And the other company of them that gave thanks went over against them, and I after them, and the half of the people on the wall, from beyond the tower of the furnaces even to the broad wall;
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)The other company.—Comparing the order with Nehemiah 3, the reader will have a clear view of the second company. They had the longer route, proceed. ing to the left, rounding the north “broad wall,” passing the sheep-gate, and so meeting the priestly company near the prison-gate. The space where they met had the Temple straight in front, the prison-gate on the right, and the water-gate on the left.Nehemiah 3:16-26, on their way to the eastern wall. Over against them, to wit, on the other side of the city, northward and eastward.
The broad wall; which they made thicker and stronger than the rest of the wall, for some special reason.
and I after them; Nehemiah, he brought up the rear of his company, as Ezra led the van of his:
and the half of the people upon the wall; the chief of them, for all could not walk upon it:
from beyond the tower of the furnaces; where they baked their bread, or their bricks, see Nehemiah 3:11,
even unto the broad wall; where the wall was broader than common, for some reason or another, see Nehemiah 3:8.And the other company of them that gave thanks went over against them, and I after them, and the half of the people upon the wall, from beyond the tower of the furnaces even unto the broad wall;
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)38. over against them] R.V. to meet them. The line of march of the other procession was by the northern wall. By an ingenious conjecture, Reuss, altering the Hebrew word (= to meet them) by the addition of one consonant, proposes to read ‘on the left hand,’ balancing the words in Nehemiah 12:31.
and I after them] Nehemiah, following the thanksgiving company of Levites and singers and musicians, marched, like Ezra, at the head of the other half of the princes and the people.
and the half, &c.] R.V. with the half, &c. The other half of the princes, priests, men of Judah and Benjamin, and musicians.
from beyond] R.V. above. This seems to mean at a little distance from, i.e. to the north of (see, however, note on Nehemiah 12:31).
the tower of the furnaces] Cf. Nehemiah 3:11.
even unto the broad wall] Cf. Nehemiah 3:8.Verses 38, 39. - And the other company. Nehemiah now proceeds to trace the course of the other choir or procession - the one which he himself accompanied. Starting from the same part of the western wall as the other, its course was northward to the N.W. angle of the city wall, after which it was eastward to the "sheep gate, and then southward to the "prison gate." In this part of his description Nehemiah traces the same portion of the wall as that which had engaged his attention in Nehemiah 3:1-11, and mentions almost exactly the same features, but in the reverse order. For the tower of the furnaces see Nehemiah 3:11; for the broad wall, ver. 8; for the old gate, ver. 6; for the fish gate, ver. 3; for the tower of Hananeel, the tower of Meah, and the sheep gate, ver. 1. The gate of Ephraim is not mentioned in ch. 3. It must have been in the north wall, a little to the west of the "old gate." The prison gate, also omitted in ch. 3, was probably in the east wall, a little north of the water gate. Nehemiah 4:2. לחומה מעל, upwards to the wall, so that they stood upon the wall. העמיד, to place, i.e., to cause to take up a position, so that those assembled formed two companies or processions. תודה, acknowledgement, praise, thanks, and then thankofferings, accompanied by the singing of psalms and thanksgivings. Hence is derived the meaning: companies of those who gave thanks, in Nehemiah 12:31, Nehemiah 12:38, Nehemiah 12:40. ותהלכת, et processiones, solemn processions, is added more closely to define תודה. The company of those who gave thanks consisted of a number of Levitical singers, behind whom walked the princes of the people, the priests, and Levites. At the head of one procession went Ezra the scribe (Nehemiah 12:36), with one half of the nobles; at the head of the second, Nehemiah with the other half (Nehemiah 12:38). The one company and procession went