Nehemiah 3:15
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.
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(15) He covered it.—Similar to laid the beams in Nehemiah 3:3; Nehemiah 3:6.

The pool of Siloah.—Called before “the king’s pool,” which received its water as “sent” through a long subterranean conduit, and supplied the king’s gardens.

The stairs.—Down the steep sides of Ophel, of which traces are thought still to remain. From this point it is very hard to trace the exact course.

3:1-32 The rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem. - The work was divided, so that every one might know what he had to do, and mind it, with a desire to excel; yet without contention, or separate interests. No strife appears among them, but which should do most for the public good. Every Israelite should lend a hand toward the building up of Jerusalem. Let not nobles think any thing below them, by which they may advance the good of their country. Even some females helped forward the work. Some repaired over against their houses, and one repaired over against his chamber. When a general good work is to be done, each should apply himself to that part which is within his reach. If every one will sweep before his own door, the street will be clean; if every one will mend one, we shall all be mended. Some that had first done helped their fellows. The walls of Jerusalem, in heaps of rubbish, represent the desperate state of the world around, while the number and malice of those who hindered the building, give some faint idea of the enemies we have to contend with, while executing the work of God. Every one must begin at home; for it is by getting the work of God advanced in our own souls that we shall best contribute to the good of the church of Christ. May the Lord thus stir up the hearts of his people, to lay aside their petty disputes, and to disregard their worldly interests, compared with building the walls of Jerusalem, and defending the cause of truth and godliness against the assaults of avowed enemies.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.

14. Beth-haccerem—a city of Judah, supposed to be now occupied by Bethulia, on a hill of the same name, which is sometimes called also the mountain of the Franks, between Jerusalem and Tekoa. The wall of the pool of Siloah; that part of the wall which was directly against that pool.

But the gate of the fountain,.... Of which see Nehemiah 2:14

repaired Shallum, the son of Colhozeh, the ruler of part of Mizpah; of a tract, district, town, or city so called; perhaps that in the tribe of Benjamin; see Nehemiah 3:7,

he built it, and covered it; roofed it, which is not said of any of the other gates, whether because of the fountain at it:

and set up the doors thereof, &c. finished it completely:

and the wall of the pool of Siloah, by the king's garden; which was formerly without the wall, on the west, but afterwards taken in by Manasseh, who built it; see 2 Chronicles 33:14, and from hence the king's garden was watered:

and unto the stairs that go down from the city of David: Zion, which was built on an eminence, from which they went down by steps into the lower city Acra.

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.
15. But the gate of the fountain] R.V. And the fountain gate. See Nehemiah 2:14. According to the old view, Nehemiah’s description here passes over a considerable space (nearly half a mile in straight line) between the ‘dung gate’ and the ‘fountain gate.’ The omission is capable of being explained as due either to the omission of certain details, cf. Nehemiah 3:11, or to the fact that the precipitous nature of the ground rendered little work necessary upon the southern wall. But it can hardly be accidental that a similar omission has to be understood in the other description of the wall’s circuit (ch. Nehemiah 12:31; Nehemiah 12:37). It seems reasonable to incline to the recent suggestion, that, ‘the valley’ of Nehemiah 3:13, being the Tyropœon, the circuit of the fortification wall did not include the Western Hill, but ran directly S. down the E. side of ‘the valley’ as far as ‘the dung gate’, when it began to deflect eastward.

Shallun] The A.V. (1611) spelling ‘Shallum’ is perhaps due to Nehemiah 3:12.

the ruler of part of Mizpah] R.V. the ruler of the district of Mizpah. A distinction is drawn between the town of Mizpah and the adjacent district. Cf. ‘the district of Jerusalem,’ Nehemiah 3:9; Nehemiah 3:12. ‘The ruler of Mizpah’ itself is mentioned in Nehemiah 3:19. See also on Nehemiah 3:7.

covered it] The word so rendered does not occur elsewhere in the Bible. The LXX. renders ἐστέγασεν. It seems to correspond to the expression ‘laid the beams thereof’ in Nehemiah 3:3; Nehemiah 3:6.

and the wall of the pool of Siloah by the king’s garden] R.V. And the wall of the pool of Shelah by the king’s garden. Marg. ‘In Isaiah 8:6, Shiloah’. On Siloam (= Birket Silwân), cf. John 9:7. ‘The pool of Shelah,’ or of ‘leading,’ is fed by a subterranean channel leading from the Virgin’s Spring, distant 1708 feet, through the Ophel rock. The connexion was discovered by Sir Charles Warren. The tunnel is a remarkable piece of engineering. On the very ancient inscription describing its construction which was found in 1880, see Sayce’s Fresh Lights.

