Nehemiah 3:30
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.
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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.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 horse gate" was on the east side of the city, overlooking the Kidron valley. It seems to have been a gate by which horses approached and left the old palace, that of David, which lay north of the temple Nehemiah 3:25. 26. the Nethinims—Not only the priests and the Levites, but the common persons that belonged to the house of God, contributed to the work. The names of those who repaired the walls of Jerusalem are commemorated because it was a work of piety and patriotism to repair the holy city. It was an instance of religion and courage to defend the true worshippers of God, that they might serve Him in quietness and safety, and, in the midst of so many enemies, go on with this work, piously confiding in the power of God to support them [Bishop Patrick]. Or, chambers; the singular number for the plural. After him repaired Hananiah the son of Shelemiah, and Hanun the sixth son of Zalaph, another piece,.... This last man had six sons; but only his youngest son wrought at this work, which is observed to his great commendation:

after him repaired Shelemiah the son of Berechiah, over against his chamber; the same as in Nehemiah 3:4 who having finished what he engaged in there, took his part where his chamber was, and repaired over against that.

After him repaired Hananiah the son of Shelemiah, and Hanun the {g} sixth son of Zalaph, another piece. After him repaired Meshullam the son of Berechiah over against his chamber.

(g) Meaning the sixth of his sons.

30. Hanun the sixth son of Zalaph, … piece] R.V. portion. This particular mention of Hanun as ‘the sixth son’ of Zalaph is noteworthy, since the mention of other names in this chapter is unaccompanied with any detail of description. It is not mentioned in Nehemiah 3:13, where Hanun’s name first occurs; but in this passage it has the support of all the versions. If therefore the word is, as some suppose, a corruption for ‘and the inhabitants of Zanoah’ (Nehemiah 3:13), or a numerical gloss that has accidentally found its way into the text, the error must have arisen in very early times.

Meshullam the son of Berechiah] His name has occurred in Nehemiah 3:4 and it is strange that the words ‘another portion’ are not added in connexion with this second mention of his work. We should naturally expect this tribute to be applied to him rather than to Hanun.

over against his chamber] The word for ‘chamber’ is an unusual form—occurring elsewhere in the O.T. only in Nehemiah 12:44, Nehemiah 13:7—for the ordinary word occurring in Ezra 8:29, where see note. Perhaps it is used here to denote some official residence (LXX. γαζοφυλάκιον, Vulg. gazophylacium). The mention of Meshullam’s ‘chamber’ increases the probability that he was a priest of eminence, if, as the context somewhat suggests, ‘the chamber’ was within the Temple precincts.Verse 30. - After him. The traditional text gives "after me;" and it has been supposed that Nehemiah assigned himself a certain portion of the wall and repaired it, but suppressed his own name through modesty. But, as general superintendent of the whole (Nehemiah 4:13-23), he could scarcely take any special work; and the argument that might have been founded upon a single occurrence of the expression "after me" is deprived of all force by its double occurrence, here and in ver. 31. Another piece. A Hanun has been mentioned (ver. 13) among the leaders of the working parties, and also a Hananiah (ver. 8); but they were not coupled together; and it may well be questioned whether either is identical with his namesake of this verse. Probably we have here another instance of the incompleteness of our present text of this chapter (see the comment on ver. 11). Next repaired Binnui the son of Henadad, a second portion from the house of Azariah, to the angle and to the corner; and further on (Nehemiah 3:25) Palal the son of Uzzai, from opposite the angle and the high tower which stands out from the king's house by the court of the prison. We join העליון to המּגדּל, though it is also verbally admissible to combine it with המּלך בּית, "the tower which stands out from the king's upper house," because nothing is known of an upper and lower king's house. It would be more natural to assume (with Bertheau) that there was an upper and a lower tower at the court of the prison, but this is not implied by העליון. The word means first, high, elevated, and its use does not assume the existence of a lower tower; while the circumstance that the same tower is in Nehemiah 3:27 called the great (הגּדול) tells in favour of the meaning high in the present case. The court of the prison was, according to Jeremiah 32:2, in or near the king's house; it is also mentioned Jeremiah 32:8, Jeremiah 32:12; Jeremiah 33:1; Jeremiah 37:21; Jeremiah 38:6, Jeremiah 38:13, Jeremiah 38:28, and Jeremiah 39:14. But from none of these passages can it be inferred, as by Bertheau, that it was situate in the neighbourhood of the temple. His further remark, too, that the king's house is not the royal palace in the city of David, but an official edifice standing upon or near the temple area, and including the court of the prison with its towers, is entirely without foundation.

(Note: Equally devoid of proof is the view of Ewald, Diestel (in Herzog's Realencycl. xiii. p. 325), Arnold, and others, that the royal palace stood upon Moriah or Ophel on the south side of the temple, in support of which Diestel adduces Nehemiah 3:25. See the refutation of this view in the commentary on 1 Kings 7:12 (Note).)

The royal palace lay, according to Josephus, Ant. viii. 5. 2, opposite the temple (ἀντικρὺς ἔχων ναόν), i.e., on the north-eastern side of Zion, and this is quite in accordance with the statements of this verse; for as it is not till Nehemiah 3:27 that the description of the wall-building reaches the walls of Ophel, all the localities and buildings spoken of in Nehemiah 3:24-27 must be sought for on the east side of Zion. The court of the prison formed, according to Eastern custom, part of the royal fortress upon Zion. The citadel had, moreover, a high tower. This is obvious from Sol 4:4, though the tower of David there mentioned, on which hung a thousand bucklers, all shields of mighty men, may not be identical with the tower of the king's house in this passage; from Micah 4:8, where the tower of the flock, the stronghold of the daughter of Zion, is the tower of the royal citadel; and from Isaiah 32:14, where citadel and tower (בּחן, properly watch-tower) answer to the ארמון of the royal citadel, which lay with its forts upon the hill of Zion. This high tower of the king's house, i.e., of the royal citadel, stood, according to our verses, in the immediate neighbourhood of the angle and the corner (הפּנּה); for the section of wall which reached to the פּנּה lay opposite the angle and the high tower of the king's house. The wall here evidently formed a corner, running no longer from south to north, but turning eastwards, and passing over Ophel, the southern spur of Moriah. A length from this corner onwards was built by Pedaiah the son of Parosh; comp. Ezra 2:3.

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