to the right upon the wall. Before ליּמין we must supply, "one band went" (הולכת האחת התּודה), as is evident partly from the context of the present verse, partly from Nehemiah 12:38. These words were probably omitted by a clerical error caused by the similarity of תּהלכת to הולכת. Thus the first procession went to the right, i.e., in a southerly direction, upon the wall towards the dung-gate (see rem. on Nehemiah 3:14); the second, Nehemiah 12:38, went over against the first (למאל), i.e., in an opposite direction, and therefore northwards, past the tower of the furnaces, etc. The starting-point of both companies and processions is not expressly stated, but may be easily inferred from the points mentioned, and can have been none other than the valley-gate, the present Jaffa gate (see rem. on Nehemiah 2:13). Before a further description of the route taken by the first company, the individuals composing the procession which followed it are enumerated in Nehemiah 12:32-36. After them, i.e., after the first company of them that gave thanks, went Hoshaiah and half of the princes of Judah. Hoshaiah was probably the chief of the one half of these princes. The seven names in Nehemiah 12:33 and Nehemiah 12:34 are undoubtedly the names of the princes, and the ו before עזריה is explicative: even, namely. Bertheau's remark, "After the princes came the orders of priests, Azariah," etc., is incorrect. It is true that of these seven names, five occur as names of priests, and heads of priestly houses, viz.: Azariah, Nehemiah 10:2; Nehemiah 12:1; Meshullam, Nehemiah 10:7; Shemaiah, Nehemiah 10:8 and Nehemiah 12:6; and Jeremiah, Nehemiah 12:1. But even if these individuals were heads of priestly orders, their names do not here stand for their orders. Still less do Judah and Benjamin denote the half of the laity of Judah and Benjamin, as Bertheau supposes, and thence infers that first after the princes came two or three orders of priests, then half of the laity of Judah and Benjamin, and then two more orders of priests. Nehemiah 12:38, which is said to give rise to this view, by no means confirms it. It is true that in this verse העם חצי, besides Nehemiah, are stated to have followed the company of those who gave thanks; but that העם in this verse is not used to designate the people as such, but is only a general expression for the individuals following the company of singers, is placed beyond doubt by Nehemiah 12:40, where העם is replaced by הסּגנים חצי; while, beside the half of the rulers, with Nehemiah, only priests with trumpets and Levites with stringed instruments (Nehemiah 12:41) are enumerated as composing the second procession. Since, then, the priests with trumpets and Levites with musical instruments are mentioned in the first procession (Nehemiah 12:35 and Nehemiah 12:36), the names enumerated in Nehemiah 12:33 and Nehemiah 12:34 can be only those of the one half of the סגנים of the people, i.e., the one half of the princes of Judah. The princes of Judah, i.e., of the Jewish community, consisted not only of laymen, but included also the princes, i.e., heads of priestly and Levitical orders; and hence priestly and Levitical princes might also be among the seven whose names are given in Nehemiah 12:33 and Nehemiah 12:34. A strict severance, moreover, between lay and priestly princes cannot be made by the names alone; for these five names, which may designate priestly orders, pertain in other passages to laymen, viz.: Azariah, in Nehemiah 3:23; Ezra, as of the tribe of Judah, 1 Chronicles 4:17; Meshullam, Nehemiah 3:4; Nehemiah 10:21, and elsewhere; Shemaiah, Ezra 6:13; Ezra 10:31; 1 Chronicles 3:22; 1 Chronicles 4:37 (of Judah), 1 Chronicles 5:4 (a Reubenite), and other passages (this name being very usual; comp. Simonis Onomast. p. 546); Jeremiah, 1 Chronicles 5:24 (a Manassite), Nehemiah 12:4 (a Benjamite), Nehemiah 12:10 (a Gadite). Even the name Judah is met with among the priests (Nehemiah 12:36), and among the Levites, Nehemiah 12:8, comp. also Nehemiah 11:9, and that of Benjamin, Nehemiah 3:23 and Ezra 10:32. In the present verses, the two names are not those of tribes, but of individuals, nomina duorum principum (R. Sal.).
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