The pool here mentioned is probably the same as the lower pool, the modern ‘Birket el Hamra.’ The water from the pool flowed through ‘the king’s garden.’ The old city wall extended much further south than the modern city. The pool was formed by a heavy dam of masonry, probably part of the city wall. ‘The king’s garden’ is mentioned also in 2 Kings 25:4; Jeremiah 39:4; Jeremiah 52:7. We cannot conclude for certain from this verse that it was included within the walls. But the water supply of the town depending largely upon the pool, the pool was probably enclosed by the wall. The double walls mentioned in 2 Kings 25:4 probably protected both pool and gardens.

and unto the stairs, &c.] R.V. even unto the stairs, &c. These ‘stairs’ mark the limit of Shallum’s work in a northerly direction. The ‘stairs’ were the steps ascending the steep declivity of the ‘Ophel’ or southern spur of Mt. Zion, on the eastern side of the city, and leading to the ‘water gate’ mentioned in Nehemiah 8:1; Nehemiah 8:16, above ‘the house of David’ (see Nehemiah 12:37). See Sayce, p. 87. ‘Remains of these stairs have been discovered by Schick and Guthe a little to the east of the Pool of Siloam, as well as a little to the south of the Virgin’s Spring (but within the line of the old wall), so that they must have run up the eastern slope of Zion, and ended not very far from the square in front of the watergate.’

from the city of David] The ‘city of David’ was the name given to the fortress captured by David, known as Zion. Its locality has been much disputed. (1) General tradition has identified it with the southern extremity of the western hill; (2) recently Conder and Warren have assigned it to the northern elevated portion of the same hill; (3) there is, however, good reason for identifying it with ‘the Temple hill.’ This last view is favoured by the language of the O. T. associating Zion with the dwelling or Temple of Jehovah. The present context almost conclusively proves that the ‘city of David’ lay on the eastern or Temple Hill.

