Nehemiah
Introduction 1 Eliashib – the Sheep Gate – Two Towers 2 The Men of Jericho – Zaccur 3 The Fish Gate – the Sons of Hassenaah 4 Meremoth – Meshullam – Zadok 5 The Tekoites 6 The Old Gate – Joiada and Meshullam 7 Melatiah and Jadon 8 Uzziel and Hananiah 9 Rephaiah 10 Jedaiah – Hattush 11 Malchijah and Hasshub – the Tower of Furnaces 12 Shallum and His Daughters 13 The Valley Gate – Hanun and the Inhabitants of Zanoah 14 The Refuse Gate – Malchijah 15 The Fountain Gate and Shallum 16 Nehemiah the son of Azbuk 17-18 Rehum – Hashabiah – Keilah – Bavvai 19 Ezer 20 Baruch 21 Meremoth 22 The Priests 23 Benjamin and Hasshub – Azariah 24 Binnui 25 Palal – Pedaiah 26 The Temple Servants – the Water Gate 27 The Tekoites 28 The Horse Gate – the Priests 29 Zadok – Shemaiah and the East Gate 30 Hananiah and Hanun – Meshullam 31 Malchijah– the Inspection Gate 32 Goldsmiths and Merchants – the Sheep Gate
Introduction

This chapter radiates warmth and enthusiasm. The whole population responds to Nehemiah’s call to build. Each is satisfied with his place, without being jealous of another. Hardly anyone avoids his task, no one grumbles about his task. Because of this there is care for every part of the wall. How impenetrable is a church with such collaborators.

The Spirit takes us by the hand and goes with us along the wall. We are allowed to watch with Him the progress of the building. We see people busy. We are not inspectors, but students. The Spirit is the Inspector. He says what the people are called, what they are doing, where they are doing, why they are doing it. He shows who’s diligent and who’s doing nothing. He sees the motives that lead a person.

Everything that is done is recorded. Not to have a nice evening later with a slide presentation or a video presentation and to talk about the performances. There doesn’t have to be anything wrong with that. But what is recorded here, is recorded on indelible paper, in the register of God. Impeccably the Spirit records the names of the employees and their activities.

The enumeration of the workers is reminiscent of the enumeration at the end of the letter to the Romans (Rom 16:1-161I commend to you our sister Phoebe, who is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea;2that you receive her in the Lord in a manner worthy of the saints, and that you help her in whatever matter she may have need of you; for she herself has also been a helper of many, and of myself as well.3Greet Prisca and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus,4who for my life risked their own necks, to whom not only do I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles;5also [greet] the church that is in their house. Greet Epaenetus, my beloved, who is the first convert to Christ from Asia.6Greet Mary, who has worked hard for you.7Greet Andronicus and Junias, my kinsmen and my fellow prisoners, who are outstanding among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me.8Greet Ampliatus, my beloved in the Lord.9Greet Urbanus, our fellow worker in Christ, and Stachys my beloved.10Greet Apelles, the approved in Christ. Greet those who are of the [household] of Aristobulus.11Greet Herodion, my kinsman. Greet those of the [household] of Narcissus, who are in the Lord.12Greet Tryphaena and Tryphosa, workers in the Lord. Greet Persis the beloved, who has worked hard in the Lord.13Greet Rufus, a choice man in the Lord, also his mother and mine.14Greet Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas and the brethren with them.15Greet Philologus and Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints who are with them.16Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ greet you.). It is also reminiscent of “the right seat of Christ” (2Cor 5:1010For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.). There each one will “receive his own reward according to his own labor” (1Cor 3:88Now he who plants and he who waters are one; but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor.). This also applies to us. That is why it is so instructive to walk with the Spirit of God. Of every worker in God’s kingdom, in which each has his own task and field, is now recorded what he is doing.

However, we are not all working on our own, for our own little kingdom. We do not work alongside each other when we are working together towards the same goal: the rebuilding of the wall. Shoulder to shoulder they are busy, which is so nicely indicated by the recurring words “next to”.

Nowhere is it more important than in the church of God to have the right person in the right place. For this purpose  “God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired” (1Cor 12:1818But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired.). To this end the necessary gift has been given to each member by the Spirit (Rom 12:6-86Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, [each of us is to exercise them accordingly]: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith;7if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching;8or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.). Service is not only serving with the Word. Service is being engaged in the work that the Lord has ordained for each person. It is about doing His will. He rewards according to the faithfulness with which one is engaged and not according to the gift one possesses.

Everyone has a personal and unique share in the restoration of the wall of Jerusalem. No one does the same work, no one imitates another. Each has a share that is different from all the others. We see this in the disciples of the Lord, in the co-workers of Paul, in the warriors of David.

There is work enough. Everyone can get to work, no one needs to be unemployed. Those who have nothing to do may ask themselves whether it is because of laziness, jealousy, or pride. If you’re lazy, you don’t want to work. He who is jealous only wants a certain work, but that has already been assigned to someone else. He who is proud does not want work that he considers to be beneath his dignity. Everyone has a work that suits him and is given the grace to do so.

Building the wall is not an afterthought, but a necessity. A wall is intended for separation, it is a means of defense against external attacks by the enemy. This also makes the wall a means of security for society within the wall. The presence of the wall allows the inhabitants of the city to concentrate on the values of the city. The values of the city are determined by the temple, the house where God dwells. The wall also makes the city a whole.

The wall is not meant to isolate the city from her surroundings. Separation does not equate to isolation. It is beautiful to see how in this wall there are no less than ten gates. This makes it possible to enter and to leave. It is necessary that the gates are guarded. In the new Jerusalem guarding is no longer necessary (Rev 21:25,2725In the daytime (for there will be no night there) its gates will never be closed;27and nothing unclean, and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.).

The ten gates are:
1. The Sheep Gate (verse 11Then Eliashib the high priest arose with his brothers the priests and built the Sheep Gate; they consecrated it and hung its doors. They consecrated the wall to the Tower of the Hundred [and] the Tower of Hananel.)
2. The Fish Gate (verse 33Now the sons of Hassenaah built the Fish Gate; they laid its beams and hung its doors with its bolts and bars.)
3. The Old Gate (verse 66Joiada the son of Paseah and Meshullam the son of Besodeiah repaired the Old Gate; they laid its beams and hung its doors with its bolts and its bars.)
4. The Valley Gate (verse 1313Hanun and the inhabitants of Zanoah repaired the Valley Gate. They built it and hung its doors with its bolts and its bars, and a thousand cubits of the wall to the Refuse Gate.)
5. The Refuse Gate (verse 1414Malchijah the son of Rechab, the official of the district of Beth-haccherem repaired the Refuse Gate. He built it and hung its doors with its bolts and its bars.)
6. The Fountain Gate (verse 1515Shallum the son of Col-hozeh, the official of the district of Mizpah, repaired the Fountain Gate. He built it, covered it and hung its doors with its bolts and its bars, and the wall of the Pool of Shelah at the king’s garden as far as the steps that descend from the city of David.)
7. The Water Gate (verse 2626The temple servants living in Ophel [made repairs] as far as the front of the Water Gate toward the east and the projecting tower.)
8. The Horse Gate (verse 2828Above the Horse Gate the priests carried out repairs, each in front of his house.)
9. The East Gate (verse 2929After them Zadok the son of Immer carried out repairs in front of his house. And after him Shemaiah the son of Shecaniah, the keeper of the East Gate, carried out repairs.)
10. The Inspection Gate (verse 3131After him Malchijah, one of the goldsmiths, carried out repairs as far as the house of the temple servants and of the merchants, in front of the Inspection Gate and as far as the upper room of the corner.)


Eliashib – the Sheep Gate – Two Towers

1Then Eliashib the high priest arose with his brothers the priests and built the Sheep Gate; they consecrated it and hung its doors. They consecrated the wall to the Tower of the Hundred [and] the Tower of Hananel.

The account of the building begins at the Sheep Gate in the northeast and runs counterclockwise to the north (verses 1-71Then Eliashib the high priest arose with his brothers the priests and built the Sheep Gate; they consecrated it and hung its doors. They consecrated the wall to the Tower of the Hundred [and] the Tower of Hananel.2Next to him the men of Jericho built, and next to them Zaccur the son of Imri built.3Now the sons of Hassenaah built the Fish Gate; they laid its beams and hung its doors with its bolts and bars.4Next to them Meremoth the son of Uriah the son of Hakkoz made repairs. And next to him Meshullam the son of Berechiah the son of Meshezabel made repairs. And next to him Zadok the son of Baana [also] made repairs.5Moreover, next to him the Tekoites made repairs, but their nobles did not support the work of their masters.6Joiada the son of Paseah and Meshullam the son of Besodeiah repaired the Old Gate; they laid its beams and hung its doors with its bolts and its bars.7Next to them Melatiah the Gibeonite and Jadon the Meronothite, the men of Gibeon and of Mizpah, also made repairs for the official seat of the governor [of the province] beyond the River.), west (verses 8-138Next to him Uzziel the son of Harhaiah of the goldsmiths made repairs. And next to him Hananiah, one of the perfumers, made repairs, and they restored Jerusalem as far as the Broad Wall.9Next to them Rephaiah the son of Hur, the official of half the district of Jerusalem, made repairs.10Next to them Jedaiah the son of Harumaph made repairs opposite his house. And next to him Hattush the son of Hashabneiah made repairs.11Malchijah the son of Harim and Hasshub the son of Pahath-moab repaired another section and the Tower of Furnaces.12Next to him Shallum the son of Hallohesh, the official of half the district of Jerusalem, made repairs, he and his daughters.13Hanun and the inhabitants of Zanoah repaired the Valley Gate. They built it and hung its doors with its bolts and its bars, and a thousand cubits of the wall to the Refuse Gate.), south (verse 1414Malchijah the son of Rechab, the official of the district of Beth-haccherem repaired the Refuse Gate. He built it and hung its doors with its bolts and its bars.), and east (verses 15-3215Shallum the son of Col-hozeh, the official of the district of Mizpah, repaired the Fountain Gate. He built it, covered it and hung its doors with its bolts and its bars, and the wall of the Pool of Shelah at the king’s garden as far as the steps that descend from the city of David.16After him Nehemiah the son of Azbuk, official of half the district of Beth-zur, made repairs as far as [a point] opposite the tombs of David, and as far as the artificial pool and the house of the mighty men.17After him the Levites carried out repairs [under] Rehum the son of Bani. Next to him Hashabiah, the official of half the district of Keilah, carried out repairs for his district.18After him their brothers carried out repairs [under] Bavvai the son of Henadad, official of [the other] half of the district of Keilah.19Next to him Ezer the son of Jeshua, the official of Mizpah, repaired another section in front of the ascent of the armory at the Angle.20After him Baruch the son of Zabbai zealously repaired another section, from the Angle to the doorway of the house of Eliashib the high priest.21After him Meremoth the son of Uriah the son of Hakkoz repaired another section, from the doorway of Eliashib’s house even as far as the end of his house.22After him the priests, the men of the valley, carried out repairs.23After them Benjamin and Hasshub carried out repairs in front of their house. After them Azariah the son of Maaseiah, son of Ananiah, carried out repairs beside his house.24After him Binnui the son of Henadad repaired another section, from the house of Azariah as far as the Angle and as far as the corner.25Palal the son of Uzai [made repairs] in front of the Angle and the tower projecting from the upper house of the king, which is by the court of the guard. After him Pedaiah the son of Parosh [made repairs].26The temple servants living in Ophel [made repairs] as far as the front of the Water Gate toward the east and the projecting tower.27After them the Tekoites repaired another section in front of the great projecting tower and as far as the wall of Ophel.28Above the Horse Gate the priests carried out repairs, each in front of his house.29After them Zadok the son of Immer carried out repairs in front of his house. And after him Shemaiah the son of Shecaniah, the keeper of the East Gate, carried out repairs.30After him Hananiah the son of Shelemiah, and Hanun the sixth son of Zalaph, repaired another section. After him Meshullam the son of Berechiah carried out repairs in front of his own quarters.31After him Malchijah, one of the goldsmiths, carried out repairs as far as the house of the temple servants and of the merchants, in front of the Inspection Gate and as far as the upper room of the corner.32Between the upper room of the corner and the Sheep Gate the goldsmiths and the merchants carried out repairs.) to end up again at the Sheep Gate in the northeast.

