldsmiths and the merchants.Nehemiah 3:32. The going up unto the sheep-gate — There they began, and there they ended, which shows that they left not off till they had compassed the whole city with a wall. No man can think, (as Pellicanus observes,) that the names of them who repaired the walls of Jerusalem were set down so diligently as here they are, without some rational cause for it. And the reason was, because it was a work of great virtue, to love and to do honour to their country; a work of piety, to restore the holy city; a religious conduct, to defend the true worshippers of God, that they might serve him in quietness and safety; and a courageous behaviour, in the midst of so many enemies, to go on with this work in a pious confidence of the power of God to support them. The names, therefore, of such persons deserved to be preserved and transmitted to future generations, as a most noble example to them.