The names of those who rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem; and the part assigned to each person, vv. 1-32.
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.Eliashib the high priest - It was right that the priests should be first in this holy work; and perhaps the sheep gate which is mentioned here is that by which the offerings or sacrifices were brought into the temple.
They sanctified it - As they began with the sacred offering as soon as they got an altar built, it was proper that the gate by which these sacrifices entered should be consecrated for this purpose, i. e., set apart, so that it should be for this use only.
And next unto him builded the men of Jericho. And next to them builded Zaccur the son of Imri.
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 - We really know scarcely any thing about these gates - what they were, why called by these names, or in what part of the wall situated. All plans of Jerusalem, its temple, walls, and gates, are mere works of conjecture; and yet how learnedly have some men written on all these subjects!
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.
And next unto them the Tekoites repaired; but their nobles put not their necks to the work of their Lord.
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.
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.The throne of the governor - His house, and the place where he dispensed justice and judgment. Previously to the days of Nehemiah, Jerusalem was governed by a deputy from the Persian king; (see Nehemiah 5:15); but after this time they were governed by governors and judges chosen from among themselves.
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.Goldsmiths - From the remotest period of the history of the Jews they had artists in all elegant and ornamental trades; and it is also evident that goldsmiths, apothecaries, and merchants were formed into companies in the time of Nehemiah.
Apothecaries - Rather such as dealt in drugs, aromatics, spices, etc., for embalming, or for furnishing the temple with the incense consumed there.
And next unto them repaired Rephaiah the son of Hur, the ruler of the half part of Jerusalem.Ruler of the half part of Jerusalem - Probably the city was divided into two parts; one for Judah, and the other for Benjamin, each having its proper governor. Rephaiah mentioned here was one of these governors, and Shallum, mentioned Nehemiah 3:12, was the other. There were other rulers or governors of particular country or village districts.
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.
Malchijah the son of Harim, and Hashub the son of Pahathmoab, repaired the other piece, and the tower of the furnaces.Repaired the other piece - That which was left by Jedaiah after he had repaired the wall opposite to his own house. Probably some of the principal people were obliged to repair those parts of the wall opposite to their own dwellings. Perhaps this was the case generally.
And next unto him repaired Shallum the son of Halohesh, the ruler of the half part of Jerusalem, he and his daughters.The son of Halohesh - Or, the son of the Enchanter: conjectured to be thus named from having the art to charm serpents.
The ruler of the half part - See on Nehemiah 3:9 (note).
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.The inhabitants of Zanoah - This was a town in the tribe of Judah. Joshua 15:34.
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 village or town in the tribe of Benjamin. See Jeremiah 6:1.
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 pool of Siloah - This is probably the same as that mentioned by the evangelists.
The stairs that go down from the city of David - Jerusalem being built on very uneven ground, and some hills being taken within the walls; there was a necessity that there should be in different places steps by which they could ascend and descend: probably similar to what we see in the city of Bristol.
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.The pool that was made - Calmet supposes that this was the reservoir made by Hezekiah, when besieged by Sennacherib, 2 Chronicles 32:4.
The house of the mighty - Probably a place where a band of soldiers was kept, or the city guard.
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.
After him repaired their brethren, Bavai the son of Henadad, the ruler of the half part of Keilah.
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.The going up to the armoury - This was either a tower that defended the angle where the two walls met; or the city arsenal, where shields, spears, etc., were kept to arm the people in time of danger.
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 - He distinguished himself by his zeal and activity.
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.
And after him repaired the priests, the men of the plain.The priests, the men of the plain - Some of the officers of the temple, particularly the singers, dwelt in the plain country round about Jerusalem, Nehemiah 12:28; and it is likely that several of the priests dwelt in the same place.
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.
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.
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.
Moreover the Nethinims dwelt in Ophel, unto the place over against the water gate toward the east, and the tower that lieth out.
After them the Tekoites repaired another piece, over against the great tower that lieth out, even unto the wall of Ophel.
From above the horse gate repaired the priests, every one over against his house.The horse gate - The place through which the horses passed in order to be watered; It was near the temple. Some rabbins suppose that in order to go to the temple, a person might go on horseback to the place here referred to, but then was obliged to alight, as a horse could pass no farther. Horses were never very plentiful in Jerusalem.
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.
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.
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.
And between the going up of the corner unto the sheep gate repaired the goldsmiths and the merchants.The goldsmiths and the merchants - The word הצרפים hatstsorephim may signify smiths, or persons who worked in metals of any kind; but it is generally understood to mean those who worked in gold. I have already observed, that the mention of merchants and goldsmiths shows that these persons were formed into bodies corporate in those ancient times. But these terms are differently rendered in the versions. The Vulgate is the same as ours, which probably our translators copied: aurifices et negociatores. The Syriac is, goldsmiths and druggists. The Arabic, smelters of metal and porters. The Septuagint, in some copies, particularly in the Roman edition, and in the Complutensian, Antwerp, and Paris Polyglots, have οἱ χαλκεις και οἱ μεταβολι, smiths and merchants; but in other copies, particularly the London Polyglot, for μεταβολοι we find ῥωποπωλαι, seller of shields. And here the learned reader will find a double mistake in the London Polyglot, ῥοποπωλαι for ῥωποπωλαι, and in the Latin version scruta for scuta, neither of which conveys any sense.