Eliashib

The first to be mentioned as someone preparing to start the building work is the high priest Eliashib. His name means ‘God restores’. The fact that he is mentioned first is unfortunately not because of his devotion to the work, but because of his position. He is not faithful. A comparison with the building of the next gates shows that he does not provide the doors in the Sheep Gate with beams and bolts and bars (verses 3,6,13,14,153Now the sons of Hassenaah built the Fish Gate; they laid its beams and hung its doors with its bolts and bars.6Joiada the son of Paseah and Meshullam the son of Besodeiah repaired the Old Gate; they laid its beams and hung its doors with its bolts and its bars.13Hanun and the inhabitants of Zanoah repaired the Valley Gate. They built it and hung its doors with its bolts and its bars, and a thousand cubits of the wall to the Refuse Gate.14Malchijah the son of Rechab, the official of the district of Beth-haccherem repaired the Refuse Gate. He built it and hung its doors with its bolts and its bars.15Shallum the son of Col-hozeh, the official of the district of Mizpah, repaired the Fountain Gate. He built it, covered it and hung its doors with its bolts and its bars, and the wall of the Pool of Shelah at the king’s garden as far as the steps that descend from the city of David.).

By omitting the beams and bolts and bars, the door is only a symbolic barrier. Everyone is free to open it, and those who wish to do so will not encounter any resistance. But that is not the purpose of a door. People who have nothing to do in the city must be stopped by it. The door may only be opened to people who belong in the city and who keep to the rules of the city.

Is this negligence perhaps due to the fact that he is a blood relative of Tobiah (Neh 13:44Now prior to this, Eliashib the priest, who was appointed over the chambers of the house of our God, being related to Tobiah,) and that his grandson married a daughter of Sanballat (Neh 13:2828Even one of the sons of Joiada, the son of Eliashib the high priest, was a son-in-law of Sanballat the Horonite, so I drove him away from me.)? Those who have family ties with enemies of God are particularly exposed to the danger of not being so concerned about separation. This is an understandable difficulty. Therefore, we must take care that family relationships do not affect the position of separation before God.

The Sheep Gate

The first repair work is done at the Sheep Gate, by the priests. Through this gate the sheep are brought into the city to be sacrificed in the temple. In this way we are immediately reminded of the most important reason for the existence of the city and the temple: the worship of God. All believers are priests. Restoration of the wall is first and foremost necessary for the progress of priestly service. It is said only of this gate that they consecrate it, i.e. they separate and dedicate it especially to God.

The Sheep Gate is also a reminder of the Lord Jesus. He is the true Sheep Gate. He says of Himself: “I am the door of the sheep” (Jn 10:77So Jesus said to them again, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.). And a little further on He says: “I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture” (Jn 10:99I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.). Our personal life can be compared to a city. We can admit all possible sins in our lives, we can even enjoy sin. As long as we are of the world, we do the same. But enjoying sin gives a bitter aftertaste and the end is death. Then we must resort to the city of God.

The Sheep Gate is the entrance we must have. The real restoration of our life begins when we are saved from judgment by the Lord Jesus. As a result, we are allowed to “go in”, which is to come into the presence of God in faith to approach Him as priests (Heb 10:1919Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus,). We may also go “out”, that is to go out into the world to testify of the Lord Jesus and to work for Him. We will also “find pasture”, which is rest and food.

We can also see the local church as a city. If there is no wall around it, if the separation of the world is bad, then the thoughts and actions of the world can find their way in unhindered and unrestrained. Anyone who is concerned about this development should start by rebuilding the Sheep Gate. The Lord Jesus must once again be given His place as the One to Whom we owe our salvation and through Whom we may come into the presence of God. Through Him we may also do our service in the world and with Him we will find rest and food.

The builders at the Sheep Gate are the high priest and the priests. Priests are people who are used to the presence of God. They know His holiness and His goodness. Such people are needed to present the Lord Jesus as the door of the sheep. Whoever knows God, who knows what is His due and what His desires are, will gladly point out the door that leads to that God.

Two towers

Near the gate there are two towers: “Tower of the Hundred [and] the Tower of Hananel”. A tower is a watchtower, where a guard can see far outside the city what the city is approaching. This is reminiscent of vigilance. The gate is only allowed to open for sheep. For wolves the door must remain closed. Paul warns that after his departure “savage wolves will come in …, not sparing the flock” (Acts 20:2929I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock;). What we must be especially careful of are “the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves” (Mt 7:1515“Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.).

The name ‘Tower of the Hundred’ is remarkable in connection with the shepherd and the sheep. It recalls the parable the Lord Jesus pronounces about a shepherd who had a hundred sheep, of which he lost one (Mt 15:3-73And He answered and said to them, “Why do you yourselves transgress the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?4For God said, ‘HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER,’ and, ‘HE WHO SPEAKS EVIL OF FATHER OR MOTHER IS TO BE PUT TO DEATH.’5But you say, ‘Whoever says to [his] father or mother, “Whatever I have that would help you has been given [to God],”6he is not to honor his father or his mother.’ And [by this] you invalidated the word of God for the sake of your tradition.7You hypocrites, rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you:
). The intention is that all one hundred sheep should be brought to safety and not just the one lost sheep. From this tower the whole flock is watched over. No sheep should be missed.


The Men of Jericho – Zaccur

2Next to him the men of Jericho built, and next to them Zaccur the son of Imri built.

The men of Jericho

The subsequent people we see “next to” are the men of Jericho. The name Jericho evokes memories. It is the first city that Israel conquers when it enters the land. When Israel enters the land and comes to Jericho, the city is surrounded by a thick wall. The gate is closed. The city is completely closed for the Israelites. The wall around that city has to be demolished. This is done by faith (Jos 6:1-6,201Now Jericho was tightly shut because of the sons of Israel; no one went out and no one came in.2The LORD said to Joshua, “See, I have given Jericho into your hand, with its king [and] the valiant warriors.3You shall march around the city, all the men of war circling the city once. You shall do so for six days.4Also seven priests shall carry seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark; then on the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets.5It shall be that when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when you hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city will fall down flat, and the people will go up every man straight ahead.”6So Joshua the son of Nun called the priests and said to them, “Take up the ark of the covenant, and let seven priests carry seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark of the LORD.”20So the people shouted, and [priests] blew the trumpets; and when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, the people shouted with a great shout and the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight ahead, and they took the city.; Heb 11:3030By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days.). God pronounces His curse on that city and on everyone who will rebuild it and set up its gates (Jos 6:2626Then Joshua made them take an oath at that time, saying, “Cursed before the LORD is the man who rises up and builds this city Jericho; with [the loss of] his firstborn he shall lay its foundation, and with [the loss of] his youngest son he shall set up its gates.”). What God has said is fulfilled (1Kgs 16:3434In his days Hiel the Bethelite built Jericho; he laid its foundations with the [loss of] Abiram his firstborn, and set up its gates with the [loss of] his youngest son Segub, according to the word of the LORD, which He spoke by Joshua the son of Nun.).

The men we are now watching are from the city of the curse. However, they want nothing more to do with it. They are aware of their origin, but there has been a change in their lives. Isn’t it wonderful that they are not building on the wall of Jericho, but on the wall of the city of God?

Every builder for God has been a builder for the world. We have built our own territory where we had the power and made everything our own. For the people of God, we kept the gates closed. However, God has broken down the self-built walls of our hearts and all around our lives, and we have come to faith. Now we may take our place in building the wall around His city.

Zaccur

Next to Jericho’s men, Zaccur is at work. Zaccur is the abbreviated form of Zechariah. He is a Levite and is one of those who have signed a covenant made with the LORD to be faithful henceforth (Neh 10:1212Zaccur, Sherebiah, Shebaniah,). This indicates that his heart is turned toward the LORD, and his mind is such that he wants to do what is pleasing to God.

Levites, like priests, are connected to the temple. They help the priests to perform their service. Zaccur realizes that there can never be a holy service in the temple that is pleasing to God, if the city is not surrounded by walls. That is why he participates in the rebuilding of the wall.


The Fish Gate – the Sons of Hassenaah

3Now the sons of Hassenaah built the Fish Gate; they laid its beams and hung its doors with its bolts and bars.

The Fish Gate

This is the second gate we encounter. The Fish Gate is known in the days of the first temple as one of the main entrances to Jerusalem (Zep 1:1010“On that day,” declares the LORD,
“There will be the sound of a cry from the Fish Gate,
A wail from the Second Quarter,
And a loud crash from the hills.
; 2Chr 33:1414Now after this he built the outer wall of the city of David on the west side of Gihon, in the valley, even to the entrance of the Fish Gate; and he encircled the Ophel [with it] and made it very high. Then he put army commanders in all the fortified cities of Judah.). It owes its name to the merchants who bring in their fish for the fish markets from Tyre or Lake Galilee (Neh 13:1616Also men of Tyre were living there [who] imported fish and all kinds of merchandise, and sold [them] to the sons of Judah on the sabbath, even in Jerusalem.).

The Fish Gate is reminiscent of the gospel. The Lord Jesus turns His disciples into “fishers of men” (Mk 1:1717And Jesus said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.”). Through the preaching of the gospel, people are brought into the city of God through the Fish Gate. The gate speaks of supervision. Care must be taken to ensure that a biblical gospel is brought. Only through the preaching of a Biblical gospel people come to repentance and new life.

If the preaching is adapted to people’s tastes, only feeling or reason is addressed. The conscience remains untouched. People who believe because of the benefit the gospel gives them (cf. Jn 6:2626Jesus answered them and said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled.; 2:23-2523Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name, observing His signs which He was doing.24But Jesus, on His part, was not entrusting Himself to them, for He knew all men,25and because He did not need anyone to testify concerning man, for He Himself knew what was in man.) do not belong in the city of God. Those who work at the Fish Gate must see to it (cf. Mt 13:47-4847“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet cast into the sea, and gathering [fish] of every kind;48and when it was filled, they drew it up on the beach; and they sat down and gathered the good [fish] into containers, but the bad they threw away.).

