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Nehemiah Chapter 3
Memory verses for this week:
Job 38:36 Who hath
put wisdom in the inward parts? or who hath given understanding
to the heart? Job 38:37 Who can number the clouds in wisdom? or
who can stay the bottles of heaven,
Introduction: In last week's
lesson, we saw Nehemiah making his request to return to Jerusalem to
rebuild the walls to King Artaxerxes after he had prayed and made
supplication to the Lord for a long period of time. Because he
waited on the Lord, the king not only agreed to send him back, but
sent men with him and letters of passage to all the countries he had
to travel through on his journey. The chapter closed with Nehemiah
being opposed by his adversaries, but this did not deter Nehemiah
from getting the job done.
In this weeks lesson, we find the work beginning. After urging
the people at Jerusalem to begin building the wall, the work
commences and virtually all join together in the project.
Nevertheless, the project is not easy. The essence of chapter 3 is
how virtually all of the Jews of Jerusalem threw themselves into the
work of rebuilding the wall of the city. Nehemiah records the work
of the various groups from the beginning of the work at the sheep
gate sequentially around the circumference of the city back to the
starting point of the work.
Several groups worked and several did not which we will discuss
later in the lesson. Also of interest is the mention of the
Nethinims (which were servants to the Levites.) Though they are
mentioned twice in the chapter (verses 26 and 31) no mention is made
of them participating in the work. Chapter 3 is a lesson how there
was great team work and willingness to serve the Lord. However,
there were notable exceptions of those who avoided God’s work.
In verse 5, comment is made how for whatever reason, the “nobles of
the Tekoites put not their necks to the work of their Lord.”
Precisely who these Tekoite nobles were or what their problem was,
they were happy to let others work, but they themselves would not
participate. They let others serve the Lord, but they were
indifferent thereto. (Tekoa was a city of Judah, about 15 miles
south and east of Jerusalem.) In contrast, there were several groups
who did not only what was assigned to them, but volunteered for
extra duty. Even some women joined in the work as noted in verse 12.
I. The Wall is Sanctified by the High Priest
Neh 3:1 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.
Neh 3:2 And next unto him builded the men of Jericho. And next to
them builded Zaccur the son of Imri.
The wall of the ancient city of Jerusalem is described in
considerable detail. (The details will be presented in
counterclockwise order.) The sheep gate mentioned in verse 1 was at
the northeast corner of the city, near the Temple. The sheep gate;
so called, because the sheep were led through it to the temple. Near
it was the sheep market, where they were sold, and the sheep pool,
where the sacrifices were washed. Eliashib was the grandson of
Jeshua or Joshua the high priest, his father’s name was Joiakim,
Being high priest, and rising first, he set a good example both
to the priests and to the people, and served no doubt greatly to
animate and encourage them. Being for sacred use, and they sacred
persons; and this the first part of the building, they prayed for a
blessing on it, and in it on the whole work undertaken, of which
this was the firstfruits: and set up the doors of it; and so
Neh 3:3 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.
Neh 3:4 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.
Neh 3:5 And next unto them the Tekoites repaired; but their
nobles put not their necks to the work of their Lord.
The tower of Hananeel was in the center of the northern wall of
the city. The tower of Meah, or a “hundred”, as the word signifies,
might be so called, either because it was one hundred cubits from
the sheep gate on one side, and as many from the tower of Hananeel
on the other side, standing between both; or because it was one
hundred cubits high: these two towers. Perhaps these towers were
firm and strong, and needed no repair, since no mention is made of
This area was the most vulnerable to military attack and
therefore it is possible that these towers were built as defensive
strong holds. The fish gate was just to the west of the tower of
Hananeel. This is where fish from Galilee and Joppa were brought
into the city.
In verses 4-5, the sections of the northern wall are mentioned.
II. Repair of the Old Gate and Western Wall
Neh 3:6 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
Neh 3:7 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.
Neh 3:8 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.
Neh 3:9 And next unto them repaired Rephaiah the son of Hur, the
ruler of the half part of Jerusalem.
Neh 3:10 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.
Neh 3:11 Malchijah the son of Harim, and Hashub the son of
Pahathmoab, repaired the other piece, and the tower of the furnaces.
The old gate (verse 6) was at the northwest corner of the old
city of Jerusalem. There, the wall turned southward. The western
wall was also known as the broad wall as mentioned in verse 8.
In verse 11, it speaks of the tower of the furnaces (i.e., ovens)
was further to the south and east.
J. Vernon McGee made a great point about the 'old gate.'
I asked a friend the first time we visited the city of
Jerusalem and saw the gates, “Which one is the old gate?
They all look old to me.” The old gate is one that has been
there from the very beginning. Jeremiah 6:16 tells us the
message this gate has for us: “Thus saith the Lord. Stand ye
in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is
the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for
We are living in a day where people are interested in the
thing that is new. They must have the latest model
automobile, the latest fashion, and the latest thing for the
house. One day a man whose fetish was to have the latest
style in clothes said to me, “I notice that you are wearing
a narrow lapel, and today it is the style to wear a wide
lapel.” The lapel on a coat does not make any difference to
me, but it does make a great deal of difference to many
people. We are living in a day when things are changing
radically and rapidly. The conditions under which our
grandfathers proposed to our grandmothers were vastly
different from those under which young folk in this present
day deal with the matter of marriage. Morality is changing.
People talk about “new morality,” but it was old even in the
time of Noah.
It is this constant search for something new that is
leading us to frustration. It is the thing that has taken
many folk down the garden path to a dead end street with no
purpose in life whatsoever. Jeremiah says that we need to
ask for the “old paths,” because there we will find rest for
our souls. Instead of running to psychiatrists and trying
this and that new method, what we really need to do is come
to the One who says, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and
are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon
you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and
ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and
my burden is light”
Neh 3:12 And next unto him repaired Shallum the son of Halohesh,
the ruler of the half part of Jerusalem, he and his daughters.
