That I gave my brother Hanani, and Hananiah the ruler of the palace, charge over Jerusalem: for he was a faithful man, and feared God above many.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Nehemiah 1:2.
The ruler of the palace - Or, "the governor of the fortress." See the marginal reference note.
and feared God above many—The piety of Hananiah is especially mentioned as the ground of his eminent fidelity in the discharge of all his duties and, consequently, the reason of the confidence which Nehemiah reposed in him; for he was fully persuaded that Hananiah's fear of God would preserve him from those temptations to treachery and unfaithfulness which he was likely to encounter on the governor's departure from Jerusalem.Hanani; of whom see Nehemiah 1:2.
The ruler of the palace, i.e. of Nehemiah’s court; justly so called, because he lived in great splendour, and like a viceroy, though it was wholly at his own charge.
Charge over Jerusalem, to preserve its peace and safety, and to take particular care of the shutting the gates of the city.
He was a faithful man, to wit, Hananiah last mentioned; for it was needless to say any thing in commendation of Hanani, who had shown his piety and zeal for God and his country, in taking a tedious journey from Jerusalem to Shushan, to inform Nehemiah of the sad estate of Jerusalem, and to implore his helping hand to relieve it, Ne 1.
A faithful man; he chose not magistrates and officers out of any partial or carnal respects to his own kindred, or acquaintance, or favourites, but from true piety and prudence, such as were fittest for and would be most faithful in their employments.
And feared God: this is added as the ground and reason, both why he was faithful, and why Nehemiah put such trust and confidence in him, because he knew that the fear of God would keep him from yielding to those temptations to perfidiousness which he was likely to meet with when Nehemiah was gone, and against which a man destitute of God’s fear hath no sufficient fence.
Above many; more than most men did; or, above the common pitch of piety. Nehemiah 1:2,
and Hananiah the ruler of the palace; the king's palace, in which the viceroy of the king of Persia dwelt, and now Nehemiah; to these two men he gave
charge over Jerusalem; committed it to their care during his absence, who may be supposed now to return to Persia, as he had promised, Nehemiah 2:6,
for he was a faithful man; this is said of Hananiah, and given as a reason why such a trust was committed to him; Hanani's character was well known, and his journey from Jerusalem to Shushan was a full proof of his hearty concern for the interest of it:
and feared God above many; Hananiah was exemplary in his fear of God, few were equal to him, and none exceeded him; or of many days, as Jarchi; of a long time he had feared the Lord, and served him many years.That I gave my brother Hanani, and Hananiah the ruler of the palace, charge over Jerusalem: for he was a faithful man, and feared God above many.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)2. my brother Hanani] cf. Nehemiah 1:2.
Hananiah the ruler of the palace] R.V. Hananiah the governor of the castle. On the castle or ‘Bira’ see Nehemiah 2:8. The ‘governor of the castle’ would be an official of great importance, being probably in command of troops for the purpose of keeping order in the city. ‘He’ refers to Hananiah. Possibly Nehemiah’s appointment of two officers to the command of the city corresponds with the mention of the two men in Nehemiah 3:9; Nehemiah 3:12, who were ‘rulers of half the district of Jerusalem.’
a faithful man, and feared God] cf. Exodus 18:21, ‘able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating unjust gain.’ The Hebrew is noticeable; not absolutely ‘a man of truth,’ but ‘such as only a man of truth is.’
above many] i.e. more than most. LXX. παρὰ πολλούς. Vulg. ‘plus cæteris.’ The phrase which only occurs here in the O.T. has a very lifelike ring.Verse 2. - Hanani and Hananiah. This appointment of two municipal officers to have charge of Jerusalem recalls the mention of two "rulers" in Nehemiah 3:9, 12, each of whom had authority-over half the district dependent on Jerusalem, and amounts to an "undesigned coincidence." The ruler of the palace. Rather, "the commandant of the fort," i.e. the officer in charge of the temple fortress (see above, Nehemiah 2:8). Nehemiah 6:15 The wall was finished on the twenty-fifth day of the month Elul, i.e., of the sixth month, in fifty-two days. According to this statement, it must have been begun on the third day of the fifth month (Ab). The year is not mentioned, the before-named (Nehemiah 2:1) twentieth year of Artaxerxes being intended. This agrees with the other chronological statements of this book. For, according to Nehemiah 2:1, it was in Nisan (the first month) of this year that Nehemiah entreated permission of the king to go to Jerusalem; and we learn from Nehemiah 5:14 and Nehemiah 13:6 that he was governor in Jerusalem from the twentieth year onwards, and must therefore have set out for that place immediately after receiving the royal permission. In this case, he might well arrive in Jerusalem before the expiration of the fourth month. He then surveyed the wall, and called a public assembly for the purpose of urging the whole community to enter heartily upon the work of restoration (Nehemiah 2:11-17). All this might take place in the course of the fourth month, so that the work could be actually taken in hand in the fifth. Nor is there any reasonable ground, as Bertheau has already shown, for doubting the correctness of the statement, that the building was completed in fifty-two days, and (with Ewald) altering the fifty-two days into two years and four months.
(Note: Ewald, Gesch. iv. p. 178, thinks that traces of the correct reading of this verse are found in the statement of Josephus, Ant. xi. 5. 7f., that the wall of Jerusalem was finished in two years and four months, and that the word וּשׁנתים may have been omitted from Nehemiah 6:15 by an ancient clerical error, though he is obliged to admit that Josephus in other instances gives no trustworthy dates concerning Nehemiah, whom he makes arrive at Jerusalem in the twenty-fifth, and complete the wall in the twenty-eight year of Xerxes. On the other hand, Bertheau has already remarked, that even if שׁנתים is supplied, no agreement with the statement of Josephus is obtained, since the question still remains how four months can be made out of fifty-two days, or vice versa, fifty-two days of four months. In fact, it is vain to seek for any common ground on which these two different statements can be harmonized; and hence the two years and four months of Josephus can scarcely be regarded as furnishing traces of another reading of the text.)
For we must in this case consider, 1st, the necessity for hastening the work repeatedly pointed out by Nehemiah; 2nd, the zeal and relatively very large number of builders - the whole community, both the inhabitants of Jerusalem and the men of Jericho, Tekoa, Gibeon, Mizpah, etc. having combined their efforts; 3rd, that the kind of exertion demanded by such laborious work and unintermitted watchfulness as are described Nehemiah 4, though it might be continued for fifty-two days, could scarcely endure during a longer period; and lastly, the amount of the work itself, which must not be regarded as the rebuilding of the whole wall, but only as the restoration of those portions that had been destroyed, the repair of the breaches (Nehemiah 1:3; Nehemiah 2:13; Nehemiah 6:1), and of the ruined gates, - a large portion of wall and at least one gate having remained uninjured.). To this must be added that the material, so far as stone was concerned, was close at hand, stone needing for the most part to be merely brought out of the ruins; besides which, materials of all kind might have been collected and prepared beforehand. It is, moreover, incorrect to compute the extent of this fortified wall by the extent of the wall of modern Jerusalem.
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