There are also people who offer the gospel as merchandise. They suppose that “the fear of God is a profit [source]” (1Tim 6:55and constant friction between men of depraved mind and deprived of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain.), a matter of financial gain. These are the bread preachers; they preach because it is their profession, not because the Spirit urges them to do so. Following a theological education is open to everyone. One does not have to be converted. On the basis of their diploma they moderate the right to participate in the building of the Fish Gate. The city of God is not waiting for such builders. They must be excluded from the building site.

The sons of Hassenaah

The sons of Hassenaah are mentioned among those who have returned from exile (Ezra 2:3535the sons of Senaah, 3,630.; Neh 7:3838the sons of Senaah, 3,930.). In number, it is the largest group that has returned from Babylon. They are rebuilding the Fish Gate. We do not hear how many sons are at work. However, it is mentioned that they meticulously finish every part of the gate. Of them it is mentioned that they provided the Fish Gate with beams and bolts and bars. This is what is neglected by Eliashib when building the Sheep Gate (verse 11Then Eliashib the high priest arose with his brothers the priests and built the Sheep Gate; they consecrated it and hung its doors. They consecrated the wall to the Tower of the Hundred [and] the Tower of Hananel.).


Meremoth – Meshullam – Zadok

4Next to them Meremoth the son of Uriah the son of Hakkoz made repairs. And next to him Meshullam the son of Berechiah the son of Meshezabel made repairs. And next to him Zadok the son of Baana [also] made repairs.

Meremoth

Some work in groups such as the sons of Hassenaah (verse 33Now the sons of Hassenaah built the Fish Gate; they laid its beams and hung its doors with its bolts and bars.). Others work alone, such as Meremoth. Yet those who work alone also know they are connected with the others. The words “next to” indicates that well.

Meremoth doesn’t have to rebuild his piece of wall from the ground up. He is busy with “repair work”. The part of the wall he has taken care of is still standing. But that piece is damaged, its function has been damaged. Maybe it’s a piece of wall with holes.

Repairing is as important as rebuilding. Maybe we think our wall is still intact, while a closer inspection would show that there are some holes here and there. Then we need to work like a Meremoth to repair the damage. We may have allowed in our thinking ideas about the functioning of the church that we do not derive from God’s Word, but from the world. Expressing and implementing those ideas will make a hole in the wall. Repair is necessary.

We come across his name again and again. It is possible that Meremoth will finish his work sooner, because it is only repair work and he does not have to rebuild from the ground up. In any case, he is so diligent that after this work he starts working on another part of the wall (verse 2121After him Meremoth the son of Uriah the son of Hakkoz repaired another section, from the doorway of Eliashib’s house even as far as the end of his house.). His name is also mentioned among those who sign the covenant (Neh 10:55Harim, Meremoth, Obadiah,).

Meshullam

Like Meremoth we also encounter Meshullam twice during the building of the wall. After first completing a piece for others, he goes to work “in front of his own quarters” (verse 30b30After him Hananiah the son of Shelemiah, and Hanun the sixth son of Zalaph, repaired another section. After him Meshullam the son of Berechiah carried out repairs in front of his own quarters.).

Like Eliashib (verse 11Then Eliashib the high priest arose with his brothers the priests and built the Sheep Gate; they consecrated it and hung its doors. They consecrated the wall to the Tower of the Hundred [and] the Tower of Hananel.) Meshullam is connected to Tobiah through family ties. His daughter is married to a son of Tobiah (Neh 6:1818For many in Judah were bound by oath to him because he was the son-in-law of Shecaniah the son of Arah, and his son Jehohanan had married the daughter of Meshullam the son of Berechiah.). That does not plead in his favor. Such a connection is wrong. Scripture is clear about this (Ezra 9:1-31Now when these things had been completed, the princes approached me, saying, “The people of Israel and the priests and the Levites have not separated themselves from the peoples of the lands, according to their abominations, [those] of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Egyptians and the Amorites.2For they have taken some of their daughters [as wives] for themselves and for their sons, so that the holy race has intermingled with the peoples of the lands; indeed, the hands of the princes and the rulers have been foremost in this unfaithfulness.”3When I heard about this matter, I tore my garment and my robe, and pulled some of the hair from my head and my beard, and sat down appalled.; 10:1-31Now while Ezra was praying and making confession, weeping and prostrating himself before the house of God, a very large assembly, men, women and children, gathered to him from Israel; for the people wept bitterly.2Shecaniah the son of Jehiel, one of the sons of Elam, said to Ezra, “We have been unfaithful to our God and have married foreign women from the peoples of the land; yet now there is hope for Israel in spite of this.3So now let us make a covenant with our God to put away all the wives and their children, according to the counsel of my lord and of those who tremble at the commandment of our God; and let it be done according to the law.; 2Cor 6:1414Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?). Yet the Spirit records his commitment to rebuilding. Perhaps he has realized that his consent to this marriage is wrong, making him useful to God. His name also appears in the list of those who sign the covenant (Neh 10:2020Magpiash, Meshullam, Hezir,).

Zadok

The name Zadok is worn by several people. The only thing known about this Zadok is that he is the son of Baana. Zadok means ‘justice’. Baana means ‘son of suffering’. Whoever does justice must count on the suffering that comes with it. On the other hand, there is the “blessed” that Peter, guided by the Spirit of God, pronounces to all who suffer in this way (1Pet 3:14a14But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled,).


The Tekoites

5Moreover, next to him the Tekoites made repairs, but their nobles did not support the work of their masters.

Tekoa is located south of Bethlehem. The place is known as the abode of Amos, the prophet (Amos 1:11The words of Amos, who was among the sheepherders from Tekoa, which he envisioned in visions concerning Israel in the days of Uzziah king of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam son of Joash, king of Israel, two years before the earthquake.
) and of a wise woman (2Sam 14:22So Joab sent to Tekoa and brought a wise woman from there and said to her, “Please pretend to be a mourner, and put on mourning garments now, and do not anoint yourself with oil, but be like a woman who has been mourning for the dead many days;). People from that city have now come to Jerusalem to help rebuild the wall. In doing so, they are siding with God like an Amos and showing true wisdom like the woman.

Unfortunately there are people among the Tekoites who do not help to build the wall. This is not because they have become ill or something like that. The reason is that they find themselves too great for this kind of work. They are people of prestige. This work doesn’t suit their position. They can put others to work, but they don’t allow themselves to be put to work. Giving orders to others, fine, but receiving orders, ho way. They don’t like the idea of obeying a ‘master’.

Too often it turns out that a prominent place in the world prevents people from cooperating in God’s kingdom. They do want to talk and rule, but don’t roll up their sleeves and bend their necks under the work. They do not cooperate in something where man loses his importance and only God’s honor counts.

Paul does not feel too good to work with his own hands and provide for his own needs and the needs of others (Acts 20:3434You yourselves know that these hands ministered to my [own] needs and to the men who were with me.). And is not the Lord Jesus the perfect example? He, Who is the Master of all, is in the midst of His disciples as One Who serves (Lk 22:24-2824And there arose also a dispute among them [as to] which one of them was regarded to be greatest.25And He said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who have authority over them are called ‘Benefactors.’26But [it is] not this way with you, but the one who is the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like the servant.27For who is greater, the one who reclines [at the table] or the one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines [at the table]? But I am among you as the one who serves.28“You are those who have stood by Me in My trials;). The lesson He teaches is that everyone who has been given a prominent place in the church should learn from Him what serving means.


The Old Gate – Joiada and Meshullam

6Joiada the son of Paseah and Meshullam the son of Besodeiah repaired the Old Gate; they laid its beams and hung its doors with its bolts and its bars.

The Old Gate

The third gate in the wall is the Old Gate. It can also be translated as “gate of the old [city]” or “gate of the old [wall]”. In any case, the gate reminds us of the past, of the glory days of the city.

For us, the rebuilding of this gate is also important. In the work on the wall of the city of God to protect what is of God, we have to go back to what was from the beginning. God has given us His Word to show how the church came into being and how she functions in the beginning. We see this in the book of Acts. For the problems that hinder the functioning, He has given directions through His Spirit in the New Testament letters. These instructions have lost nothing of their present-day relevance. It is not for nothing God’s eternal and lasting Word.

In the time of Nehemiah there is only the memory of the glory of the past. Solomon’s days do not return. It is the same for the time in which we live with regard to the church. We can think with melancholy of the glory time of the beginning of the church, but that time does not return.

However, God has not changed. He has foreseen how the church would go. He has given us the letters of the New Testament. In them we find everything that is necessary to be able to come together as a church and to live together in the last days. It is not necessary to invent new ways of fellowship that are not based on Scripture. It is even wrong. We are allowed to restore and enter the Old Gate. We may ask about the “old paths” and find “rest for your soul” (Jer 6:1616Thus says the LORD,
“Stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths,
Where the good way is, and walk in it;
And you will find rest for your souls.
But they said, ‘We will not walk [in it].’
).

Joiada and Meshullam

Two builders are working on the Old Gate. Fellowship in building this gate is indispensable. You cannot put the ancient principles of the church into practice on your own. At least two are needed: “For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst” the Lord Jesus says with a view to the local church (Mt 18:2020For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.”).

Of the two builders, nothing is revealed except their names and those of their father. As a result, the emphasis is placed on the work they do. Important is what they do, not who they are. This also applies to us.


Melatiah and Jadon

7Next to them Melatiah the Gibeonite and Jadon the Meronothite, the men of Gibeon and of Mizpah, also made repairs for the official seat of the governor [of the province] beyond the River.

In some cases the father is mentioned by a name. Sometimes it goes even further back in the ancestry and the names of even more ancestors are mentioned. This is not the case with Melatiah and Jadon. They tell us where they come from. The education that each undergoes is not only determined by his family, but also by his environment.

From a spiritual point of view it is not only important that someone is converted and becomes a child of God. That is the most important thing, but it is also important in what spiritual climate a person grows up.

As an extra peculiarity we read under whose authority they are. It seems that they are not directly accountable to Nehemiah, but that with the permission of the governor they help to rebuild.


Uzziel and Hananiah

8Next to him Uzziel the son of Harhaiah of the goldsmiths made repairs. And next to him Hananiah, one of the perfumers, made repairs, and they restored Jerusalem as far as the Broad Wall.

The next builders introduced to us are men whose professions we also know. Uzziel means ‘power of God’. He is a goldsmith. Hananja means ‘Yahweh has favored’. He is a perfumer.

A goldsmith works with the most precious metal and has to be accurate. A perfumer works with all kinds of oils and fragrant spices. A goldsmith decorates people and materials. A perfumer provides means of care for the body, making it smell good and also help in healing sick parts of the body.

