Nehemiah 3:8
Next to him repaired Uzziel the son of Harhaiah, of the goldsmiths. Next to him also repaired Hananiah the son of one of the apothecaries, and they fortified Jerusalem to the broad wall.
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(8) And they fortified Jerusalem unto the broad wall.—The word translated “fortified” means literally left, and this yields a good sense: they left Jerusalem untouched as far as a certain portion of the wall extended which needed no restoration. The gate of Ephraim was in this (see Nehemiah 12:38-39); and it is significant that nothing is said about the rebuilding of this important gate.

Nehemiah 3:8. Next unto him repaired Uzziel; also Hananiah — These were two eminent persons, one among the workers or casters of gold, the other among the perfumers. They fortified Jerusalem, &c., unto the broad wall — It is not said, they repaired, but, they fortified it, either because this part of the wall was less demolished than the other, and therefore they needed not to repair it, but only to make it stronger; or, to note their extraordinary care and diligence, that they would not only repair it, but make it stronger than ever.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." 8. they fortified Jerusalem unto the broad wall—or, "double wall," extending from the gate of Ephraim to the corner gate, four hundred cubits in length, formerly broken down by Joash, king of Israel [2Ch 25:23], but afterwards rebuilt by Uzziah [2Ch 26:9], who made it so strong that the Chaldeans, finding it difficult to demolish, had left it standing. It is not said they repaired, as was said of the rest, but they

fortified it, either because this part of the wall was less demolished than the other, and therefore they needed not to repair it, but only to make it stronger by some additions; or to note their extraordinary care and diligence, that they would not only repair it, and restore it to its former state, but make it stronger than ever it was; which also might be fit to be done in that part of the city. Others render it they left, as this word commonly signifies; and so the meaning is, They omitted the building of that part of the wall, because it remained standing; this being that space of four hundred cubits which was pulled down by Joash king of Israel, and rebuilt by Uzziah, who made it so strong, that the Chaldeans could not pull it down without more trouble than they thought fit to employ about it. But this chapter gives us an account of what they did in the building, not of what they did not, but left as they found it. Next unto him repaired Uzziel the son of Harhaiah, of the goldsmiths,.... Or Tzorephim, which, according to Jarchi, was the name of a family so called from their trade and business:

next unto him also repaired Hananiah the son of one of the apothecaries; or confectioners, which also might be the name of a family so called for the same reason:

and they fortified Jerusalem unto the broad wall; which reached from the gate of Ephraim to the corner gate, which was broken down by Joash, king of Israel, but was rebuilt so strong by Uzziah, king of Judah, that it stood firm to this time; wherefore these men repaired up to it, but left that as they found it; see 2 Chronicles 25:23, and were not careful to repair it, it not wanting any repair.

Next unto him repaired Uzziel the son of Harhaiah, of the goldsmiths. Next unto him also repaired Hananiah the son of one of the apothecaries, and they fortified Jerusalem unto the broad wall.
8. Uzziel … of the goldsmiths] R.V. Uzziel …, goldsmiths. The R.V. gives the literal rendering. The meaning of course is that a guild or the guild of goldsmiths, who were represented by Uzziel, undertook the next piece of the wall. The wealth of ‘the goldsmiths’ is shown by the large portion undertaken by the members of their ‘guild.’ Cf. Nehemiah 3:31-32.

Next unto him also] R.V. And next unto him.

Hananiah the son of one of the apothecaries] R.V. Hananiah, one of the apothecaries. Marg. ‘perfumers’. The R.V. gives the meaning of the Hebrew, which is literally ‘Hananiah, a son of the apothecaries or perfumers.’ This Hananiah, possibly ‘the son of Shelemiah’ mentioned as engaged in restoring another portion of the wall, represented the guild of ‘perfumers.’

The word ‘apothecary,’ which appears in the A.V. in Exodus 30:25; Exodus 30:35; Exodus 37:29; 2 Chronicles 16:14; Ecclesiastes 10:1, is not used in the sense of a vendor of medicines. The context in each passage shows that a dealer in ointments, spices, and perfumes is intended. The same word in the feminine is rendered ‘confectionaries’ in 1 Samuel 8:13, where the R.V. marg. ‘perfumers’ is to be preferred.

This was a most important industry in Eastern countries, combining provision for the comforts of the poor and the luxuries of the rich (Song of Solomon 3:6), with the elaborate arts of embalming the dead.

