And next to them repaired Jedaiah the son of Harumaph, even over against his house…
The principle on which a great part of the work was done is indicated in several places in this chapter. Charles Reade says: "This may seem a small thing to busy readers, but it was a master stroke of genius. Not only was it a grand division of labour, but it animated the work with a noble emulation and a personal pride." Nehemiah made use of a method which is generally regarded as an outgrowth of our modern civilisation, and anticipated the managers of our great industries in the use of the principle of division of labour, which in our day is carried to so great a length. Every man over against his own house is the principle that should be applied in all work for the moral and spiritual elevation of the community in which we live.
I. THERE IS WORK TO BE DONE AT OUR VERY DOORS. There is still plenty of work to be done in our own hearts. The best wall we can build for the protection of our own homes is the structure of a Christlike life. It is as real a defence to our homes to have them surrounded by pure-hearted men and women as was to Jerusalem the wall that Nehemiah raised. The reason that so many missionaries send their children is not always for the sake of the superior education to be had in our schools, but oftener, perhaps, because it would not be safe to allow their children to grow up in the midst of the moral miasma of a heathen land. In the ruined characters and worse than wasted lives of many of the men and women among whom we live, we see the broken wall, and the work of repair consists in the efforts we make to Christianise them. Here there is, work at every one's door.
II. EACH MAN IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE BIT OF WORK THAT LIES NEAREST TO HIS OWN HOUSE. A minister is placed over a congregation, not to do the people's work for them, but to induce each of them to do the work that God has laid at the door for each to do. I know a successful minister who attributes much of his success to the fact that he will not do anything himself that he can get one of his people to do.
(A. Soutar, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.