From a spiritual point of view, such people are indispensable. They are the ‘fine’ workers, with an eye for detail. They are capable of decorating and caring for the members of the church. We recognize them in the shepherds and teachers.

There is a piece of wall to which they don’t have to do anything. The Broad Wall has remained intact. This wall has defied all attacks. In the lives of believers or churches there can be weak spots as well as strong spots. Some truths are unknown. Then there must be upbuilding, education, or else the devil will use ignorance to penetrate. Other truths, on the other hand, are well known and one is well able to defend that truth against attacks (1Thes 5:1-21Now as to the times and the epochs, brethren, you have no need of anything to be written to you.2For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night.).


Rephaiah

9Next to them Rephaiah the son of Hur, the official of half the district of Jerusalem, made repairs.

We come to Rephaiah, which means “Yahweh healed’. He occupies a prominent position. He is in charge of overseeing half of the area that belongs to Jerusalem. It is an area outside Jerusalem. He knows that area and will have known its dangers. This will have been an extra incentive for him to make Jerusalem a safe area.

Those who have special responsibilities outside the city of God and therefore know social life well will not withdraw from their part in the building of the wall. They know better than many others the dangers from social life that threaten the life in the city of God, the church.


Jedaiah – Hattush

10Next to them Jedaiah the son of Harumaph made repairs opposite his house. And next to him Hattush the son of Hashabneiah made repairs.

Jedaiah

A special feature of Jedaiah is that he “repairs opposite his house”. This important characteristic is also found in verses 23,28,29,3023After them Benjamin and Hasshub carried out repairs in front of their house. After them Azariah the son of Maaseiah, son of Ananiah, carried out repairs beside his house.28Above the Horse Gate the priests carried out repairs, each in front of his house.29After them Zadok the son of Immer carried out repairs in front of his house. And after him Shemaiah the son of Shecaniah, the keeper of the East Gate, carried out repairs.30After him Hananiah the son of Shelemiah, and Hanun the sixth son of Zalaph, repaired another section. After him Meshullam the son of Berechiah carried out repairs in front of his own quarters.. Repairing opposite his own house is about caring for his own family. Every father’s first concern should be to separate his family for God. Anyone who wants to be faithful personally will be aware of this. The blessing for the church of families dedicated to God cannot be overestimated. A church is as strong as the families of which it is made up.

The name Jedaiah means, among other things, ‘one that invokes the LORD’. Jedaiah is a worshiper. Prayer is the foundation on which he builds his house. Is the wall of our family prayer or the prayer for our family in ruins? Shouldn’t repairs be started there?

Maybe we started the first years of marriage this way, but we no longer pray as husband and wife and as a family. Now there are often harsh and bitter words, there is an unpleasant atmosphere, the children no longer feel the security of the past. Perhaps the children have felt this for a long time and have become indifferent to spiritual things.

Then let us go back to the wall of prayer. Let us begin and end the day again by calling upon God. Maybe husband and wife should tell each other that they have not prayed together anymore. Then let them get down on their knees and find each other again before God.

Hattush

Hattush is just another one of those people whose only thing we read is his father’s name. But he’s in God’s memorial book. It is written of him with indelible ink that he also contributed to the construction of the wall.


Malchijah and Hasshub – the Tower of Furnaces

11Malchijah the son of Harim and Hasshub the son of Pahath-moab repaired another section and the Tower of Furnaces.

Malchijah and Hasshub

Both men come from families who came with Zerubbabel from Babel (Ezra 2:6,326the sons of Pahath-moab of the sons of Jeshua [and] Joab, 2,812;32the sons of Harim, 320;). They repair a second part of the wall. Probably it does not mean that they have already done a first part, but that the wall is divided into several parts and that they are working on the second part.

Not everyone is called to start a work of the Lord. Some may be called to continue a work. One is no less than the other. In this example we see how much we complement each other. Not only are we doing a work together with others, but we are also ensuring the progress of a work that the Lord wants to uphold.

The Tower of Furnaces

It is not inconceivable that the Tower of Furnaces is located in the bakers’ street. That is the street from where Jeremiah gets one loaf of bread a day when he is in prison (Jer 37:2121Then King Zedekiah gave commandment, and they committed Jeremiah to the court of the guardhouse and gave him a loaf of bread daily from the bakers’ street, until all the bread in the city was gone. So Jeremiah remained in the court of the guardhouse.). In the tower are several furnaces where bread is baked for the city. It is a beautiful work to restore that tower.

It is important that there is a tower in the wall where food is prepared for the inhabitants of the city. This tower serves on the one hand as a lookout and thus speaks of vigilance in view of an approaching enemy. On the other hand, this tower speaks of food supply for the inhabitants of the city.


Shallum and His Daughters

12Next to him Shallum the son of Hallohesh, the official of half the district of Jerusalem, made repairs, he and his daughters.

His prominent position (cf. verse 55Moreover, next to him the Tekoites made repairs, but their nobles did not support the work of their masters.) did not prevent Shallum from getting his hands dirty and taking part in the building of the wall. He is not only socially a colleague of Rephaiah (verse 99Next to them Rephaiah the son of Hur, the official of half the district of Jerusalem, made repairs.), but also spiritually he has the same interest. He does not visit the parties with his colleague where good business can be done. They are not looking for better facilities in their own district. Together they are convinced that they serve their district best if they help to ensure the safety of the city of God.

A Christian who, as a highly educated official, is responsible for many disciplines, serves his business best if he is first and foremost committed to the city of God.

As a peculiarity it is mentioned that his daughters also help to build the wall. This is the only time we read of women helping. Women have their own task in the building, which cannot be done by men. There are women who serve the Lord with their goods (Lk 8:2-32and [also] some women who had been healed of evil spirits and sicknesses: Mary who was called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out,3and Joanna the wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others who were contributing to their support out of their private means.), who prophesy (Acts 21:99Now this man had four virgin daughters who were prophetesses.), who struggle in the gospel (Phil 4:2-32I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to live in harmony in the Lord.3Indeed, true companion, I ask you also to help these women who have shared my struggle in [the cause of] the gospel, together with Clement also and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.), who are servants of the church (Rom 16:1-21I commend to you our sister Phoebe, who is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea;2that you receive her in the Lord in a manner worthy of the saints, and that you help her in whatever matter she may have need of you; for she herself has also been a helper of many, and of myself as well.).

In addition to himself, Shallum does not consider his daughters too good to play their part in this heavy work. We do not read of anyone who is working together with his sons. The only time there is talk of someone working on the wall with his children is here.

There’s no indication of the age of these daughters. The impression is that they’re young women. There may be an application here. There are complaints here and there that there is not much youth. It is also not easy for a young believer to have no one in a local church in their own age group. For these daughters, however, the absence of other young people did not prevent them from helping their father with the building. If young people see their parents faithfully doing their part in rebuilding the wall around the city of God, they will join in.

If there is sincerity, the Lord will bless that faithfulness. It will attract others who also want to live with and for the Lord.


The Valley Gate – Hanun and the Inhabitants of Zanoah

13Hanun and the inhabitants of Zanoah repaired the Valley Gate. They built it and hung its doors with its bolts and its bars, and a thousand cubits of the wall to the Refuse Gate.

The Valley Gate

We’re approaching the fourth gate, the Valley Gate. We have also looked at it before (Neh 2:13-1513So I went out at night by the Valley Gate in the direction of the Dragon’s Well and [on] to the Refuse Gate, inspecting the walls of Jerusalem which were broken down and its gates which were consumed by fire.14Then I passed on to the Fountain Gate and the King’s Pool, but there was no place for my mount to pass.15So I went up at night by the ravine and inspected the wall. Then I entered the Valley Gate again and returned.). That gate has also been destroyed and must be rebuilt.

Spiritually speaking, the Valley Gate speaks of humility, humiliation, humbleness. If we are going to boast, the Valley Gate will be destroyed. That happens when we start using the things God has given us to make ourselves important. That’s what the people of Jerusalem have done, that’s what the church is doing now. In the church in Laodicea we find the spirit of pride in full (Rev 3:15-1715‘I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot.16So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth.17Because you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked,). It is a representation of the spirit that is everywhere present in the church. The rebuilding of the Valley Gate can begin when we humble ourselves, both toward God and toward one another (1Pet 5:5-65You younger men, likewise, be subject to [your] elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.6Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time,).

The third gate, the Old Gate, is reminiscent of what is from the beginning (verse 66Joiada the son of Paseah and Meshullam the son of Besodeiah repaired the Old Gate; they laid its beams and hung its doors with its bolts and its bars.). Rebuilding that gate is important. Equally important is that the rebuilding of the Valley Gate follows. If we think of God’s ideal (‘the Old Gate’), of how He wants the church to be, and we see how far we have deviated from that, it will bring us to the rebuilding of the Valley Gate. It will lead us to humble ourselves.

Hanun and the inhabitants of Zanoah

The Valley Gate is restored by Hanun, which means favored, and the inhabitants of Zanoah, which means rejected. In these names we find what is needed to restore the Valley Gate. We may be engaged in the awareness that we stand in the favor or grace of God (Rom 5:22through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God.). We are gifted or made pleasant in the Beloved (Eph 1:66to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.).

When we realize something of the grace that has been given to us, there is no room for any boast of our own. We will not glory in our “arrogance”, which is called an evil boasting (Jam 4:1616But as it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil.). We will not boast of our gifts while we are blind to the sin found in the church. That boasting is not good (1Cor 5:1,61It is actually reported that there is immorality among you, and immorality of such a kind as does not exist even among the Gentiles, that someone has his father’s wife.6Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump [of dough]?). On the contrary, there will be besides the awareness of being gifted, also be the awareness that everything that is our own must be rejected by God. This does not only concern our sins and iniquities. We will see this for ourselves as well. But precisely all our righteous deeds “are like a filthy garment” (Isa 64:66For all of us have become like one who is unclean,
And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment;
And all of us wither like a leaf,
And our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.
).

These men are also building a large part of wall, no less than a thousand cubits. It is possible that the wall has not been torn down to the ground here and that more can be repaired in the same time than the time needed for other parts to be repaired from the ground.


The Refuse Gate – Malchijah

14Malchijah the son of Rechab, the official of the district of Beth-haccherem repaired the Refuse Gate. He built it and hung its doors with its bolts and its bars.

The Refuse Gate

The fifth in the row of gates is the Refuse  Gate. Through this gate all the garbage of Jerusalem is brought out to the garbage dump in the valley of Hinnom. There it is burned.

From a spiritual point of view it is understandable that the Refuse Gate follows the Valley Gate. If we have to humble ourselves, it is accompanied by confession of sins. By confession, sins are removed and we are cleansed. We must “cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit” (2Cor 7:11Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.). All filth must be removed from our lives.

The rebuilding of the Refuse Gate does not seem at first sight to be a pleasant occupation. It stinks there. Nevertheless, it is important that the Refuse Gate also starts to function again. This means that what does not belong in the city of God must be removed from it. We can apply this to our personal life as well as to our collective life.

