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This Chapter is chiefly directed to record the names of those who arose to build the walls, and the order in which they proceeded in the work.
(1) ¶ 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.
It is no small commendation of the priesthood, that we find the high priest putting his hand first to the work of the Lord. The sheep-gate led to the temple, and hence here their office particularly called them. And was not this typical of the ever blessed Jesus? His almighty hand must be first with all spiritual builders; for except the Lord build the house, they labour but in vain that build it. Psalms 127:1
(2) And next unto him builded the men of Jericho. And next to them builded Zaccur the son of Imri. (3) 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. (4) 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.
The relation here made, seems to be with a design to manifest the cheerfulness of the people in the services. No doubt the Lord inclined their heart. When Jesus our High-Priest goeth before us by his Spirit, he will incline believers to follow.
(5) And next unto them the Tekoites repaired; but their nobles put not their necks to the work of their Lord. (6) 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. (7) 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. (8) 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. (9) And next unto them repaired Rephaiah the son of Hur, the ruler of the half part of Jerusalem. (10) 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. (11) Malchijah the son of Harim, and Hashub the son of Pahathmoab, repaired the other piece, and the tower of the furnaces.
The work must have been generally interesting; for we find goldsmiths and apothecaries engaged in it. Such, blessed Jesus, are thy servants in thine house and family. We find apostles, and prophets, and evangelists, and pastors, and teachers; but all with one view, for the edifying of the body of Christ. Ephesians 4:11-12 .
(12) And next unto him repaired Shallum the son of Halohesh, the ruler of the half part of Jerusalem, he and his daughters.
The service of Shallum's daughters in this work, carries with it a conviction how much the general mind was engaged in this public good. It reminds us of the women Paul speaks of, who laboured with him in the gospel. Philippians 4:3 .
(13) 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. (14) 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. (15) 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. (16) 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. (17) 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. (18) After him repaired their brethren, Bavai the son of Henadad, the ruler of the half part of Keilah. (19) 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. (20) 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. (21) 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. (22) And after him repaired the priests, the men of the plain. (23) 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. (24) 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. (25) 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. (26) Moreover the Nethinims dwelt in Ophel, unto the place over against the water gate toward the east, and the tower that lieth out. (27) After them the Tekoites repaired another piece, over against the great tower that lieth out, even unto the wall of Ophel. (28) From above the horse gate repaired the priests, everyone over against his house. (29) 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. (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. (31) 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. (32) And between the going up of the corner unto the sheep gate repaired the goldsmiths and the merchants.
I stay not to mark the several particulars in this account. The laborers were all worthy of being recorded, or their names would not have been so noticed by the Holy Ghost. But the only improvement which seems to be generally designed from the relation here given, is that none, who minister in the service of God and his people, shall be overlooked. The smallest offering, in his cause, becomes a precious one: and God is not unrighteous to forget the labour of love, in those who offer it with a willing heart.
I HOPE the Reader will not peruse this chapter, without gleaning much improvement from it, though the subject relates to nothing more interesting than the repairing of the walls of Jerusalem. But in the repairing the walls of Jerusalem, we must look beyond the mere letter of the word, and consider that Jerusalem is the city of the great King, and the people of it the nation whom God hath taken into covenant with himself. Were the walls of Jerusalem laid waste? Did the enemy enter in by her gates? Was she carried into captivity by the foe? Yes! all this was done. But by whom was it done, and for what cause? The prophet hath answered; He that scattereth Israel will gather him, and keep him as a shepherd doth his flock. Doth the enemy say, Is this Zion, whom no man looketh after? Let them know that the Lord doth look after Zion, and will comfort her waste places. For he hath said, I will make you a praise among all people of the earth, when I have turned back your captivity before your eyes, saith the Lord.
But sweet as these considerations are, in reference to the Lord's mercy manifested to Israel of old, how infinitely more interesting do they become, if viewed through the gospel medium, and having their accomplishment in the recovery from the captivity of sin and Satan, the rebuilding the walls of the church of Jesus, and the bringing home the redeemed of the Lord to Zion, with songs of everlasting joy upon their head. Here the subject riseth to an higher degree of sublimity; and we may behold the several worthies in this chapter, headed by their high-priests, as the representatives of the church of Jesus, following the great and glorious High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus, emerging out of all the ruins of the fall, and forming an holy temple to the Lord, through the Spirit. Even in the present day of grace, and beheld only with an eye to the recovery from the powers of darkness, and the dominion of sin in this life, the subject becomes beautiful and interesting. But looking forward to the eventual redemption from everlasting misery in the world to come, nothing can be more animating, nor delightful. Here it is the promise of God, by his prophet, receives its full accomplishment. In Jesus, and his finished redemption, when the Lord hath builded Zion, and made his glory to appear, Jehovah will indeed make every child of Jesus a praise among all people of the earth, in having forever turned back their captivity, and put a final close to all the oppressions the Israel of God hath sustained from all the enemies of her salvation, forevermore.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Nehemiah 3". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 8 / Ordinary 13