Nehemiah 3:7
And next to them repaired Melatiah the Gibeonite, and Jadon the Meronothite, the men of Gibeon, and of Mizpah, to the throne of the governor on this side the river.
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(7) Unto the throne.Unto the seat of the pechah of the whole district this side the Euphrates: his residence when he came to Jerusalem.

Nehemiah 3:7. Unto the throne of the governor on this side the river — Unto the place where the governor of the country on this side Euphrates, under the Persian kings, sometimes had a palace or throne.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.Unto the throne ... - The meaning is thought to be "the men of Gibeon and Mizpah, who, though they worked for Nehemiah, were not under his government, but belonged to the jurisdiction of the governor on this side the river." 2. next unto him builded the men of Jericho, &c.—The wall was divided into portions, one of which was assigned respectively to each of the great families which had returned from the captivity. This distribution, by which the building was carried on in all parts simultaneously with great energy, was eminently favorable to despatch. "The villages where the restorers resided being mostly mentioned, it will be seen that this circumstance affords a general indication of the part of the wall upon which they labored, such places being on that side of the city nearest their place of abode; the only apparent exception being, perhaps, where they repaired more than their piece. Having completed their first undertaking (if they worked any more), there being no more work to be done on the side next their residence, or having arrived after the repairs on that part of the city nearest them under operation were completed, they would go wherever their services would be required" [Barclay, City of the Great King]. i.e. Unto the place where the governor of the country on this side the river Euphrates, for and under the Persian kings, sometimes had a palace or throne, to which all persons living in the adjacent parts were to resort for judgment. And next unto them repaired Melatiah the Gibeonite, and Jadon the Meronothite, the men of Gibeon and Mizpah,.... Which places were both in the tribe of Benjamin, Joshua 18:25 and one of these men was of the one place, and the other of the other:

unto the throne of the governor on this side the river; where the governor of those parts under the king of Persia had his seat, and now Nehemiah; but, according to Aben Ezra, Cisse, rendered "throne", is the name of a man who was the governor.

And next unto them repaired Melatiah the Gibeonite, and Jadon the Meronothite, the men of Gibeon, and of Mizpah, unto the {c} throne of the governor on this side the river.

(c) To the place where the Duke was wont to sit in judgment, who governed the country in their absence.

7. Melatiah the Gibeonite, and Jadon the Meronothite, the men of Gibeon, and of Mizpah] In this arrangement of names it is natural to see the names of two leaders followed by the description of their respective followers. Melatiah is thus at the head of the Gibeonites, Jadon at the head of the men of Mizpah. But as the latter is called ‘the Meronothite’ (see also 1 Chronicles 27:30), we conclude that Meronoth, his native place, must have been a village in the immediate neighbourhood of Mizpah.

The men of Gibeon are included in Nehemiah 7:25 among those who returned with Zerubbabel (see the parallel passage, Ezra 2:20).

Mizpah, about 3½ miles N. of Jerusalem, the modern Nebi-Samwil. Rulers of Mizpah are further on mentioned as concerned in the restoration of other portions of the wall (Nehemiah 3:15; Nehemiah 3:19). The men of Mizpah referred to in this verse may have been under different control (see next note).

unto the throne of the governor on this side the river] R.V. which appertained to the throne of the governor beyond the river.

This obscure clause has occasioned great difficulty. (a) According to the rendering of the A.V., it denotes the limit of the restoration undertaken by the men mentioned in this verse. ‘The throne of the governor, &c.’ will then be the official residence of the Persian satrap or the actual throne in which he sate dispensing justice. The preposition ‘unto’ may be understood to mean, either that the governor’s house was built on the wall, and that the restoration mentioned in this verse reached this point; or that the governor’s ‘throne’ was in the vicinity, and the restoration was carried on to a point over against it.

The chief objection to this rendering is the use of the word ‘throne.’ But it is more simple than the alternative rendering given below. And the supposition is very natural, that an official spot, close to the chief northern gate of the city (Nehemiah 3:6), should become a recognised landmark. The visit of the satrap of the country W. of the Euphrates to the provincial capitals would be a rare event; and the spot which symbolised his dignity would receive a distinctive name.

(b) According to the rendering of the R.V., the clause is added by way of limitation after the mention of Mizpah. Mizpah it is supposed was partly under Jewish rulers (Nehemiah 3:15; Nehemiah 3:19), partly under the rule of the Persian provincial governor. The boundary passed through the district of Mizpah. ‘The men of Mizpah,’ mentioned here, represented the portion under Persian rule, in which perhaps the village of Maronoth was included. By the indulgence of the Persian rulers (cf. Nehemiah 2:7) a contingent was permitted to render aid to their brethren.

The phrase ‘the throne of the governor beyond the river’ will then be a technical term of authority in vogue among the Jews during the Persian supremacy. ‘Throne’ in the sense of ‘rule’ is poetical, cf. Psalm 89:29; Psalm 89:36.

