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Builders Of The Wall (ch. 3:1 - 32)                                                                  


This chapter tells us who did the work and what part of the wall they worked on.  Nehemiah is like Ezra in this respect.  He provides all the names of those who worked. 


We need to realize that the temple, under Ezra has now been built.  If you read the book of Ezra, you'll note that there was a major national revival among the Jews.  This revival made it somewhat easy for Nehemiah.  This is one reason why the Jews responded so quickly to Nehemiah's vision of rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem.  Without that national revival, these walls might not have been built.


Chapter 3 is actually a tour around the city of Jerusalem, starting at the Sheep Gate and ending at the Sheep Gate.   


Verse 1 tells us that the priests put their hands to work.  This is a good example for the rest of the people.  It seems that so often our spiritual leaders don't do any physical work, but not so in this case.  The priests worked on the sheep gate.  This is the gate where the sheep would come into the city for sacrifices so it is fitting that they worked on this gate and that part of the wall around it.


Ironically speaking, the Sheep Gate appears to be the most used gate that Jesus entered through when He came to Jerusalem.  This is interesting, because Jesus was the Lamb of God.  He was one of the sacrifices that passed through this gate over the centuries. 


In verse 3 we see the Fish Gate.  This is where  people brought fish into the city. The fish came from the Jordon River , and also from the Mediterranean Sea . 


In verses 4 and 5 we see more names of those who worked on the wall between the Sheep and Fish Gate.  It is interesting to note that many nobles didn't desire to work on the wall, but the ordinary people did.  The call went out for all, but not all participated.  The same is in the church today.  Some are willing to work, some aren't


In verses 6 through 12 we see more names mentioned.  On this portion of the wall, some nobles, or royals worked.  So not all nobles refused to work.   


In verse 6 we see the Jeshanah Gate.  This is also called the Old Gate because it's the oldest of the gates in the wall. 


In verse 12 we even see women working on the wall, something that was not normally the case in those days.  Women did not do this kind of work, but this is the Lord's work, and women do His work as well.


In verse 13 we see the Valley Gate.  Most of these gates led to a valley, but many scholars believed this gate led to the Kydron Valley.  When Jesus prayed in the garden on the Mount of Olives, He looked over the Kydron Valley and could see Jerusalem in the distance.


Verse 14 speaks of the Dung Gate.  This is the gate by which all the garbage left the city.


In verses 15 through 25 we see the Gate of the Fountain.   There were pools just inside these gates.  The pool of Siloam that we see in the gospels was here. 


In verse 26 we see the Water Gate. Water was brought into the city through this gate.  There was an aqueduct  that flowed into Jerusalem, but it did not provide enough water for the city, so water had to be carried into Jerusalem through this gate.


In verse 28 we see the Horse Gate.  Horses and riders would ride out of the city in battle when needed.  This was a gate to leave the city, not to enter the city.


In verse 29 we see the East Gate.  Clearly this gate faces the east.  This would be the first gate that would opened in the morning.  Watchmen on the wall would open and close all of these gates.  This is the gate the Jews say their Messiah will enter through at the end of this age.


In verse 31 we see the Inspection Gate.  All non-citizens of Jerusalem had to come through this gate and register, much like customs and immigrations offices when you enter another country today. The armies that left the city through the Horse Gate would return into the city through the Inspection Gate.


Now in verse 32 we come back to the Sheep Gate.  We've just had a tour around the city of Jerusalem.  You will note that most, if not all these gates were used for specific things.  They were more than just a way to get in and out of the city;.  

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