Matthew Poole's Commentary
Then Eliashib the high priest rose up with his brethren the priests, and they builded the sheep gate; they sanctified it, and set up the doors of it; even unto the tower of Meah they sanctified it, unto the tower of Hananeel.The names of the several families that builded; their order wherein, and the proportion how much, they builded.
Eliashib the high priest; grandchild of Joshua, the first high priest after their return from Babylon.
Rose up; began the work.
They builded the sheep-gate; which was next to the temple; so called, either from the sheep-market, or the sheep-pool of Bethesda, John 5:2, where the sheep were washed, and then brought to the temple to be sacrificed.
They sanctified it; or, they prepared or repaired it; for so the word sometimes signifies. But our translation seems best, both because that use of the word is most common, and because this is spoken only of this gate, which being built by the priests, and nighest to the temple, and with a special eye to the service of the temple, for which both men and things were most commonly brought in this way, and being also the first part of the building, might be in a peculiar manner sanctified by solemn prayer and sacrifice, whereby it was dedicated to God’s service; and this either as it was considered in itself, or with respect to the rest of the building, of which this was the beginning, and in a manner the first-fruits, and therefore in the sanctification of it the whole lump and building was sanctified. And seeing the whole city is oft called the holy city, it is not strange if the walls and gates of it be also holy, and said to be sanctified, and especially this gate. Compare Deu 20:5.
The tower of Meah, or, of a hundred; so called, either because it was a hundred cubits high, or so far distant from the sheep-gate.
And next unto him builded the men of Jericho. And next to them builded Zaccur the son of Imri.The men of Jericho; the posterity of the ancient inhabitants of Jericho. See Ezra 2:34.
But the fish gate did the sons of Hassenaah build, who also laid the beams thereof, and set up the doors thereof, the locks thereof, and the bars thereof.The fish-gate; of which mention is made 2 Chronicles 33:14 Nehemiah 12:39 Zephaniah 1:10; so called, either from the fish-market, which was near it; or because the fish was brought in by it from the sea, Nehemiah 13:16; this gate being north-westward from Jerusalem.
The locks thereof, and the bars thereof: this is either here related by anticipation, the whole work being here mentioned together, though this part was not done till afterwards, Nehemiah 6:1 7:1; or this was done to some of the gates, but not to all; and therefore this is said to be done more completely and universally afterwards.
And next unto them repaired Meremoth the son of Urijah, the son of Koz. And next unto them repaired Meshullam the son of Berechiah, the son of Meshezabeel. And next unto them repaired Zadok the son of Baana.Repaired, to wit, the demolished or decayed wall, there being no gate in this part. And so in the rest which follow.
And next unto them the Tekoites repaired; but their nobles put not their necks to the work of their Lord.i.e. Did not submit to it, would not further it, either through pride, or sloth and carelessness, or covetousness, or secret compliance with the enemies of the Jews.
To the work of their Lord; either,
1. Of Nehemiah, who was their lord and governor, and had given a general command for the carrying on of this work. Or,
2. Of God, whom they owned for their Lord, whose work this was, partly because it had proceeded thus far by God’s singular providence and blessing; and partly because it was done for the defence of the city, and people, and temple of God. And therefore they are branded to all posterity for the neglect of so great and pious a work.
Moreover the old gate repaired Jehoiada the son of Paseah, and Meshullam the son of Besodeiah; they laid the beams thereof, and set up the doors thereof, and the locks thereof, and the bars thereof.No text from Poole on this verse.
And next unto them repaired Melatiah the Gibeonite, and Jadon the Meronothite, the men of Gibeon, and of Mizpah, unto the throne of the governor on this side the river.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.
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.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.
And next unto them repaired Rephaiah the son of Hur, the ruler of the half part of Jerusalem.As Rome was anciently divided into several quarters or regions, so was Jerusalem, and especially this was divided into two parts, whereof one was in the tribe of Benjamin, and nearest to the temple; the other in the tribe of Judah, and more remote from it; which accordingly had two several rulers, this man and the other, Nehemiah 3:12, but both under the chief governor of the city.
And next unto them repaired Jedaiah the son of Harumaph, even over against his house. And next unto him repaired Hattush the son of Hashabniah.Over against his house; that part of the wall which was next to him, which his own interest obliged him to do with care.
Malchijah the son of Harim, and Hashub the son of Pahathmoab, repaired the other piece, and the tower of the furnaces.No text from Poole on this verse.
And next unto him repaired Shallum the son of Halohesh, the ruler of the half part of Jerusalem, he and his daughters.Of the half part of Jerusalem, i.e. of the other half, &c.: See Poole "Nehemiah 3:9".
He and his daughters; who were either heiresses, or rich widows, and caused part to be done at their charges.
The valley gate repaired Hanun, and the inhabitants of Zanoah; they built it, and set up the doors thereof, the locks thereof, and the bars thereof, and a thousand cubits on the wall unto the dung gate.No text from Poole on this verse.
