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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, (Nehemiah 12:10),

      Neh 12:10 And Jeshua begat Joiakim, Joiakim also begat Eliashib, and Eliashib begat Joiada,

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 finished it:

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 any.

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 thereof.

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 your souls….”

      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 quarter.

      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 the wall.

      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 boasting.

      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 brethren;

      2 Cor 11:27 In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.

      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 plain.

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 lieth out.

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 wicked.

      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 their fellows.

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.

Internet Bible Studies are prepared and distributed free of charge. The lessons may not be sold without consent. If you have questions or wish to discuss the lessons, or possibly need help in finding Jesus Christ as your Personal Lord and Savior, contact David Parham at 940-613-3494.

Prov 4:18 But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.

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