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Bible Commentaries

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible
Nehemiah 7

 

 

Verse 1

THE GUARDING OF THE GATES, Nehemiah 7:1-3.

1. Porters… singers… Levites were appointed — To what specific service these persons were appointed is not said, but the context clearly indicates that it was to guard the doors and various quarters of the now enclosed and fortified Jerusalem. The appointed work of the porters formerly had been to guard the gates of the temple. They were reckoned by genealogies and separated into various divisions. See 1 Chronicles 9:17-27; 1 Chronicles 26:1-12. The singers had charge of the service of song, (1 Chronicles 6:31,) and “their brethren the Levites were appointed unto all manner of service of the tabernacle of the house of God.” 1 Chronicles 6:48. But amid the special dangers of the time Nehemiah may have seen fit to appoint them all to serve by turns in guarding the newly-fortified city.


Verse 2

2. My brother Hanani — Who had brought word to Nehemiah in Persia of the distressed state of Jerusalem. Nehemiah 1:2-3. His faithful services and love for Judah and Jerusalem made him a proper man for the office now intrusted to him.

Ruler of the palace — The chamberlain, or chief overseer of the fortress or palace connected with the temple, which is mentioned in chapter Nehemiah 2:8, where see note.

Charge over Jerusalem — Oversight of all parts of the city, but especially of the porters who guarded the gates.


Verse 3

3. Until the sun be hot — That is, until broad day. An earlier opening of the gates might expose the city to a sudden surprise.

While they stand by — While the guard specially set apart to watch the gates still occupy their stations, that is, before they withdraw from their posts for the night. This special guard were to stand by, or take their positions, early in the morning, before the gates were opened, and there they kept watch all day, and were not allowed to withdraw till the doors were shut and barred for the night.

Appoint watches of the inhabitants — That is, night watches.

After the gates were closed and fastened it was still necessary to maintain a guard upon the walls. The inhabitants of Jerusalem, without reference to class or distinction, were required to do this. The great body of the people doubtless served, not all at once, but by some set arrangement by which each one took his turn, and served an appointed time.

Every one in his watch — Every one had his well known watch-station.

Every one… his house — The same arrangement also provided that every dwelling had a special guard.


Verse 4

GENEALOGICAL REGISTRY OF THE PEOPLE, Nehemiah 7:4-73.

4. The city was large — Broad-sided, extensive; so that it required many watchers to keep guard on every side.

The people were few therein — That is, comparatively few, and far from sufficient to occupy the great space enclosed by the walls.

And the houses… not builded — That is, the majority of the houses of the ancient city were fallen in ruins, and comparatively few had been fitted up for the present use of the returned exiles.


Verse 5

5. God put into mine heart — Inspired me with the thought and purpose about to be told.

To gather together the nobles… rulers… people — The object of this gathering was to ascertain the number of the people, and see how many or what proportion of them might be brought to dwell in Jerusalem, and thus increase the population of the city. The result of this plan is told in Nehemiah 11:1-2.

I found a register — Which is presented in the sequel of this chapter, and is substantially identical with that of Ezra 2, where see notes.

 


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Bibliography Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Nehemiah 7:4". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/nehemiah-7.html. 1874-1909.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, October 16th, 2019
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28
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