Neh 3:13 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.
Neh 3:14 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.
Neh 3:15 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.
Neh 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.
The valley gate mentioned in verse 13 opened to the Tyropoeon
valley. The dung gate (verse 14) was the southern extremity of the
city and opened to the valley of Hinnom to the west. The gate of the
fountain (verse 15) was where the pool of Siloam was at the southern
end of the city and now on the east wall as it ascended toward the
Ophel. The wall then ascended to the City of David (verse 16). There
was the royal cemetery of the kings of Judah (verse 16).
Jerry Falwell said this about verse 15 in the
Believers Study Bible.
This Nehemiah is not the governor but
another individual from “Beth Zur” (cf. Josh. 15:58), which
lies between Jerusalem and Hebron. Many identify this “pool”
as a man-made reservoir constructed by Hezekiah to assure
the city a water supply when under siege (2 Chr. 32:30; Is.
22:9–11). The “House of the Mighty” may refer to military
Isa 22:9 Ye have seen also the breaches
of the city of David, that they are many: and ye gathered
together the waters of the lower pool.
Isa 22:10 And ye have numbered the houses
of Jerusalem, and the houses have ye broken down to fortify
Isa 22:11 Ye made also a ditch between
the two walls for the water of the old pool: but ye have not
looked unto the maker thereof, neither had respect unto him
that fashioned it long ago.
You know that Nehemiah and these that worked had to grow weary,
but they did not stop the work but kept on no matter the problems
they encountered. Paul had so many reasons in his ministry to cause
him to want to quit. But he never did. I think that perseverance,
determination, and the knowledge to look to the Lord for strength is
the key to being one that won't quit in the work of the Lord.
2 Cor 11:17 That which I speak, I speak it not after the
Lord, but as it were foolishly, in this confidence of
2 Cor 11:18 Seeing that many glory after the flesh, I
will glory also.
2 Cor 11:19 For ye suffer fools gladly, seeing ye
yourselves are wise.
2 Cor 11:20 For ye suffer, if a man bring you into
bondage, if a man devour you, if a man take of you, if a man
exalt himself, if a man smite you on the face.
2 Cor 11:21 I speak as concerning reproach, as though we
had been weak. Howbeit whereinsoever any is bold, (I speak
foolishly,) I am bold also.
2 Cor 11:22 Are they Hebrews? so am I. Are they
Israelites? so am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? so am I.
2 Cor 11:23 Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a
fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above
measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft.
2 Cor 11:24 Of the Jews five times received I forty
stripes save one.
2 Cor 11:25 Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I
stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I
have been in the deep;
2 Cor 11:26 In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in
perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in
perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in
the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false
2 Cor 11:27 In weariness and painfulness, in watchings
often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and
2 Cor 11:28 Beside those things that are without, that
which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.
2 Cor 11:29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is
offended, and I burn not?
2 Cor 11:30 If I must needs glory, I will glory of the
things which concern mine infirmities.
What an example Paul gave us to never quit. He said if he would
glory, he would glory in his infirmities. Paul knew it was God that
kept him going, and I think that is what drove Nehemiah in the
rebuilding of the wall there at Jerusalem.
Neh 3:17 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.
Neh 3:18 After him repaired their brethren, Bavai the son of
Henadad, the ruler of the half part of Keilah.
Neh 3:19 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.
Neh 3:20 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.
Neh 3:21 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.
Neh 3:22 And after him repaired the priests, the men of the
Neh 3:23 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.
Neh 3:24 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.
Neh 3:25 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.
Neh 3:26 Moreover the Nethinims dwelt in Ophel, unto the place
over against the water gate toward the east, and the tower that
Neh 3:27 After them the Tekoites repaired another piece, over
against the great tower that lieth out, even unto the wall of Ophel.
At the Ophel (fortifications between the lower and upper city)
was an armory (verse 19). Along the eastern wall were several bends
and turns as noted in verse 17-25.
The water gate was from the original source of the Kidron brook
was as noted in verse 26. Fortress towers were erected in this area
for protection (verses 25-27).
These all were in the vicinity of the Ophel.
They had to prepare in case of battle from the adversaries. We
need to be prepared in our daily lives as Christians for the attacks
that are sure to come from Satan. The best way we can do this is to
know God's Word and be studying it each day.
Eph 6:10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and
in the power of his might.
Eph 6:11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be
able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
Eph 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but
against principalities, against powers, against the rulers
of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness
in high places.
Eph 6:13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God,
that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having
done all, to stand.
Eph 6:14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about
with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
Eph 6:15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the
gospel of peace;
Eph 6:16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith
ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the
Eph 6:17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword
of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
Eph 6:18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication
in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance
and supplication for all saints;
Neh 3:28 From above the horse gate repaired the priests, every
one over against his house.
Neh 3:29 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.
In verse 28, the horse gate was found farther north along the
eastern wall, just below the Temple. The east gate mentioned in
verse 29 was the major eastern entrance to the city and in front of
the Temple entrance.
Neh 3:30 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.
Neh 3:31 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.
Neh 3:32 And between the going up of the corner unto the sheep
gate repaired the goldsmiths and the merchants.
Verse 32 speaks of the gate of Miphkad was near the northeastern
corner of the city. The sheep gate completed the circumference as
noted in verse 1. Thus, the circumference of the city wall was
described and those who rebuilt each section thereof.
Conclusion: 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.
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
Matthew Henry in his commentary said this about the rebuilding of
the walls of Jerusalem.
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 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.
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Prov 4:18 But the path of the just is as the shining light, that
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