Malchijah

The restorer of the Refuse Gate is called Malchijah, which means ‘king of (appointed by) Yahweh’. He is an official. Yet he is not ashamed to do this humble work. We build the Refuse Gate if we remove sin from our own lives. We build the Refuse Gate when we help our brother or sister remove sin from their lives (Mt 18:1515“If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother.). We can only do this by identifying with him or her (Gal 6:11Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; [each one] looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted.). We build the Refuse Gate when we get rid of sin out of the church (1Cor 5:13b13But those who are outside, God judges. Remove the wicked man from among yourselves.).

We only build the Refuse Gate in the right way if we look to the Lord Jesus and are at work in His mind. In the name of Malchijah we recognize the Lord Jesus, Who is not ashamed to do the least work, slave work (Jn 13:1-171Now before the Feast of the Passover, Jesus knowing that His hour had come that He would depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.2During supper, the devil having already put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, [the son] of Simon, to betray Him,3[Jesus], knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come forth from God and was going back to God,4*got up from supper, and *laid aside His garments; and taking a towel, He girded Himself.5Then He *poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded.6So He *came to Simon Peter. He *said to Him, “Lord, do You wash my feet?”7Jesus answered and said to him, “What I do you do not realize now, but you will understand hereafter.”8Peter *said to Him, “Never shall You wash my feet!” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.”9Simon Peter *said to Him, “Lord, [then wash] not only my feet, but also my hands and my head.”10Jesus *said to him, “He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all [of you].”11For He knew the one who was betraying Him; for this reason He said, “Not all of you are clean.”12So when He had washed their feet, and taken His garments and reclined [at the table] again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you?13You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for [so] I am.14If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.15For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you.16Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master, nor [is] one who is sent greater than the one who sent him.17If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.). Above all, we see that in Him when He takes our sins upon Himself on the cross and is made sin on our behalf. There He has received the judgment of the sins of everyone who believes, and so has removed them.


The Fountain Gate and Shallum

15Shallum the son of Col-hozeh, the official of the district of Mizpah, repaired the Fountain Gate. He built it, covered it and hung its doors with its bolts and its bars, and the wall of the Pool of Shelah at the king’s garden as far as the steps that descend from the city of David.

After the Valley Gate and the Refuse Gate follows immediately, as the sixth gate, the Fountain Gate. The restoration of this gate was undertaken by Shallum, in daily life official of the district of Mizpah. The usual, necessary work being done on it is mentioned again. But in connection with the restoration of this gate, some details are also mentioned. There is talk of “the wall of the Pool”, of “the king’s garden” and of “the steps that descend from the city of David”.

The Fountain Gate is reminiscent of water that rises in freshness from a fountain. This is reminiscent of what the Lord Jesus says in John 4 and John 7. There He speaks of a fountain of living water “springing up to eternal life” (Jn 4:1414but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.”) and of “ rivers of living water” (Jn 7:37-3937Now on the last day, the great [day] of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink.38He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’”39But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet [given], because Jesus was not yet glorified.).

Just as in spiritual application there is a connection between the Valley Gate and the Refuse Gate, so there is also a connection between the Refuse Gate and the Fountain Gate. When the wrong has been removed from our lives, when we have cleansed ourselves of it by confession, there will be room to enjoy the living water. The Lord speaks about this with the woman at the well of Jacob (Jn 4:1010Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.”). There will also be room for the Holy Spirit, Who fills our hearts with the glory of the Lord Jesus (Jn 7:3939But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet [given], because Jesus was not yet glorified.).

In order to ensure the supply of water, the pool must be protected. The connection with the fountain must be maintained. If the supply is hindered, the life of the inhabitants of the city will be over.

The pool is at the king’s garden. The water belongs to a garden, a court, which belongs to the king. This reminds us that drinking this water, which speaks of being busy with God’s Word, brings us into the presence of the Lord Jesus. To be with Him in the Spirit is the greatest joy for the believer.

If we have been in His presence like that, we may go down the steps of the city of David. What we have enjoyed we may share with others who live outside the city. In it we can see those who are believers but do not have an eye for the church of God as His city. In this way we will be a refreshment for other believers who, as it were, do not prefer to live in the city.


Nehemiah the son of Azbuk

16After him Nehemiah the son of Azbuk, official of half the district of Beth-zur, made repairs as far as [a point] opposite the tombs of David, and as far as the artificial pool and the house of the mighty men.

We come to Nehemiah the son of Azbuk. This man also controls an area in daily life. He is official of half the district of Beth-zur. Also in this verse some details are mentioned. With the part of the wall he builds, three places are connected: “the tombs of David”, “the artificial pool” and “the house of the mighty men”.

This Nehemiah ensures that “the tombs of David” – i.e. of David and his descendants (2Chr 32:3333So Hezekiah slept with his fathers, and they buried him in the upper section of the tombs of the sons of David; and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem honored him at his death. And his son Manasseh became king in his place.) – are protected. As mentioned earlier (Neh 2:33I said to the king, “Let the king live forever. Why should my face not be sad when the city, the place of my fathers’ tombs, lies desolate and its gates have been consumed by fire?”), when we think of a tomb in which God-fearing people are buried, we may think of the future. These believers have not received in their lives what God has promised. But they have died believing that God will fulfill His promises. This Nehemiah ensures, as it were, that this faith is preserved.

He also takes care of the protection of “the artificial pool”, possibly an extra water supply next to the waterworks mentioned in the previous verse. It is important to have sufficient water in reserve to be able to drink from it when the enemy lays siege to the city. Whoever learns biblical texts by heart will build such a pool. Sometimes you do not have a Bible at your disposal. Then it is life-saving to know the Word of God and to know a text that you can apply to the situation that arises.

Also “the house of the mighty men” needs to be protected. This has probably been a residence of the heroes of David. The memory of people who fought in faith for their king when he was still being persecuted should remain. Hebrews 11 is such a ‘house of the mighty men’. The believers introduced to us there form a “great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us” (Heb 12:11Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,). Their example calls for imitation. Above all, we may look to the Hero, the Lord Jesus, Who has gone all the way before us in faith (Heb 12:1-31Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,2fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.3For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.).


Rehum – Hashabiah – Keilah – Bavvai

17After him the Levites carried out repairs [under] Rehum the son of Bani. Next to him Hashabiah, the official of half the district of Keilah, carried out repairs for his district. 18After him their brothers carried out repairs [under] Bavvai the son of Henadad, official of [the other] half of the district of Keilah.

Rehum

After the priests mentioned in verse 11Then Eliashib the high priest arose with his brothers the priests and built the Sheep Gate; they consecrated it and hung its doors. They consecrated the wall to the Tower of the Hundred [and] the Tower of Hananel., we now meet Levites. They too are busy helping to rebuild the wall. They work under the leadership of Rehum, the son of Bani. The usual service of the Levites is to help the priests with the sacrifices. For their usual work it is therefore important that Jerusalem as the city of the temple is well protected again.

Levite service in the spiritual sense takes place, among other things, when the believers are taught from the Word of God. The Lord Jesus should always be central to this. And if He is seen, it will make hearts happy and thankful. As a result, priestly service will be performed: believers will offer sacrifices of praise and thanks to God.

Keilah

The officials who together have oversight over the whole area around Keilah are also present at the building work. Keilah did not show its best side in David’s time. It is a city “with double gates and bars” (1Sam 23:77When it was told Saul that David had come to Keilah, Saul said, “God has delivered him into my hand, for he shut himself in by entering a city with double gates and bars.”) which is under heavy attack from the Philistines. Then David comes. He defeats the Philistines and liberates the inhabitants of the city. However, there is no gratitude. They are willing to deliver David to Saul (1Sam 23:1212Then David said, “Will the men of Keilah surrender me and my men into the hand of Saul?” And the LORD said, “They will surrender you.”).

Hashabiah and Bavvai

Another spirit is found here with Hashabiah and Bavvai . With their part in the rebuilding, they ensure that Keilah also gets a positive mention in Scripture. This is how it can be in the life of a believer or a church. Things may have happened in the past that we are now ashamed of (cf. Rom 6:2121Therefore what benefit were you then deriving from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the outcome of those things is death.). People who know us from the past may remind us of them. It is to be hoped that these people will also notice that we have changed by the grace of God.


Ezer

19Next to him Ezer the son of Jeshua, the official of Mizpah, repaired another section in front of the ascent of the armory at the Angle.

On our way around the wall we arrived at Ezer. In the meaning of the name ‘Ezer’ the word ‘help’ is enclosed. Think of the stone Samuel sets up between Mizpah and Shen: He “named it Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the LORD has helped us”“ (1Sam 7:1212Then Samuel took a stone and set it between Mizpah and Shen, and named it Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the LORD has helped us.”).

As Official of Mizpah, Ezer is not too dainty to be of help. His help consists of building the next part of the wall. This part of the wall is important from a tactical point of view. It is opposite the ascent of the armory. It seems that this part of the wall also forms a corner in the wall. This means that the armory has to be protected by the wall in two directions. A difficulty factor which Ezer does not avoid.

Building a corner is always more difficult than building a straight part of the wall. Protecting the armory is often more difficult than protecting other objects. The armory can be compared to the armor of God (Eph 6:10-2010Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.11Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual [forces] of wickedness in the heavenly [places].13Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.14Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness,15and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace;16in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil [one].17And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.18With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints,19and [pray] on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel,20for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in [proclaiming] it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.). If we leave the armor house unprotected, if we don’t put the armor on, we are defenseless.

A man who had to stay in an environment hostile to God told me that he put on the armor of God every morning. He did so by memorizing the armor (Eph 6:14-1814Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness,15and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace;16in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil [one].17And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.18With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints,) and reciting it every morning. In this way he protected the armory and therefore himself. He was able to repel the enemy’s attacks with the weapons God had given him.


Baruch

20After him Baruch the son of Zabbai zealously repaired another section, from the Angle to the doorway of the house of Eliashib the high priest.

We arrived at Baruch. His name means ‘blessed’. His special characteristic is that he is “zealously”, repairing. This extra mention indicates that his degree of zeal is special. The Spirit, in every mention of names, notes certain peculiarities, things which make some more striking than others.

There is, also in the work of the Lord, a distinction in quantity and quality. All the differences are due to causes which are not mentioned here, but which will become visible before the judgment seat of Christ. Behind all the deeds of men there are motives.


Meremoth

21After him Meremoth the son of Uriah the son of Hakkoz repaired another section, from the doorway of Eliashib’s house even as far as the end of his house.

