Gaebelein's Annotated Bible
Now it came to pass, when the wall was built, and I had set up the doors, and the porters and the singers and the Levites were appointed,CHAPTER 7
1. Provisions made for the defense of the city (Nehemiah 7:1-4)
2. The genealogy (Nehemiah 7:5-65)
3. Their whole number (Nehemiah 7:66-69)
4. The gifts for the work (Nehemiah 7:70-73)
Nehemiah 7:1-4. The wall had been finished and the doors set up. Porters, singers and the Levites were appointed, and Nehemiah gave to his brother Hanani and Hananiah, the ruler of the castle, charge over Jerusalem. The porters were gate keepers. These gate keepers are named in Ezra 2:42, and here in this chapter in verse 45. Their duty was to open the gates and bar them at night. Nehemiah’s instructions are given in the text, “Let not the gates of Jerusalem be opened until the sun be hot; and while they stand by, let them shut the doors, and bar them: and appoint watches of the inhabitants of Jerusalem, every one in his watch, and every one to be over against his house.” The city was carefully guarded. Every one who entered the city had to do so in broad daylight, and a system of watches was established for the purpose of watching the gates of the city day and night. It seems the Hebrews before the exile, and some time after, had three night watches of four hours each. Later, at the time our Lord was on earth, they had four night watches (Mark 13:35). It was wisdom to guard the entrances to the city so as to keep out those who had no right to enter. As there were many enemies who might sneak in and do harm, this scrutiny and these watches were of great importance and necessity.
This caution exercised by Nehemiah in regard to watching those who entered the gates gives a lesson concerning the Church. The New Testament teaches the same caution as to those who are to be admitted to Christian fellowship, and those who are to be refused. Unregenerated persons have no right in a true church or assembly, nor any one whose life is not right, nor who holds doctrines contrary to the faith delivered unto the saints. “If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: for he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds” (2John 1:10-11). But if even in the Apostolic days “certain men crept in unawares,” as Jude writes (Jude 1:4) how much greater is this evil in these Laodicean days.
Nehemiah 7:5-65. This chapter corresponds to the second chapter in Ezra; the annotations given there need not be repeated here. But we notice Nehemiah’s statement, “My God put it into my heart.” As a godly man, he acknowledges the hand of the Lord and His guidance.
Nehemiah 7:66-69. The number of the whole congregation is given as 42,360. If we turn to Ezra 2:64 we find the same statement. There are differences between these two lists which prove that they are not identical.
Nehemiah 7:70-73. The gifts for the work are mentioned more fully by Nehemiah. See Ezra’s record, chapter 2:68-70. The amounts in both records do not agree, and it is generally charged that it is due to different traditions, or copyists’ errors. But there is no real discrepancy. Ezra mentions what some of the chiefs of the fathers offered. Nehemiah records what he himself gave (Tirshatha is Nehemiah’s Persian title as governor) besides the chiefs and the rest of the people.