But the dung gate repaired Malchiah the son of Rechab, the ruler of part of Bethhaccerem; he built it, and set up the doors thereof, the locks thereof, and the bars thereof.Beth-haccerem; a town or territory, the government whereof was divided between two persons.
But the gate of the fountain repaired Shallun the son of Colhozeh, the ruler of part of Mizpah; he built it, and covered it, and set up the doors thereof, the locks thereof, and the bars thereof, and the wall of the pool of Siloah by the king's garden, and unto the stairs that go down from the city of David.The wall of the pool of Siloah; that part of the wall which was directly against that pool.
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.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.
After him repaired the Levites, Rehum the son of Bani. Next unto him repaired Hashabiah, the ruler of the half part of Keilah, in his part.No text from Poole on this verse.
After him repaired their brethren, Bavai the son of Henadad, the ruler of the half part of Keilah.No text from Poole on this verse.
And next to him repaired Ezer the son of Jeshua, the ruler of Mizpah, another piece over against the going up to the armoury at the turning of the wall.To the armory; either to the house of the forest of Lebanon, which was their armory from Solomon’s days, Isaiah 22:8; or to some other place, which either before or since that time had been used as another and less armory for common occasions.
At the turning of the wall; or, at the corner; or, which is in the corner.
After him Baruch the son of Zabbai earnestly repaired the other piece, from the turning of the wall unto the door of the house of Eliashib the high priest.Earnestly repaired; did his work with eminent diligence and fervency; which is here noted to his commendation.
From the turning of the wall, or, from the corner, as Nehemiah 3:19. Unto the door of the house; unto that part of the wall which was over against or next to this door.
After him repaired Meremoth the son of Urijah the son of Koz another piece, from the door of the house of Eliashib even to the end of the house of Eliashib.Therefore the door was not in the middle of the house, as now they commonly are, but at one end of it.
And after him repaired the priests, the men of the plain.Either of the plains of Jordan; or of the plain country round about Jerusalem, its it is called, Nehemiah 12:28. And they are thus called, because they, or their parents, either were born, or now did or formerly had dwelt, in those parks; whence they came to Jerusalem, when the service of the temple required it.
After him repaired Benjamin and Hashub over against their house. After him repaired Azariah the son of Maaseiah the son of Ananiah by his house.No text from Poole on this verse.
After him repaired Binnui the son of Henadad another piece, from the house of Azariah unto the turning of the wall, even unto the corner.No text from Poole on this verse.
Palal the son of Uzai, over against the turning of the wall, and the tower which lieth out from the king's high house, that was by the court of the prison. After him Pedaiah the son of Parosh.Over against the turning of the wall; in a part of the wall, which jutted out as the tower here following did, and therefore was opposite to or over against that turning.
And the tower, or, even the tower. Out from the king’s high house; either from the royal palace; or from some other smaller house which the king formerly built there, either for prospect or for defence.
By the court of the prison; a place oft mentioned; of which see Jeremiah 32:2 38:6,13.
Moreover the Nethinims dwelt in Ophel, unto the place over against the water gate toward the east, and the tower that lieth out.Dwelt in Ophel, or, who dwelt in Ophel; for this seems to be only a description of the persons, whose work follows.
The water-gate; so called because by that gate water was brought in, either by the people for the use of that part of the city, or rather by these Nethinims, who were Gibeonites, for the uses of the temple, for which they were drawers of water, Joshua 9:21.
After them the Tekoites repaired another piece, over against the great tower that lieth out, even unto the wall of Ophel.The Tekoites; the same spoken of before, Nehemiah 3:5, who having despatched their first share sooner than their brethren had done theirs, freely offered their help to supply the defects of others, who, as it seems, neglected that part of the work which had been committed to them. And this their double diligence is noted, both for the greater shame of their nobles, who would not do ally part of it, Nehemiah 3:5, and for their own greater honour, who were so far from being corrupted by the bad example of their nobles, that they were rather quickened and inflamed to greater zeal and industry in this public and pious work.
From above the horse gate repaired the priests, every one over against his house.The horse gate; not that belonging to the king’s palace, 2 Chronicles 23:15, but one of the gates of the city so called; either because nigh unto that were many stables for horses, or because the horses commonly went out that way to their watering-place.
After them repaired Zadok the son of Immer over against his house. After him repaired also Shemaiah the son of Shechaniah, the keeper of the east gate.To wit, of the city, or of the temple; which being the chief gate, was committed to his particular care and custody.
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.Or, chambers; the singular number for the plural.
After him repaired Malchiah the goldsmith's son unto the place of the Nethinims, and of the merchants, over against the gate Miphkad, and to the going up of the corner.No text from Poole on this verse.
And between the going up of the corner unto the sheep gate repaired the goldsmiths and the merchants.No text from Poole on this verse.