7:2 I then put in charge over Jerusalem 1 my brother Hanani and Hananiah 2 the chief of the citadel, for he was a faithful man and feared God more than many do. 7:3 I 3 said to them, “The gates of Jerusalem must not be opened in the early morning, 4 until those who are standing guard close the doors and lock them. 5 Position residents of Jerusalem as guards, some at their guard stations and some near their homes.”
2 tn Some have suggested that “Hananiah” is another name for Hanani, Nehemiah’s brother, so that only one individual is mentioned here. However, the third person plural in v. 3 indicates two people are in view.
3 tc The present translation (along with most English versions) reads with the Qere, a Qumran text, and the ancient versions וָאֹמַר (va’omar, “and I said”) rather than the Kethib of the MT, which reads וַיֹּאמֶר (vayyo’mer, “and he said”).
4 tn Heb “until the heat of the sun.” The phrase probably means that the gates were to be opened only after the day had progressed a bit, not at the first sign of morning light (cf. KJV, NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV, TEV, CEV). It is possible, however, that the Hebrew preposition עַד (’ad), here translated as “until,” has a more rare sense of “during.” If so, this would mean that the gates were not to be left open and unattended during the hot part of the day when people typically would be at rest (cf. NLT).
5 tn Presumably this would mean the gates were not to be opened until later in the morning and were to remain open until evening. Some, however, have understood Nehemiah’s instructions to mean that the gates were not to be left open during the hottest part of the day, but must be shut and locked while the guards are still on duty. See J. Barr, “Hebrew עַד, especially at Job i.18 and Neh vii.3,” JJS 27 (1982): 177-88.