Nehemiah 3:16
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.
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(16) The sepulchres of David.—Excavated on the western side of the Temple, and never yet traced.

The pool that was made.—This may have been the reservoir of Hezekiah (Isaiah 22:11); and “the house of the mighty” may have been the barracks of David’s elect troops (1Chronicles 11:10).

3:1-32 The rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem. - The work was divided, so that every one might know what he had to do, and mind it, with a desire to excel; yet without contention, or separate interests. No strife appears among them, but which should do most for the public good. Every Israelite should lend a hand toward the building up of Jerusalem. Let not nobles think any thing below them, by which they may advance the good of their country. Even some females helped forward the work. Some repaired over against their houses, and one repaired over against his chamber. When a general good work is to be done, each should apply himself to that part which is within his reach. If every one will sweep before his own door, the street will be clean; if every one will mend one, we shall all be mended. Some that had first done helped their fellows. The walls of Jerusalem, in heaps of rubbish, represent the desperate state of the world around, while the number and malice of those who hindered the building, give some faint idea of the enemies we have to contend with, while executing the work of God. Every one must begin at home; for it is by getting the work of God advanced in our own souls that we shall best contribute to the good of the church of Christ. May the Lord thus stir up the hearts of his people, to lay aside their petty disputes, and to disregard their worldly interests, compared with building the walls of Jerusalem, and defending the cause of truth and godliness against the assaults of avowed enemies.Beth-zur - Now Beit-sur, on the road from Jerusalem to Hebron Joshua 15:58.

By "the sepulchres of David" must be understood the burial place in which David and the kings his descendants to the time of Hezekiah were interred. This was an excavation in the rock, in the near vicinity of the temple Ezekiel 43:7-9, and on its western side. The position of the burial-place was well known until the destruction of the city by Titus; but modern research has not yet discovered it.

The pool - Probably that made by Hezekiah in the Tyropoeon valley, west of the temple area (marginal reference).

16. the sepulchres of David, and to the pool that was made, and unto the house of the mighty—that is, along the precipitous cliffs of Zion [Barclay]. 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 Nehemiah the son of Azbuk, the ruler of the half part of Bethzur. A strong fortified place in the tribe of Judah, Joshua 15:58,

unto the place over against the sepulchres of David; where he and his family, and the kings of his race, were buried, which remained to this time untouched by the Babylonians, and to many ages after; see Acts 2:29

and to the pool that was made; not a natural, but an artificial one, which was made by Hezekiah, 2 Kings 20:20,

and unto the house of the mighty; where was a garrison of soldiers in former time for defence.

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.
16. the ruler of the half part of Beth-zur] R.V. the ruler of half the district of Beth-Zur. Beth-Zur (Joshua 15:58), the modern Beitsur, was about 13 miles S. of Jerusalem. It commanded the road to Hebron and was fortified by Rehoboam (2 Chronicles 11:7). From the mention of it in this verse we may gather that it ranked as an important town on the Southern frontier. In the Maccabean Wars it appears as a strongly fortified place and the scene of three of the bloodiest conflicts (cf. 1Ma 4:29; 1Ma 11:65-66; 1Ma 14:7.

unto the place over against the sepulchres of David] This must have been a well-known spot opposite the tombs of the former kings of Judah. From the way in which these are mentioned in 2 Chronicles 32:33 ‘they buried (Hezekiah) in the ascent of the sepulchres of the sons of David,’ they were probably on the side of the south-east or east cliff of Mt. Ophel. We may expect interesting discoveries to result from investigations instituted at this spot for the sake of identifying the royal sepulchres.

and to the pool that was made] R.V. and unto &c. From this description of ‘the pool’ some have supposed that Nehemiah regarded it as a recent construction in his own time. Others identify it with the pool constructed by Hezekiah mentioned in Isaiah 22:9-11.