Meremoth is one who builds in front of the house of another, in front of the house of Eliashib the high priest (verse 11Then Eliashib the high priest arose with his brothers the priests and built the Sheep Gate; they consecrated it and hung its doors. They consecrated the wall to the Tower of the Hundred [and] the Tower of Hananel.). He does this as an extra work, because he did restore another part of the wall first (verse 44Next to them Meremoth the son of Uriah the son of Hakkoz made repairs. And next to him Meshullam the son of Berechiah the son of Meshezabel made repairs. And next to him Zadok the son of Baana [also] made repairs.). Eliashib helps to build the Sheep Gate (verse 11Then Eliashib the high priest arose with his brothers the priests and built the Sheep Gate; they consecrated it and hung its doors. They consecrated the wall to the Tower of the Hundred [and] the Tower of Hananel.), but it seems that he neglects his own house. It is to Meremoth’s credit that he takes on a task that is actually for Eliashib himself. He does not say: ‘Am I my brother’s keeper?’ (Gen 4:99Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” And he said, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?”). Instead, he makes an extra effort in favor of his failing brother. He makes an effort to do what the other is failing to do. This does not diminish Eliashib’s responsibility, especially since he is so prominent among the people.

It is to be wished that there are also men in the church who want to make extra effort for those who fail in their own family. It is necessary that such men have their own house in order. In 1 Timothy 3 are the conditions to be met by someone who aspires to be an overseer (1Tim 3:1-71It is a trustworthy statement: if any man aspires to the office of overseer, it is a fine work he desires [to do].2An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach,3not addicted to wine or pugnacious, but gentle, peaceable, free from the love of money.4[He must be] one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity5(but if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?),6[and] not a new convert, so that he will not become conceited and fall into the condemnation incurred by the devil.7And he must have a good reputation with those outside [the church], so that he will not fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.). The work of an overseer is called “a fine work” (1Tim 3:11It is a trustworthy statement: if any man aspires to the office of overseer, it is a fine work he desires [to do].). This fine work which the overseer aspires is nothing less than the keeping of God’s flock (Acts 20:2828Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.; cf. 1Pet 5:1-41Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as [your] fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed,2shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to [the will of] God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness;3nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock.4And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.). It is a work because it requires an investment of energy.

The aspiration to be an overseer should not be to want to be something, but to want to do something. It is not extending to a position of authority, but to the task of a servant. Service is done for God (He is the commissioner) and to the church (cf. Ezra 7:1010For Ezra had set his heart to study the law of the LORD and to practice [it], and to teach [His] statutes and ordinances in Israel.; Neh 2:1010When Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite official heard [about it], it was very displeasing to them that someone had come to seek the welfare of the sons of Israel.).

The motive for this aspiration can be nothing more than surrender to and love for the Lord Jesus and the desire to serve Him in dependence and obedience.


The Priests

22After him the priests, the men of the valley, carried out repairs.

Here we meet priests again (verse 11Then Eliashib the high priest arose with his brothers the priests and built the Sheep Gate; they consecrated it and hung its doors. They consecrated the wall to the Tower of the Hundred [and] the Tower of Hananel.). Since verse 1515Shallum the son of Col-hozeh, the official of the district of Mizpah, repaired the Fountain Gate. He built it, covered it and hung its doors with its bolts and its bars, and the wall of the Pool of Shelah at the king’s garden as far as the steps that descend from the city of David. we are on the eastern side of the wall. If we look closely, we can already see the temple. It is as if, as we approach the temple, we meet more and more temple servants. We have already passed the Levites in verse 1717After him the Levites carried out repairs [under] Rehum the son of Bani. Next to him Hashabiah, the official of half the district of Keilah, carried out repairs for his district.. We have passed the house of the high priest. Now we are at priests again. In verses 26,3126The temple servants living in Ophel [made repairs] as far as the front of the Water Gate toward the east and the projecting tower.31After him Malchijah, one of the goldsmiths, carried out repairs as far as the house of the temple servants and of the merchants, in front of the Inspection Gate and as far as the upper room of the corner. we will find more temple servants busy and in between, at the Horse Gate, another number of priests (verse 2828Above the Horse Gate the priests carried out repairs, each in front of his house.).

The priests we find busy here, live in “the valley”, that is the Jordan Valley. It will have been a joy for them to be able to work so close to the temple. The prospect of being able to perform their service in the temple again will have encouraged them.


Benjamin and Hasshub – Azariah

23After them Benjamin and Hasshub carried out repairs in front of their house. After them Azariah the son of Maaseiah, son of Ananiah, carried out repairs beside his house.

Benjamin and Hasshub

This is the second time that people are building in front of their house. The names of these builders are Benjamin, which means ‘son of my right hand’ and Hasshub, which means ‘caring’, ‘concerned’. The right hand is the hand of strength and represents protection and guarding. What protects a house? How do we take care of what has been entrusted to us in our home (family)? When it comes to the material side, we can arrange all conceivable insurances for all kinds of calamities, such as fire and theft. We can implement all kinds of protective security measures, such as alarm systems and security services. However, none of this offers a certain level of protection.

But there are far worse enemies than those who can cause us material damage. These are the enemies who are constantly trying to harm us mentally. How can we protect ourselves from them? How do we erect a protective wall against them?

From Benjamin, the son of Jacob, we read that he will dwell by the LORD, and there he will live safely (Deu 33:1212Of Benjamin he said,
“May the beloved of the LORD dwell in security by Him,
Who shields him all the day,
And he dwells between His shoulders.”
). Only God is our security. How rich is a house that finds its security in the protection of the Lord, where one trusts in the Almighty and knows himself secure in His arms. This is not about the certainty that sickness, poverty, suffering or death cannot affect our house, but that living with the Lord will always save us from evil, strife and fear.

If we no longer trust in the power of the Lord, that part of the wall will be in ruins. If we notice how our families are increasingly falling apart because the protection is gone, we must seek it again. The power of the Lord is always available to those who call upon it.

Azariah

Azariah is busy “beside his house”. It seems that the part of the wall opposite his house is still intact. It is rather meaningless to start next to your house and leave the part in front of your house open. Azariah means ‘Yahweh has helped’. He is not satisfied with the fact that the wall in front of his house is still standing. He also wants the open part next to it to be closed. With the help of the LORD he excludes, as far as it depends on him, any risk that the enemy can even come near his house. It is important to keep the enemy as far away as possible.

Any interest in the enemy out of curiosity may give him the opportunity to attack. We shouldn’t give him that chance. Our interest should only be in the Lord Jesus and the things in which He is central. To the extent that we have to concern ourselves with the enemy as a task of the Lord, for example in order to be able to warn others of his wiles, we may count on the protection of the Lord.


Binnui

24After him Binnui the son of Henadad repaired another section, from the house of Azariah as far as the Angle and as far as the corner.

Where Azariah has stopped, Binnui continues to build. He builds “as far as the Angle and as far as the corner”. The name Binnui means ‘someone who builds’. His father is Henadad, one of the returnees from Babylon (Ezra 3:99Then Jeshua [with] his sons and brothers stood united [with] Kadmiel and his sons, the sons of Judah [and] the sons of Henadad [with] their sons and brothers the Levites, to oversee the workmen in the temple of God.). His sons helped build the temple. Here we see a son helping to build the wall. His father gave him a name that has to do with building. It seems that Henadad is involved in everything that has to do with building for God. Binnui lives up to the name his father gave him.

What name do we give our children? I mean, what expectation do we have of them? If we seek for ourselves a position, honor and prestige in the world, we will wish the same for our children. In our minds we give them the name of a great scientist, of a famous athlete, of a celebrated musician or of any other celebrity. But if our interest is in God’s house and city, in the glory of God in all things, we will wish that it will be the same with our children. Then we will pray that they will be in the service of the Lord Jesus in His kingdom.


Palal – Pedaiah

25Palal the son of Uzai [made repairs] in front of the Angle and the tower projecting from the upper house of the king, which is by the court of the guard. After him Pedaiah the son of Parosh [made repairs].

Palal

Palal is busy near the king’s house on the side of “the court of the guard”. It is very likely that Jeremiah was locked up there (Jer 32:2,8,122Now at that time the army of the king of Babylon was besieging Jerusalem, and Jeremiah the prophet was shut up in the court of the guard, which [was in] the house of the king of Judah,8Then Hanamel my uncle’s son came to me in the court of the guard according to the word of the LORD and said to me, ‘Buy my field, please, that is at Anathoth, which is in the land of Benjamin; for you have the right of possession and the redemption is yours; buy [it] for yourself.’ Then I knew that this was the word of the LORD.12and I gave the deed of purchase to Baruch the son of Neriah, the son of Mahseiah, in the sight of Hanamel my uncle’s [son] and in the sight of the witnesses who signed the deed of purchase, before all the Jews who were sitting in the court of the guard.; 33:11Then the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the second time, while he was still confined in the court of the guard, saying,; 37:2121Then King Zedekiah gave commandment, and they committed Jeremiah to the court of the guardhouse and gave him a loaf of bread daily from the bakers’ street, until all the bread in the city was gone. So Jeremiah remained in the court of the guardhouse.; 38:6,13,286Then they took Jeremiah and cast him into the cistern [of] Malchijah the king’s son, which was in the court of the guardhouse; and they let Jeremiah down with ropes. Now in the cistern there was no water but only mud, and Jeremiah sank into the mud.13So they pulled Jeremiah up with the ropes and lifted him out of the cistern, and Jeremiah stayed in the court of the guardhouse.28So Jeremiah stayed in the court of the guardhouse until the day that Jerusalem was captured.; 39:1414they even sent and took Jeremiah out of the court of the guardhouse and entrusted him to Gedaliah, the son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, to take him home. So he stayed among the people.). He was locked up there because he warned about the coming of the king of Babylon. He also pointed out that surrender was the only possibility of salvation. But the king and his counselors did not want to hear about it. Jeremiah lost his freedom and Jerusalem was conquered and destroyed.

Maybe Palal is thinking about this when he is working on the wall at “the court of the guard”. His name means ‘judge’. A judge knows when the law has been broken and which punishment belongs to the transgression. He will agree that God has done justice by placing the guilty Jerusalem in the hands of the Babylonians. They have earned this judgment. Jeremiah is liberated, the people have been taken into captivity.

Will that not have made him a praying builder? We can imagine that he prayed: ‘Lord, give that your people will now faithfully serve you, listen to you, so that the city will not have to be destroyed again’. Such a prayer also suits us, who live in days in which the decay of the church increases hand over hand. If we can then experience restoration by God’s grace, we should never forget how much we have failed as a church.

Pedaiah

Next to Palal, Pedaiah is busy. Pedaiah means ‘Yahweh redeemed’. This fits nicely with the ‘judge’. God is righteous when He judges, but He redeems those who bow under this judgment. Pedaiah represents someone who is conscious that he is redeemed to dedicate himself for the safety and security of all who are to the city of God.


The Temple Servants – the Water Gate

26The temple servants living in Ophel [made repairs] as far as the front of the Water Gate toward the east and the projecting tower.

