After him repaired Nehemiah the son of Azbuk, the ruler of the half part of Bethzur, to the place over against the sepulchers of David, and to the pool that was made, and to the house of the mighty.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)The sepulchres of David.—Excavated on the western side of the Temple, and never yet traced.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.Over against the sepulchres of David, i.e. the place which David appointed for his own sepulchres, and the sepulchres of his successors the kings of Israel and Judah.
The pool that was made, to wit, by Hezekiah, 2 Kings 20:20; whereby it is distinguished from that pool which was natural.
The house of the mighty; or, of the valiant; which possibly was formerly appointed for the receipt of those chief captains that should attend upon the king, their courses, or of some other valiant commanders who should upon occasion resort to Jerusalem. Joshua 15:58,
unto the place over against the sepulchres of David; where he and his family, and the kings of his race, were buried, which remained to this time untouched by the Babylonians, and to many ages after; see Acts 2:29
and to the pool that was made; not a natural, but an artificial one, which was made by Hezekiah, 2 Kings 20:20,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.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)16. the ruler of the half part of Beth-zur] R.V. the ruler of half the district of Beth-Zur. Beth-Zur (Joshua 15:58), the modern Beitsur, was about 13 miles S. of Jerusalem. It commanded the road to Hebron and was fortified by Rehoboam (2 Chronicles 11:7). From the mention of it in this verse we may gather that it ranked as an important town on the Southern frontier. In the Maccabean Wars it appears as a strongly fortified place and the scene of three of the bloodiest conflicts (cf. 1Ma 4:29; 1Ma 11:65-66; 1Ma 14:7.
unto the place over against the sepulchres of David] This must have been a well-known spot opposite the tombs of the former kings of Judah. From the way in which these are mentioned in 2 Chronicles 32:33 ‘they buried (Hezekiah) in the ascent of the sepulchres of the sons of David,’ they were probably on the side of the south-east or east cliff of Mt. Ophel. We may expect interesting discoveries to result from investigations instituted at this spot for the sake of identifying the royal sepulchres.
and to the pool that was made] R.V. and unto &c. From this description of ‘the pool’ some have supposed that Nehemiah regarded it as a recent construction in his own time. Others identify it with the pool constructed by Hezekiah mentioned in Isaiah 22:9-11.
It clearly lay north of the pool of Shelah, and was fed perhaps by the same conduit from the Virgin’s Well. Cf. Sayce, ‘Traces of this have been found by Dr Guthe, close to the so-called tree of Isaiah; and since the city wall here formed one of the walls of the reservoir, the latter must have been constructed after the walls had been built.’
the house of the mighty] R.V. the house of the mighty men. This name was probably given to the traditional site (or building on the site) of the former royal barracks erected by David for his ‘body-guard of mighty men’ (2 Samuel 16:6; 2 Samuel 23:8). That it denotes the residence of the Temple guard (cf. 1 Chronicles 9:26; 1 Chronicles 26:6), is a less probable explanation of the name.
Rabbi Saadiah understands by the expression ‘the Sanhedrin,’ who were mighty in the Law, and compares Psalm 103:20, ‘ye mighty in strength that fulfil his word.’Verse 16. - Nehemiah the son of Azbuk. Not the writer, who was "the son of Hachaliah" (Nehemiah 1:1), but another person of the same name. It was the frequent bearing of the same name by two or more contemporaries which made it necessary to designate men generally by their own names and the names of their fathers. Bethzur ("House of the Rock") is now Beit-Sur, and lies on the ordinary route from Jerusalem to Hebron, about fifteen miles south of Jerusalem. It is mentioned in Joshua 15:58 among the cities of Judah, and appears to have become a place of considerable importance under the Maccabees (1 Maccabees 4:29 1 Maccabees 6:31-50 1 Maccabees 14:7; etc.). The sepulchres of David and the kings, his descendants, to the time of Hezekiah, were excavated in the rock upon which the temple stood (Ezekiel 43:7-9), apparently on its western side. They have not hitherto been discovered. Here too was the pool that was made by Hezekiah when he was about to be besieged by Sennacherib (2 Chronicles 32:30; Isaiah 22:9-11). The house of the mighty - the Gibborim, or "mighty men of David (2 Samuel 23:8; 1 Chronicles 11:10) - is not elsewhere mentioned. It was no doubt the barrack where, according to tradition, David had quartered his best troops. Nehemiah 3:19 with Nehemiah 3:15, where Mizpah and the district of Mizpah are distinguished); by Jedaiah ben Harumaph, בּיתו ונגד, and indeed before (opposite) his house, i.e., the portion of wall which lay opposite his own dwelling; and by Hattush the son of Hashabniah. Whether Hattush is to be identified with the priest of this name (Nehemiah 10:5), or with the similarly named descendant of David (Ezra 8:2), or with neither, cannot be determined.
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