It clearly lay north of the pool of Shelah, and was fed perhaps by the same conduit from the Virgin’s Well. Cf. Sayce, ‘Traces of this have been found by Dr Guthe, close to the so-called tree of Isaiah; and since the city wall here formed one of the walls of the reservoir, the latter must have been constructed after the walls had been built.’

the house of the mighty] R.V. the house of the mighty men. This name was probably given to the traditional site (or building on the site) of the former royal barracks erected by David for his ‘body-guard of mighty men’ (2 Samuel 16:6; 2 Samuel 23:8). That it denotes the residence of the Temple guard (cf. 1 Chronicles 9:26; 1 Chronicles 26:6), is a less probable explanation of the name.

Rabbi Saadiah understands by the expression ‘the Sanhedrin,’ who were mighty in the Law, and compares Psalm 103:20, ‘ye mighty in strength that fulfil his word.’

Verse 16. - Nehemiah the son of Azbuk. Not the writer, who was "the son of Hachaliah" (Nehemiah 1:1), but another person of the same name. It was the frequent bearing of the same name by two or more contemporaries which made it necessary to designate men generally by their own names and the names of their fathers. Bethzur ("House of the Rock") is now Beit-Sur, and lies on the ordinary route from Jerusalem to Hebron, about fifteen miles south of Jerusalem. It is mentioned in Joshua 15:58 among the cities of Judah, and appears to have become a place of considerable importance under the Maccabees (1 Maccabees 4:29 1 Maccabees 6:31-50 1 Maccabees 14:7; etc.). The sepulchres of David and the kings, his descendants, to the time of Hezekiah, were excavated in the rock upon which the temple stood (Ezekiel 43:7-9), apparently on its western side. They have not hitherto been discovered. Here too was the pool that was made by Hezekiah when he was about to be besieged by Sennacherib (2 Chronicles 32:30; Isaiah 22:9-11). The house of the mighty - the Gibborim, or "mighty men of David (2 Samuel 23:8; 1 Chronicles 11:10) - is not elsewhere mentioned. It was no doubt the barrack where, according to tradition, David had quartered his best troops. Nehemiah 3:16The wall from the steps leading from the city of David to the angle opposite the armoury. From Nehemiah 3:16 onwards we find for the most part אחריו, after him, instead of ידו על, which only occurs again in Nehemiah 3:17 and Nehemiah 3:19. Nehemiah the son of Azbuk, the ruler of half the district of Beth-zur (see rem. on 2 Chronicles 11:7), repaired the wall as far as "opposite the sepulchres of David, and unto the pool that was made, and to the house of the heroes." The sepulchres of David are the sepulchres of the house of David in the city of David (comp. 2 Chronicles 32:33). "Opposite the sepulchres of David" is the length of wall on the eastern side of Zion, where was probably, as Thenius endeavours to show in the Zeitschr. of the deutsch morgenl. Gesellsch. xxi. p. 495f., an entrance to the burying-place of the house of David, which was within the city. The "pool that was made" must be sought at no great distance, in the Tyropoean valley, but has not yet been discovered. The view of Krafft (Topographie von Jerusalem, p. 152), that it was the reservoir artificially constructed by Hezekiah, between the two walls for the water of the old pool (Isaiah 22:11), rests upon incorrect combinations. "The house of the heroes" is also unknown. In Nehemiah 3:17 and Nehemiah 3:18, the lengths of wall repaired by the three building parties there mentioned are not stated. "The Levites, Rehum the son of Bani," stands for: the Levites under Rehum the son of Bani. There was a Rehum among those who returned with Zerubbabel, Nehemiah 12:3; Ezra 2:2; and a Bani occurs among the Levites in Nehemiah 9:5. After him repaired Hashabiah, the ruler of half the district of Keilah, for his district. Keilah, situate, according to Joshua 15:44 and 1 Samuel 23:1, in the hill region, is probably the village of Kila, discovered by Tobler (vol. iii. p. 151), eastward of Beit Dshibrin. By the addition לפלכּו, for his district, i.e., that half of the whole district which was under his rule, "it is expressly stated that the two halves of the district of Keilah worked apart one from the other" (Bertheau). The other half is mentioned in the verse next following.
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