The temple servants

In between all the activity a remark is made about the temple servants. They live on the Ophel, a height just before the Water Gate on the south side of the temple. Temple servants, also called Nethinim, are always mentioned in plural. They are connected to the service in the temple. Their tasks lie on the terrain of all kinds of simple work. Most likely, they are descendants of the Gibeonites, who joined the people of God by deceit (Jn 9:3-153Jesus answered, “[It was] neither [that] this man sinned, nor his parents; but [it was] so that the works of God might be displayed in him.4We must work the works of Him who sent Me as long as it is day; night is coming when no one can work.5While I am in the world, I am the Light of the world.”6When He had said this, He spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and applied the clay to his eyes,7and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which is translated, Sent). So he went away and washed, and came [back] seeing.8Therefore the neighbors, and those who previously saw him as a beggar, were saying, “Is not this the one who used to sit and beg?”9Others were saying, “This is he,” [still] others were saying, “No, but he is like him.” He kept saying, “I am the one.”10So they were saying to him, “How then were your eyes opened?”11He answered, “The man who is called Jesus made clay, and anointed my eyes, and said to me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash’; so I went away and washed, and I received sight.”12They said to him, “Where is He?” He *said, “I do not know.”13They *brought to the Pharisees the man who was formerly blind.14Now it was a Sabbath on the day when Jesus made the clay and opened his eyes.15Then the Pharisees also were asking him again how he received his sight. And he said to them, “He applied clay to my eyes, and I washed, and I see.”). Joshua curses them for this and determines that they will never cease to “being slaves, both hewers of wood and drawers of water for the house of my God” (Jos 9:2323Now therefore, you are cursed, and you shall never cease being slaves, both hewers of wood and drawers of water for the house of my God.”).

In connection with the name Pedaiah, we see how the LORD has delivered them from the curse. They have conformed to the judgment of Joshua and therefore the curse has become a blessing for them. The wall also serves to protect and preserve them for the service that has been imposed upon them.

The Water Gate

The Water Gate, the seventh gate mentioned in this chapter, is not part of the wall, but, like the Ophel, lies within the wall. It does not say that the Water Gate is being restored. However, it does say that the gate is on “the east” of the wall and close to “the projecting tower”.

At the Fountain Gate (verse 1515Shallum the son of Col-hozeh, the official of the district of Mizpah, repaired the Fountain Gate. He built it, covered it and hung its doors with its bolts and its bars, and the wall of the Pool of Shelah at the king’s garden as far as the steps that descend from the city of David.) we have already seen that the water speaks of the Word of God (Eph 5:2626so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,). There the water is in action, a well which springs up. That is the Word which does its work and works (1Thes 2:1313For this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted [it] not [as] the word of men, but [for] what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe.). Here the water also represents the Word of God, but more in its immutability. This is a clear application of the fact that the Water Gate does not need to be restored. Nothing needs to be improved on the Word. It remains eternally in all its perfection (Psa 119:8989Forever, O LORD,
Your word is settled in heaven.
; Jn 1:11In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.; Rev 19:1313[He is] clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.).

This gives hope for the future, of which the east side speaks. The east side is the side where the sun rises. When the Lord Jesus appears as “the Sun of righteousness” (Mal 4:22“But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings; and you will go forth and skip about like calves from the stall.), He will fulfill everything God has promised in His Word. It is as if “the projecting tower” emphasizes that. The watchman in that tower looks eastward to be the first to see the Sun of righteousness rise.


The Tekoites

27After them the Tekoites repaired another section in front of the great projecting tower and as far as the wall of Ophel.

This group of builders was also mentioned earlier (verse 55Moreover, next to him the Tekoites made repairs, but their nobles did not support the work of their masters.). Here they are working on a second part. It is possible that the Tekoites have to do a second part because the notables find it beneath their dignity to help.

We can apply this to all the work that is done for the Lord. In the work for the Lord the burdens are sometimes divided unevenly because there are some who do not perform their task. In that case a great deal has to be done by the few. If each member fulfils his or her function (1Cor 14:4-114One who speaks in a tongue edifies himself; but one who prophesies edifies the church.5Now I wish that you all spoke in tongues, but [even] more that you would prophesy; and greater is one who prophesies than one who speaks in tongues, unless he interprets, so that the church may receive edifying.6But now, brethren, if I come to you speaking in tongues, what will I profit you unless I speak to you either by way of revelation or of knowledge or of prophecy or of teaching?7Yet [even] lifeless things, either flute or harp, in producing a sound, if they do not produce a distinction in the tones, how will it be known what is played on the flute or on the harp?8For if the bugle produces an indistinct sound, who will prepare himself for battle?9So also you, unless you utter by the tongue speech that is clear, how will it be known what is spoken? For you will be speaking into the air.10There are, perhaps, a great many kinds of languages in the world, and no [kind] is without meaning.11If then I do not know the meaning of the language, I will be to the one who speaks a barbarian, and the one who speaks will be a barbarian to me.), no member is overburdened. Unfortunately, practice is different. Some believe that they can do nothing. They hide behind incompetence or no time. But the Lord has given every believer a task. Apologies are pretexts, not valid excuses, and in fact disobedience to the Lord.


The Horse Gate – the Priests

28Above the Horse Gate the priests carried out repairs, each in front of his house.

The Horse Gate

We’ve arrived at the eighth gate, the Horse Gate. The Horse Gate isn’t being repaired itself. It is mentioned as the starting point for a number of priests to rebuild the wall in front of their house. In almost all cases where the horse is mentioned in Scripture, they are war horses. The horse is praised for its fearlessness, speed, endurance, and strength. A wonderful description of it is given by the LORD Himself in His answer to Job (Job 39:22-2822“He laughs at fear and is not dismayed;
And he does not turn back from the sword.
23“The quiver rattles against him,
The flashing spear and javelin.
24“With shaking and rage he races over the ground,
And he does not stand still at the voice of the trumpet.
25“As often as the trumpet [sounds] he says, ‘Aha!’
And he scents the battle from afar,
And the thunder of the captains and the war cry.
26“Is it by your understanding that the hawk soars,
Stretching his wings toward the south?
27“Is it at your command that the eagle mounts up
And makes his nest on high?
28“On the cliff he dwells and lodges,
Upon the rocky crag, an inaccessible place.
).

The mentioned characteristics of the horse are necessary to persevere in building. The end of the wall comes in sight. Sometimes the view at the end can give an extra boost of energy. We think about what already has been done and do everything we can to finish the work. Sometimes the last part can become just too much. If we measure the work still to be done by our strengths, we can become discouraged (Neh 4:1010Thus in Judah it was said,
“The strength of the burden bearers is failing,
Yet there is much rubbish;
And we ourselves are unable
To rebuild the wall.”
).

If we are in danger of becoming discouraged, it is important to remember that for the qualities mentioned, we should not rely on ourselves or a creature, but on the Lord. In some psalms the great power of the horse is mentioned to remind us of the greater power of God (Psa 20:88They have bowed down and fallen,
But we have risen and stood upright.
; 33:1717A horse is a false hope for victory;
Nor does it deliver anyone by its great strength.
; 76:77You, even You, are to be feared;
And who may stand in Your presence when once You are angry?
). If we call upon Him, He will give us the strength and endurance to achieve victory and reach the end goal.

The priests

More than anything else, this applies to the priestly service. In Christianity there is the confession of the general priesthood, but often not its practice. How important is it to hold on to this truth, which is so important to God, and to put it into practice. God wants us to praise Him continually – and not just occasionally (Heb 13:1515Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.; 1Pet 2:55you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.).

It is possible that the impediment to perform this priestly service is caused by the absence of the walls in front of the priests’ houses. By giving up the separation of the world – tearing down the wall – much has penetrated into the families of the believers, which does not exactly encourage priestly service. How many hours are they watching TV or surfing the internet or spending on social media? And when people are watching and surfing, what do they see?

Let believing men and women, for they are both priests, inspect the walls in front of their homes. By not being vigilant, have thoughts entered the heart and changed the view of the Bible or the Lord Jesus? With honest self-examination it will then be established that the priestly service before God has diminished, the worship of the Father has disappeared and the dedication to the Lord is hardly present anymore.

Let the Horse Gate come within sight again. Seek the power of the Lord to resume the building of the wall. Listen to the encouragement of Nehemiah: “Do not be afraid of them; remember the Lord who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives and your houses” (Neh 4:1414When I saw [their fear], I rose and spoke to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people: “Do not be afraid of them; remember the Lord who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives and your houses.”).


Zadok – Shemaiah and the East Gate

29After them Zadok the son of Immer carried out repairs in front of his house. And after him Shemaiah the son of Shecaniah, the keeper of the East Gate, carried out repairs.

Zadok

Zadok is also busy in front of his house. Zadok means, among other things, ‘sincere’, ‘honest’. Has the wall of sincerity been knocked down around our house? Are we honest in our dealings with others? When we’re married, let’s apply this to our marriage. Do we remember our promise of faithfulness to each other on our wedding day? Have we remained faithful and honest? Does this also apply to the desire for our partner’s companionship that must be greater than that of anyone else in the world? Or do we covet the company of someone whose wife or husband we say, “He suits me better, is more sympathetic to me than my own”? The sacred wall of honesty then lies in ruins and must be rebuilt.

Perhaps the husband should confess to his wife or the wife to her husband that dishonesty has come into his thoughts or perhaps even into practice. The debris must be cleared away before it can be rebuilt.

Zadok is the son of Immer, which means ‘talkative’. There is no part of the body that damages so much as the tongue. The wall of honesty often becomes a mess because of the talkativeness. To be critical on each other, on the brothers and sisters, bring down the wall. How do we talk about each other and with each other? Maybe we should confess this, also to the children who have heard how we have talked about our brothers and sisters.

Shemaiah and the East Gate

We’ve arrived at Shemaiah. It is mentioned of him that he is “the keeper of the East Gate”. The East Gate, the ninth gate in this chapter, is a special gate. Through that gate the glory of the LORD left the temple and Jerusalem (Eze 10:18-1918Then the glory of the LORD departed from the threshold of the temple and stood over the cherubim.19When the cherubim departed, they lifted their wings and rose up from the earth in my sight with the wheels beside them; and they stood still at the entrance of the east gate of the LORD’S house, and the glory of the God of Israel hovered over them.; 11:2323The glory of the LORD went up from the midst of the city and stood over the mountain which is east of the city.). Because of the sins of Jerusalem God’s glory could no longer dwell there. But He did not leave to stay away forever. The prophet Ezekiel sees in a vision the glory of the LORD returning in the new temple (Eze 43:44And the glory of the LORD came into the house by the way of the gate facing toward the east.).

This great perspective is connected with the name of Shemaiah. His name means ‘Yahweh hears’. No matter how much God’s people are in decay, no matter how much God’s visible glory has had to retreat into heaven, there comes a moment when He returns. Faith cries out, ‘How long, LORD? It seems to have been for so long. But God listens to the cries of His people. The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” (Rev 22:1717The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost.). The Lord Jesus answers: “Yes, I am coming quickly” (Rev 22:2020He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming quickly.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.).


Hananiah and Hanun – Meshullam

30After him Hananiah the son of Shelemiah, and Hanun the sixth son of Zalaph, repaired another section. After him Meshullam the son of Berechiah carried out repairs in front of his own quarters.

Hananiah and Hanun

We don’t know much more about these builders than their names. There’s a connection in their names. Hananiah means ‘Yahweh has favored’ and Hanun means ‘favored’. Of Hanun one particularity is mentioned: he is the sixth son.