There is nothing to be said in favour of another proposed rendering ‘in the name of the governor, &c.’ The Vulgate renders ‘pro duce,’ the LXX. ἕως θρόνου τοῦ ἄρχοντος.Verse 7. - Gibeon and Mispah lay due north of Jerusalem, at the distance respectively of about 5.5 and 4.5 miles The inhabitants were set to repair the middle part of the north wall. Unto the throne of the governor on this side the river. So the Septuagint; and, among moderns, Michaelis, Pool, and A. Clarke. Others translate - "the men of Gibeon and Mizpah, who belonged to the jurisdiction of the governor across the river." But this can scarcely have been the fact, since Gibeon is mentioned among the re-occupied cities in Nehemiah 7:25, and if Bethel was Jewish, as we know that it was from Nehemiah 11:31, Gibeon and Mizpah, which were nearer Jerusalem, cannot have remained Syrian. Altogether, there is no reason to dispute the commonly received rendering, since Nehemiah again uses ל for עד in ver. 32, and the governor of Syria may well have had a "throne," or tribunal, at Jerusalem, which was usually under his jurisdiction, though exempted from his authority under the existing regime. The narrative of the building is connected with what precedes by ויּקם, which alludes to the carrying out of the resolve, נקוּם, Nehemiah 2:18. The enumeration begins with Eliashib the high priest and his brethren, i.e., the ordinary priests. These built the sheep-gate, rightly sought by modern topographers in the eastern wall north of Haram, the site of the ancient temple, i.e., in the position or neighbourhood of the present St. Stephen's gate, through which the Bedouins to this day drive sheep into the town for sale (Tobler, Topogr. i. p. 149). "Although," as Bertheau remarks, "we are not generally justified, after the lapse of so many centuries, during which great changes have been made in the positions of the gates and walls, and in face of the fact that the present walls and gates were not erected till the years 1536, 1537, and 1539, in determining the direction and extent of the walls between the several gates, and the locality of the gates in this description, by the direction and extent of the wall and the locality of the gates in modern Jerusalem (Tobl. Topogr. Dritte Wanderung, p. 265), yet in the present instance valid arguments exist in favour of this view. The very neighbourhood of the temple and the nature of the soil bear witness that from ancient times a gate was placed here which took its name from the circumstance that sheep were driven in by it, whether for sale in the market or for sacrificial purposes."

(Note: In the neighbourhood of this gate was the pool of Bethesda (John 5:2), i.e., either the present Birket Israel or Birket es Serain, south of St. Stephen's gate (Tobler, Denkbltter, p. 53f., and Dritte Wanderung, p. 221), or the Struthion pool mentioned by Josephus, bell. Jud. v. 11. 4, κολυμβήθρα τοῦ στρουθίου; Krafft, Topographie von Jerusalem, p. 127f.)

They sanctified it and set up its doors: and to the tower Hammeah they sanctified it unto the tower Hananeel. קדּשׁ, to sanctify, to dedicate (comp. 1 Kings 8:64), can here only mean that the priests dedicated that portion of building on which they were engaged, as soon as they had finished it, for the purpose of sanctifying the whole work by this preliminary consecration; the solemn dedication of the whole wall not taking place till afterwards, and being related Nehemiah 12:27. The setting up of the doors in the gates did not, according to Nehemiah 6:1, take place till after all the breaches in the wall had been repaired, i.e., till the building of the wall was completed. It is, however, mentioned here, and in Nehemiah 3:3, Nehemiah 3:6, etc., contemporaneously with the wall-building; because the builders of the several gates, undertaking also the construction and setting up of the doors, the intention is to give a summary of the work executed by the respective building parties. המּאה ועד־מגּדּל is still dependent on יבנוּ, that is to say, this verb must be mentally repeated before the words: they built to the tower Hammeah, they sanctified it (the suffix in קדּשׁוּהוּ can only relate to מגּדּל). יבנוּ must also be repeated before חננאל מגּדּל עד: and they built further, unto the tower Hananeel. The tower המּאה (the hundred) is only mentioned here and Nehemiah 12:39, but the tower Hananeel is likewise spoken of Jeremiah 31:38 and Zechariah 14:10. From these passages it appears that the two towers were so situated, that any one going from west to east along the north wall of the city, and thence southward, would first come to the tower Hananeel, and afterwards to the tower Hammeah, and that both were between the fish-gate and the sheep-gate. From the passages in Jeremiah and Zechariah especially, it is evident that the tower Hananeel stood at the north-east corner of the wall. Hence the statement in this verse, that the portion of wall built by the priests extended to the north-east corner of the wall; and the tower Hammeah must be sought between the sheep-gate and the north-east corner of the wall. Whence the names of these towers were derived is unknown.

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