In hot climates the anointing of head or feet with ointment and perfumes was a recognised courtesy offered a distinguished guest (Luke 7:38; Luke 7:46; John 12:3). Anointing with sweet oil was an act of cleansing or purification (Ezekiel 16:9; Ruth 3:3; Jdt 10:3). With women cosmetics constituted a considerable part of personal adornment (Song of Solomon 4:10).

and they fortified Jerusalem unto (R.V. even unto) the broad wall] R.V. marg. ‘Or, left’ for ‘fortified,’ giving the usual sense of the Hebrew verb.

The LXX. has καὶ κατέλιπον Ἱερουσαλὴμ ἕως τοῦ τείχους τοῦ πλατέος: the Vulgate ‘dimiserunt Ierusalem usque ad murum plateæ latioris.’

The difficulty occasioned by the verb has given rise to very different interpretations of the passage:

(1) The A.V. following ancient Jewish interpretation renders ‘fortified Jerusalem;’ and it appears to be the case that the word occurs in Talmudic Hebrew with a meaning connected with building operations (Buxtorf, sub voce, ‘pavimentarunt’). But even if this meaning be accepted, it is not easy to account for the occurrence of the words ‘fortified Jerusalem’ in the middle of a description, the whole of which deals with the fortification of Jerusalem.

(2) Accepting the usual rendering ‘left,’ the following explanations have been given:

(a) ‘And they’, i.e. the Babylonian troops, at the destruction of Jerusalem, had left this portion untouched. This translation introduces an imaginary subject, i.e. the Babylonians. It fails to explain the introduction of the reference to Jerusalem. It makes ‘left’ equivalent to ‘left undestroyed.’

(b) The Jews who were engaged upon the work of restoration ‘left untouched’ this portion of the wall, which happened not to require rebuilding. This again gives an arbitrary meaning to the word ‘left,’ and the mention of ‘Jerusalem’ remains unexplained.

(c) They carried on the fortification at some distance from the dwelling-places of Jerusalem. The city wall extended further north than the houses. The builders ‘left the city,’ i.e. the neighbourhood of the houses, in order to complete the circumvallation included in the plan.

(d) ‘And the Jews had abandoned Jerusalem,’ i.e. Jerusalem was at this point not occupied by the Jews returned from the Captivity. The northern limit of the inhabited quarter did not extend so far as it had done in the Monarchy.

(e) It is possible that the builders at this point ‘left’ some portion of Jerusalem outside their wall. The circumference of the old city was larger than was now needed. In the course of the restoration of the wall the builders abandoned at some point the old outer wall and the uninhabited portion of Jerusalem which it included.

The exact meaning lies hid in the topographical allusion, which we cannot hope to understand. It seems most natural, (1) that the subject to the verb ‘left’ should be the builders just previously mentioned; (2) that ‘Jerusalem’ should imply the inhabited city. The solution offered by (e) seems to be the most probable. The new circumvallation was, as a rule, larger than the old. Here only where the builders went inside and left the old wall, it is expressly mentioned.

the broad wall] The broad wall is mentioned again in chap. Nehemiah 12:38 as between ‘the tower of the furnaces’ and ‘the gate of Ephraim.’ The name was probably given to a portion of the wall where the thickness and strength of the structure indicated the strategic importance of this point in the fortifications. It is possible that this was the portion of 400 cubits which Amaziah pulled down (see 2 Kings 14:13; 2 Chronicles 25:23) with the view of rendering Jerusalem defenceless on the N., and that this was the portion which Hezekiah took pains to strengthen and renew (2 Chronicles 32:5).Verse 8.- Hananiah the son of one of the apothecaries. Or "the son of Harak-kashim." They fortified Jerusalem unto the broad wall. The Septuagint has κατέNext to him built the men of Jericho (comp. Ezra 2:24); and next to them built Zaccur the son of Imri. The suffix of the first ידו על, though in the singular number, refers to Eliashib and the priests (Nehemiah 3:1), and that of the second to the men of Jericho, while in Nehemiah 3:4 and Nehemiah 3:9, on the contrary, a singular noun is followed by ידם על; both ידו על and ידם על expressing merely the notion beside, next to, and builders of the respective portions being at one time regarded as in a plural, at another in a singular sense (as a company). The portion built by the men of Jericho and Zaccur the son of Imri, the head of a family, not mentioned elsewhere, let between the tower Hananeel and the fish-gate in the north wall. When individuals are, like Zaccur, mentioned in the following description, e.g., Nehemiah 3:4, Nehemiah 3:6, as builders or repairers of portions of wall, they are heads of houses who engaged in the work of building at the head of the fathers of families and individuals who were dependent on them.
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