Nehemiah 3

CHAPTER III

The names of those who rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem; and the

part assigned to each person, 1-32.

NOTES ON CHAP. III

Verse 1. 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.

Verse 3. 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!

Verse 7. 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 Ne 5:15;) but after this time they were governed by

governors and judges chosen from among themselves.

Verse 8. 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,

&c., for embalming, or for furnishing the temple with the incense

consumed there.

Verse 9. 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

Ne 3:12, was the

other. There were other rulers or governors of particular

country or village districts.

Verse 11. 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.

Verse 12. 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 Ne 3:9.

Verse 13. The inhabitants of Zanoah] This was a town in the

tribe of Judah. Jos 15:34.

Verse 14. Beth-haccerem] A village or town in the tribe of

Benjamin. See Jer 6:1.

Verse 15. 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.

Verse 16. The pool that was made] Calmet supposes that this

was the reservoir made by Hezekiah, when besieged by Sennacherib,

2Ch 32:4.

The house of the mighty.] Probably a place where a band of

soldiers was kept, or the city guard.

Verse 19. 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, &c., were kept to arm the people

in time of danger.

Verse 20. Earnestly repaired] He distinguished himself by his

zeal and activity.

Verse 22. 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, Ne 12:28; and it is

likely that several of the priests dwelt in the same place.

Verse 28. 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.

Verse 32. The goldsmiths and the merchants.] The word

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 οιχαλκειςκαι

οιμεταβολι, smiths and merchants; but in other copies,

particularly the London Polyglot, for μεταβολοι we find ρωποπωλαι

seller of shields. And here the learned reader will find a double

mistake in the London Polyglot, ροποπωλαι for ρωποπωλαι, and in

the Latin version scruta for scuta, neither of which conveys any

sense.

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