Nehemiah 3:31
After him repaired Malchiah the goldsmith's son to the place of the Nethinims, and of the merchants, over against the gate Miphkad, and to the going up of the corner.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(31) The place of the Nethinims.—Rather, the house.

And of the merchants.—Possibly there is some connection between the traders, who brought their doves and so forth for the worshippers, and the Nethinim to whoso house or depôt they brought them. Near the sheep gate was the “going up of the corner,” or an ascent to the gate Miphkad, about which nothing is known.

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.The gate Miphkad - Not elsewhere mentioned. It must have been in the east, or northeast, wall, a little to the south of the "sheep-gate" 26. the Nethinims—Not only the priests and the Levites, but the common persons that belonged to the house of God, contributed to the work. The names of those who repaired the walls of Jerusalem are commemorated because it was a work of piety and patriotism to repair the holy city. It was an instance of religion and courage to defend the true worshippers of God, that they might serve Him in quietness and safety, and, in the midst of so many enemies, go on with this work, piously confiding in the power of God to support them [Bishop Patrick]. No text from Poole on this verse. After him repaired Malchiah, the goldsmith's son,.... Or the son of Tzoreph, as some, so called from his business:

unto the place of the Nethinims, and of the merchants; he repaired up to the place where these dwelt:

over against the gate Miphkad; where some think was an house of visitation or correction; and others, where the sanhedrim sat, tried causes, and exercised justice:

and to the going up of the corner; from the east to the north.

After him repaired Malchiah the goldsmith's son unto the place of the Nethinims, and of the merchants, over against the gate {h} Miphkad, and to the going up of the corner.

(h) Which was the place of judgment or execution.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
31. Malchiah the goldsmith’s son] R.V. Malchijah one of the goldsmiths. See note on Nehemiah 3:8. Malchiah belonged to the guild of the goldsmiths.

unto the place of the Nethinims] R.V. unto the house of the Nethinim. The Nethinim were stated (Nehemiah 3:26) to have their dwelling ‘in Ophel.’ Here a house belonging to their number is described as on the wall, probably N.E. of the Temple precincts. This we may presume was the official residence of those engaged in the service of the Temple.

and of the merchants] LXX. οἱ ῥωποπῶλαι. The tradesmen of the same class generally lived near to one another, cf. Jeremiah 37:21.

It is at first sight strange to find a house belonging to a mixed body of Nethinim and merchants. But the needs and equipment of the Temple services and of those who took part in them were sufficiently varied to account for this combination. We should think of an Oriental bazaar rather than of a modern house. The open spaces near the Temple would be thronged with money-changers and sellers of animals for sacrifice and of articles for offerings. On the later abuse of this custom cf. Matthew 21:12; John 2:14. Some who have found a difficulty in this combination disregard the tradition of the accents, and divide the verse differently, stopping at ‘Nethinim,’ and making a new clause of which ‘the merchants’ are the subject, i.e. ‘and the merchants repaired, &c.’ We should however certainly expect the phrase ‘after him’ at the beginning of such a clause.

over against the gate Miphkad] R.V. over against the gate of Hammiphkad. The word ‘Miphkad’ occurs in Ezekiel 43:21, ‘Thou shalt also take the bullock of the sin offering, and he shall burn it in the appointed place (miphkad) of the house, without the sanctuary.’ It has hence been often supposed to be the gate through which the bullock of the sin offering was led ‘without the sanctuary.’

The words ‘over against’ seem to imply that the gate of Hammiphkad was not on but opposite the city wall. Some identify it with the modern ‘golden gate.’

The LXX. Μαφεκάδ and the Vulg. ‘porta judicialis’ fail to throw light upon its position or purpose.

and to the going up of the corner] R.V. and to the ascent (marg. ‘Or, upper chamber’) of the corner. We seem here to have the junction point of two walls, where the elevation was greater than elsewhere, or where there was a well-known ‘upper chamber’ used for look-out purposes or as a place of public gathering.Verse 31. - Malchiah the goldsmith's son. Or "the son of Hazzorephi." But the mention of goldsmiths (zorephim) in ver. 32 lends support to the rendering of the A. V., which is accepted by most critics. Unto the place of the Nethinims. Rather, "the house." The exact position cannot be fixed; but the gate Miphkad must have been situated in the east wall, a little to the south of the sheep gate. The going up of the corner may have been an "ascent," like Solomon's (2 Chronicles 9:4), which was probably a flight of steps; or the word translated "going up" may mean "an upper chamber" (ὑπερῷον) - a chamber situated over the gate. Next repaired Binnui the son of Henadad, a second portion from the house of Azariah, to the angle and to the corner; and further on (Nehemiah 3:25) Palal the son of Uzzai, from opposite the angle and the high tower which stands out from the king's house by the court of the prison. We join העליון to המּגדּל, though it is also verbally admissible to combine it with המּלך בּית, "the tower which stands out from the king's upper house," because nothing is known of an upper and lower king's house. It would be more natural to assume (with Bertheau) that there was an upper and a lower tower at the court of the prison, but this is not implied by העליון. The word means first, high, elevated, and its use does not assume the existence of a lower tower; while the circumstance that the same tower is in Nehemiah 3:27 called the great (הגּדול) tells in favour of the meaning high in the present case. The court of the prison was, according to Jeremiah 32:2, in or near the king's house; it is also mentioned Jeremiah 32:8, Jeremiah 32:12; Jeremiah 33:1; Jeremiah 37:21; Jeremiah 38:6, Jeremiah 38:13, Jeremiah 38:28, and Jeremiah 39:14. But from none of these passages can it be inferred, as by Bertheau, that it was situate in the neighbourhood of the temple. His further remark, too, that the king's house is not the royal palace in the city of David, but an official edifice standing upon or near the temple area, and including the court of the prison with its towers, is entirely without foundation.

(Note: Equally devoid of proof is the view of Ewald, Diestel (in Herzog's Realencycl. xiii. p. 325), Arnold, and others, that the royal palace stood upon Moriah or Ophel on the south side of the temple, in support of which Diestel adduces Nehemiah 3:25. See the refutation of this view in the commentary on 1 Kings 7:12 (Note).)

The royal palace lay, according to Josephus, Ant. viii. 5. 2, opposite the temple (ἀντικρὺς ἔχων ναόν), i.e., on the north-eastern side of Zion, and this is quite in accordance with the statements of this verse; for as it is not till Nehemiah 3:27 that the description of the wall-building reaches the walls of Ophel, all the localities and buildings spoken of in Nehemiah 3:24-27 must be sought for on the east side of Zion. The court of the prison formed, according to Eastern custom, part of the royal fortress upon Zion. The citadel had, moreover, a high tower. This is obvious from Sol 4:4, though the tower of David there mentioned, on which hung a thousand bucklers, all shields of mighty men, may not be identical with the tower of the king's house in this passage; from Micah 4:8, where the tower of the flock, the stronghold of the daughter of Zion, is the tower of the royal citadel; and from Isaiah 32:14, where citadel and tower (בּחן, properly watch-tower) answer to the ארמון of the royal citadel, which lay with its forts upon the hill of Zion. This high tower of the king's house, i.e., of the royal citadel, stood, according to our verses, in the immediate neighbourhood of the angle and the corner (הפּנּה); for the section of wall which reached to the פּנּה lay opposite the angle and the high tower of the king's house. The wall here evidently formed a corner, running no longer from south to north, but turning eastwards, and passing over Ophel, the southern spur of Moriah. A length from this corner onwards was built by Pedaiah the son of Parosh; comp. Ezra 2:3.

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