Verse 15. - The gate of the fountain. See the comment on Nehemiah 2:14. The ruler of part of Mizpah. Rather, "ruler of the district of Mizpah," which is distinguished from the town of Mizpah (vers. 7, 19), and shown to have furnished a distinct working party. The wall of the pool of Siloah was probably an outwork designed to protect those who at a time of siege frequented this fountain. The pool must always have been outside of the main wall of the city. It furnished water to the royal garden, which was at the junction of the Kidron and Hinnora valleys (Joseph. 'Ant. Jud.,' 7:11; 2 Kings 25:4). The stairs that go down from the city of David may well be the flight of stone steps cut in the rock which is still to be seen on the western flank of Ophel, leading from the valley of the Tyropeeon in the direction of the temple (see Stanley, 'Lectures on the Jewish Church,' Third Series, p. 126; Tristram, 'Land of Israel,' p. 190). Nehemiah 3:15The fountain-gate and a portion of wall adjoining it was repaired by Shallum the son of Col-hozeh, the ruler of the district of Mizpah. כּל־חזה occurs again, Nehemiah 11:5, apparently as the name of another individual. To יבננּוּ is added יטללנּוּ, he covered it, from טלל, to shade, to cover, answering to the קרוּהוּ of Nehemiah 3:3 and Nehemiah 3:6, probably to cover with a layer of beams. The position of the fountain-gate is apparent from the description of the adjoining length of wall which Shallum also repaired. This was "the wall of the pool of Shelach (Siloah) by the king's garden, and unto the stairs that go down from the city of David." The word שׁלח recalls שׁלּוח; the pool of Shelach can be none other than the pool which received its water through the שׁלח, i.e., mission (aquae). By the researches of Robinson (Pal. ii. p. 148f.) and Tobler (Die Siloahquelle u. der Oelberg, p. 6f.), it has been shown that the pool of Siloah receives its water from a subterranean conduit 1750 feet long, cut through the rock from the Fountain of the Virgin, Ain Sitti Miriam, on the eastern slope of Ophel. Near to the pool of Siloah, on the eastern declivity of Zion, just where the Tyropoean valley opens into the vale of Kidron, is found an old and larger pool (Birket el Hamra), now covered with grass and trees, and choked with earth, called by Tobler the lower pool of Siloah, to distinguish it from the one still existing, which, because it lies north-west of the former, he calls the upper pool of Siloah. One of these pools of Siloah, probably the lower and larger, is certainly the king's pool mentioned Nehemiah 2:14, in the neighbourhood of which lay, towards the east and south-east, the king's garden. The wall of the pool of Shelach need not have reached quite up to the pool, but may have gone along the edge of the south-eastern slope of Zion, at some distance therefrom. In considering the next particular following, "unto the stairs that go down from the city of David," we must turn our thoughts towards a locality somewhat to the north of this pool, the description now proceeding from the south-eastern corner of the wall northward. These stairs are not yet pointed out with certainty, unless perhaps some remains of them are preserved in the "length of rocky escarpment," which Robinson (Pal. ii. p. 102, and Biblical Researches, p. 247) remarked on the narrow ridge of the eastern slope of the hill of Zion, north of Siloam, at a distance of 960 feet from the present wall of the city, "apparently the foundations of a wall or of some similar piece of building."

(Note: Bertheau's view, that these stairs were situated where Mount Zion, upon which stood the city of David, descends abruptly towards the east, and therefore on the precipice running from south to north, which still rises ninety-one feet above the ground northwards of the now so-called Bab el Mogharibeh or dung-gate, opposite the southern part of the west wall of the temple area, is decidedly incorrect. For this place is two thousand feet, i.e., more than one thousand cubits, distant from the pool of Siloah, while our text places them immediately after the length of wall by this pool. The transposition of these "steps" to a position within the present wall of the city is, in Bertheau's case, connected with the erroneous notion that the fountain-gate (Nehemiah 3:15 and Nehemiah 2:14) stood on the site of the present dung-gate (Bab el Mogharibeh), for which no other reason appears than the assumption that the southern wall of the city of David, before the captivity, went over Zion, in the same direction as the southern wall of modern Jerusalem, only perhaps in a rather more southerly direction, - an assumption shown to be erroneous, even by the circumstance that in this case the sepulchres of David, Solomon, and the kings of Judah would have stood outside the city wall, on the southern part of Zion; while, according to the Scripture narrative, David, Solomon, and the kings of Judah were buried in the city of David (1 Kings 2:10; 1 Kings 11:42; 1 Kings 14:31; 1 Kings 15:8, and elsewhere). But apart from this consideration, this hypothesis is shattered by the statements of this fifteenth verse, which Bertheau cannot explain so inconsistently with the other statements concerning the building of the wall, as to make them say that any one coming from the west and going round by the south of the city towards the east, would first arrive at the fountain-gate, and then at the portion of wall in question; but is obliged to explain, so that the chief work, the building of the fountain-gate, is mentioned first; then the slighter work, the reparation of a length of wall as supplementary; and this makes the localities enumerated in Nehemiah 3:13 succeed each other in the following order, in a direction from the west by south and east towards the north: "Valley-gate - one thousand cubits of wall as far as the dung-gate; dung-gate - the wall of the conduit towards the king's garden, as far as the stairs which lead from the city of David - fountain-gate." No adequate reason for this transposition of the text is afforded by the circumstance that no portion of wall is mentioned (Nehemiah 3:14 and Nehemiah 3:15) as being repaired between the dung-gate and the valley-gate. For how do we know that this portion on the southern side of Zion was broken down and needing repair? Might not the length between these two gates have been left standing when the city was burnt by the Chaldeans?)

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