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Nehemiah 3:1-16

Context
The Names of the Builders

3:1 Then Eliashib the high priest and his priestly colleagues 1  arose and built the Sheep Gate. They dedicated 2  it and erected its doors, working as far as the Tower of the Hundred 3  and 4  the Tower of Hananel. 3:2 The men of Jericho 5  built adjacent to it, and Zaccur son of Imri built adjacent to them. 6 

3:3 The sons of Hassenaah rebuilt the Fish Gate. They laid its beams and positioned its doors, its bolts, and its bars. 3:4 Meremoth son of Uriah, the son of Hakoz, worked on the section adjacent to them. Meshullam son of Berechiah the son of Meshezabel worked on the section next to them. And Zadok son of Baana worked on the section adjacent to them. 3:5 The men of Tekoa worked on the section adjacent to them, but their town leaders 7  would not assist 8  with the work of their master. 9 

3:6 Joiada son of Paseah and Meshullam son of Besodeiah worked on the Jeshanah Gate. 10  They laid its beams and positioned its doors, its bolts, and its bars. 3:7 Adjacent to them worked Melatiah the Gibeonite and Jadon the Meronothite, who were men of Gibeon and Mizpah. These towns were under the jurisdiction 11  of the governor of Trans-Euphrates. 3:8 Uzziel son of Harhaiah, a member of the goldsmiths’ guild, worked on the section adjacent to him. Hananiah, a member of the perfumers’ guild, worked on the section adjacent to him. They plastered 12  the city wall of Jerusalem 13  as far as the Broad Wall. 3:9 Rephaiah son of Hur, head of a half-district of Jerusalem, worked on the section adjacent to them. 3:10 Jedaiah son of Harumaph worked on the section adjacent to them opposite 14  his house, and Hattush son of Hashabneiah worked on the section adjacent to him. 3:11 Malkijah son of Harim and Hasshub son of Pahath-Moab worked on another section and the Tower of the Fire Pots. 3:12 Shallum son of Hallohesh, head of a half-district of Jerusalem, worked on the section adjacent to him, assisted by his daughters. 15 

3:13 Hanun and the residents of Zanoah worked on the Valley Gate. They rebuilt it and positioned its doors, its bolts, and its bars, in addition to working on fifteen hundred feet 16  of the wall as far as the Dung Gate.

3:14 Malkijah son of Recab, head of the district of Beth Hakkerem, worked on the Dung Gate. He rebuilt it and positioned its doors, its bolts, and its bars.

3:15 Shallun son of Col-Hozeh, head of the district of Mizpah, worked on the Fountain Gate. He rebuilt it, put on its roof, and positioned its doors, its bolts, and its bars. In addition, he rebuilt the wall of the Pool of Siloam, 17  by the royal garden, as far as the steps that go down from the City of David. 3:16 Nehemiah son of Azbuk, head of a half-district of Beth Zur, worked after him as far as the tombs of David and the artificial pool and the House of the Warriors.

1 tn Heb “his brothers the priests.”

2 tn Or “consecrated” (so NASB, NRSV); KJV, ASV “sanctified”; NCV “gave it to the Lord’s service.”

3 tc The MT adds קִדְּשׁוּהוּ (qidshuhu, “they sanctified it”). This term is repeated from the first part of the verse, probably as an intentional scribal addition to harmonize this statement with the preceding parallel statement.

4 tc The translation reads וְעַד (vÿad, “and unto”) rather than the MT reading עַד (ad, “unto”). The original vav (ו) was probably dropped accidentally due to haplography with the final vav on the immediately preceding word in the MT.

5 map For the location of Jericho see Map5 B2; Map6 E1; Map7 E1; Map8 E3; Map10 A2; Map11 A1.

6 tn Heb “it.”

7 tn Heb “their nobles.”

8 tn Heb “bring their neck.”

9 tn The plural form אֲדֹנֵיהֶם (’adonehem, “lords”) is probably a plural of majesty referring to Nehemiah (e.g., Isa 19:4; see GKC 399 §124.i). However, some English versions take the plural to refer to the “supervisors” (NIV, NCV, TEV) and others to “their Lord” (KJV, NRSV).

10 tn Or “the Old Gate” (cf. KJV, ASV, NASB, NCV, NRSV, NLT).

11 tn Heb “to the seat.”

12 tc Assuming that the MT reading וַיַּעַזְבוּ (vayyaazvu) is related to the root עָזַב I (“to abandon”) – which makes little sense contextually – some interpreters emend the MT to וַיַּעַזְרוּ (vayyaazru, “they aided”), as suggested by the editors of BHS. However, it is better to relate this term to the root II עָזַב meaning “to restore; to repair” (BDB 738 s.v. II עָזַב) or “to plaster” (HALOT 807 s.v. II עזב qal.1). This homonymic root is rare, appearing elsewhere only in Exod 23:5 and Job 9:27, where it means “to restore; to put in order” (HALOT 807-8 s.v. II עזב qal.2). The related Mishnaic Hebrew noun מעזיבה refers to a “plastered floor.” This Hebrew root is probably related to the cognate Ugaritic, Old South Arabic and Sabean verbs that mean “to restore” and “to prepare; to lay” (see BDB 738 s.v.; HALOT 807 s.v.). Some scholars in the nineteenth century suggested that this term be nuanced “paved.” However, most modern English versions have “restored” (so NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV) or “rebuilt” (so NCV, CEV).

13 tn Heb “[the city wall of] Jerusalem.” The term “Jerusalem” probably functions as a metonymy of association for the city wall of Jerusalem. Accordingly, the phrase “the city wall of” has been supplied in the translation to clarify this figurative expression.

map For location see Map5 B1; Map6 F3; Map7 E2; Map8 F2; Map10 B3; JP1 F4; JP2 F4; JP3 F4; JP4 F4.

14 tc The translation reads נֶגֶד (neged, “before”) with a few medieval Hebrew MSS, some MSS of the LXX, the Syriac Peshitta, and the Vulgate, rather than וְנֶגֶד (vÿneged, “and before”) of the MT.

15 tc The reference to daughters, while not impossible, is odd in light of the cultural improbability that young women would participate in the strenuous labor of rebuilding city walls. All other such references in the Book of Nehemiah presuppose male laborers. Not surprisingly, some scholars suspect a textual problem. One medieval Hebrew MS and the Syriac Peshitta read וּבָנָיו (uvanayv, “and his sons”) rather than the MT reading וּבְנוֹתָיו (uvÿnotayv, “and his daughters”). Some scholars emend the MT to וּבֹנָיו (uvonayv, “and his builders”). On the other hand, the MT is clearly the more difficult reading, and so it is preferred.

16 tn Heb “one thousand cubits.” The standard cubit in the OT is assumed by most authorities to be about eighteen inches (45 cm) long, so this section of the wall would be about fifteen hundred feet (450 m).

17 tn The Hebrew word translated “Siloam” is הַשֶּׁלַח (hashelakh, “water-channel”; cf. ASV, NASB, NRSV, TEV, CEV “Shelah”). It apparently refers to the Pool of Siloam whose water supply came from the Gihon Spring via Hezekiah’s Tunnel built in 701 B.C. (cf. Isa 8:6). See BDB 1019 s.v. שִׁלֹחַ; W. L. Holladay, Concise Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon, 372. On the etymology of the word, which is a disputed matter, see HALOT 1517 s.v. III שֶׁלַח.



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