Six is the number of man (Rev 13:1818Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for the number is that of a man; and his number is six hundred and sixty-six.) and his work (Exo 20:99Six days you shall labor and do all your work,). Everything that man is and does bears the stamp of sin and weakness. Man is a creature favored by God. By choosing sin, man has cut himself loose from God. In his pride he boasts of his qualities. It is therefore foolish to hold that man high and trust him on the day of the visitation (Isa 2:2222Stop regarding man, whose breath [of life] is in his nostrils;
For why should he be esteemed?
).

But every ‘Hanun’ can become a ‘Hananiah’. He who acknowledges his sinfulness, pride and rebellion against God receives forgiveness of sins. He may see in the work of the Lord Jesus, Who as Man has answered perfectly to what God asks of man. He, as Man, has borne the sins of all who believe in Him. Whoever accepts in faith that He has also done it for him, comes into the favor of God (Rom 5:22through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God.).

Through repentance to God, the connection with God is restored. By faith in the Lord Jesus, someone in Him is made pleasant to God (Eph 1:66to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.). This is the true grace (or favor) in which one must stand (1Pet 5:1212Through Silvanus, our faithful brother (for so I regard [him]), I have written to you briefly, exhorting and testifying that this is the true grace of God. Stand firm in it!). ‘Hananiah’ and ‘Hanun’ are united. ‘Hanun’ can truly fulfill the purpose for which God created him, that is to serve Him. Together with ‘Hananiah’ he can be used to build the wall.

Meshullam

Meshullam first helped restore another part of the wall (verse 4b4Next to them Meremoth the son of Uriah the son of Hakkoz made repairs. And next to him Meshullam the son of Berechiah the son of Meshezabel made repairs. And next to him Zadok the son of Baana [also] made repairs.), but he does not neglect “his own quarters” or ‘“cell” as it also can be translated, his own living space. Meshullam may live alone in a cell. The application is obvious. Many young people leave the parental home to study in another city. They go and live on their own. They are responsible for the decoration of their cell and their behavior in it. They go and live on their own. They are responsible for the decoration of their cell and their behavior in it. Does it breathe the Christian atmosphere or do they see an opportunity to cleanly throw all the biblical values and norms of home overboard? Many young people have demolished the wall behind which they have been safe at home.

With Meshullam it is different. Although he has his own cell as his home, his life is a testimony of complete surrender. As a result, he lives in a sacred atmosphere. His name means ‘surrendered’. He is the son of Berechiah, which means ‘Yahweh blesses’. He who lives in surrender to the Lord is blessed by Him. The blessing of the Lord does not depend on whether my house is large or small, whether the work is impressive or insignificant, but whether everything is used and done in submission to Him. The blessing then comes from the Lord, “who makes rich” (Pro 10:2222It is the blessing of the LORD that makes rich,
And He adds no sorrow to it.
).

We all build on the wall. No one should think he is too small. The smallest hole in the wall is in danger of being penetrated by the enemy. If we allow a hole to form or exist, the whole church is in danger.


Malchijah– the Inspection Gate

31After him Malchijah, one of the goldsmiths, carried out repairs as far as the house of the temple servants and of the merchants, in front of the Inspection Gate and as far as the upper room of the corner.

Malchijah

Just a little bit more and the tour around the wall is complete. We stop for a moment at Malchijah, a goldsmith. Malchijah means ‘Yahweh is King’. He knows the value of precious metals. To protect the material and the profession, he helps to build the wall.

Furthermore, his work is connected to “the house of the temple servants and of the merchants”. He has an eye for the work that the “temple servants” do. However humble it may be, it is important that this work can be done. By building the wall he makes sure that the enemy cannot enter the city through their house. A temple servant can underestimate his work so much, that he tries to get some prestige through other channels. But if the temple servant is connected to ‘Malchijah’ and lives by the meaning of that name and does his work, the enemy will not succeed in getting into the city of God through him. The wall is well built there.

Also “merchants” can only trade well if they do so in accordance with the rules that apply in the city. It is difficult, but not impossible, to do business honestly. The enemy has made special provision for businessmen to influence the life in the city of God. But on the businessman associated with ‘Malchijah’, who lives and acts according to the meaning of that name, he will not get a grip. The wall there is well built.

The Inspection Gate

The Inspection Gate is the tenth gate mentioned in this chapter. The work is almost done. It is not unusual at the end of a work, at the end of a year, at the end of a life to look back at that work, that year, that life. From a spiritual point of view it is important to look back regularly. Later we often see better how we have worked than in the time of that work itself.

At the end of his life Paul draws up the balance sheet. When the time of his departure has come, he can say: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith” (2Tim 4:6-76For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come.7I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith;). At the same time, he knows that the final ‘inspection’ will be done by the Lord (1Cor 4:1-51Let a man regard us in this manner, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.2In this case, moreover, it is required of stewards that one be found trustworthy.3But to me it is a very small thing that I may be examined by you, or by [any] human court; in fact, I do not even examine myself.4For I am conscious of nothing against myself, yet I am not by this acquitted; but the one who examines me is the Lord.5Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, [but wait] until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of [men’s] hearts; and then each man’s praise will come to him from God.), when we will all be revealed “before the judgment seat of Christ” (2Cor 5:1010For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.).

That ‘inspection’ before the judgment seat takes place in “the upper room”, in heaven. But also on earth we already find an ‘upper room’, a place of fellowship with the Lord Jesus. There the Lord Jesus is with His disciples to celebrate the Passover with them (Lk 22:1212And he will show you a large, furnished upper room; prepare it there.”). On that occasion He instituted Supper, which we are still allowed to celebrate every Sunday. Then we think of Him and His work of redemption on the cross. We proclaim His death. But we cannot do this without judging ourselves, investigating, ‘inspecting’ (1Cor 11:2828But a man must examine himself, and in so doing he is to eat of the bread and drink of the cup.). If we discover that there is something of sin in our lives, we must first condemn it. We have to confess it to God, and if people are involved we have to confess it to them as well.

After the ascension of the Lord Jesus, the disciples are back in the upper room (Acts 1:1313When they had entered [the city], they went up to the upper room where they were staying; that is, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James [the son] of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas [the son] of James.). There they wait for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. ‘Inspection’ of the Word makes it clear that the event with Judas is foretold in Scripture (Acts 1:1616“Brethren, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit foretold by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus.). Scripture also tells the ‘examiners’ that someone else must take the place of Judas (Acts 1:2020“For it is written in the book of Psalms,
‘LET HIS HOMESTEAD BE MADE DESOLATE,
AND LET NO ONE DWELL IN IT’;
and,
‘LET ANOTHER MAN TAKE HIS OFFICE.’
). Examination of the Word shows what must happen until the promise is fulfilled. More than ever we can apply this to the promise of the coming of the Lord Jesus.


Goldsmiths and Merchants – the Sheep Gate

32Between the upper room of the corner and the Sheep Gate the goldsmiths and the merchants carried out repairs.

Goldsmiths and merchants

In this verse no name or names are mentioned, but two professions: goldsmiths and merchants. They make sure that the last hole in the wall is closed and the wall forms one whole. The goldsmiths work with precious metal. They work very precisely. The result of their work is always admired. Merchants work in such a way that they get the greatest return from a business.

When rebuilding the wall, it is important to work accurately to the end. In order to persevere in rebuilding the wall, it is necessary to recognize the value of this work. It is also important to work in such a way that it yields the greatest profit for the Lord Jesus. He has given each of His own talents, with the task: “Do business until I come back” (Lk 19:1313And he called ten of his slaves, and gave them ten minas and said to them, ‘Do business [with this] until I come [back].’).

The parable of the pounds (Lk 19:11-2711While they were listening to these things, Jesus went on to tell a parable, because He was near Jerusalem, and they supposed that the kingdom of God was going to appear immediately.12So He said, “A nobleman went to a distant country to receive a kingdom for himself, and [then] return.13And he called ten of his slaves, and gave them ten minas and said to them, ‘Do business [with this] until I come [back].’14But his citizens hated him and sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We do not want this man to reign over us.’15When he returned, after receiving the kingdom, he ordered that these slaves, to whom he had given the money, be called to him so that he might know what business they had done.16The first appeared, saying, ‘Master, your mina has made ten minas more.’17And he said to him, ‘Well done, good slave, because you have been faithful in a very little thing, you are to be in authority over ten cities.’18The second came, saying, ‘Your mina, master, has made five minas.’19And he said to him also, ‘And you are to be over five cities.’20Another came, saying, ‘Master, here is your mina, which I kept put away in a handkerchief;21for I was afraid of you, because you are an exacting man; you take up what you did not lay down and reap what you did not sow.’22He *said to him, ‘By your own words I will judge you, you worthless slave. Did you know that I am an exacting man, taking up what I did not lay down and reaping what I did not sow?23Then why did you not put my money in the bank, and having come, I would have collected it with interest?’24Then he said to the bystanders, ‘Take the mina away from him and give it to the one who has the ten minas.’25And they said to him, ‘Master, he has ten minas [already].’26I tell you that to everyone who has, more shall be given, but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away.27But these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slay them in my presence.”) and of the talents (Mt 25:14-3014“For [it is] just like a man [about] to go on a journey, who called his own slaves and entrusted his possessions to them.15To one he gave five talents, to another, two, and to another, one, each according to his own ability; and he went on his journey.16Immediately the one who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and gained five more talents.17In the same manner the one who [had received] the two [talents] gained two more.18But he who received the one [talent] went away, and dug [a hole] in the ground and hid his master’s money.19“Now after a long time the master of those slaves *came and *settled accounts with them.20The one who had received the five talents came up and brought five more talents, saying, ‘Master, you entrusted five talents to me. See, I have gained five more talents.’21His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’22“Also the one who [had received] the two talents came up and said, ‘Master, you entrusted two talents to me. See, I have gained two more talents.’23His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’24“And the one also who had received the one talent came up and said, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow and gathering where you scattered no [seed].25And I was afraid, and went away and hid your talent in the ground. See, you have what is yours.’26“But his master answered and said to him, ‘You wicked, lazy slave, you knew that I reap where I did not sow and gather where I scattered no [seed].27Then you ought to have put my money in the bank, and on my arrival I would have received my [money] back with interest.28Therefore take away the talent from him, and give it to the one who has the ten talents.’29“For to everyone who has, [more] shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away.30Throw out the worthless slave into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.) deal with what the Lord has entrusted to us during His absence on earth. On His return, He will ask us what we have done with it. Has our life brought profit to Him?

The Sheep Gate

After the walk along the wall around the city we’re back at the Sheep Gate, where we started in verse 11Then Eliashib the high priest arose with his brothers the priests and built the Sheep Gate; they consecrated it and hung its doors. They consecrated the wall to the Tower of the Hundred [and] the Tower of Hananel.. The Sheep Gate reminds us of the Lord Jesus as the door of the sheep and he reminds us of Him as the good Shepherd who gave His life for His sheep (Jn 10:1111“I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.). In this way He will be with us forever. Forever and ever we will worship Him for that.


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