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©Michael Player

Chapter 3 (ESV)

Posted on October 28, 2023  - By Chris LaBelle  

Chapter 3 (ESV) - Then Eliashib the high priest rose up with his brothers the priests, and they built the Sheep Gate. They consecrated it and set its doors. They consecrated it as far as the Tower of the Hundred, as far as the Tower of Hananel. And next to him the men of Jericho built. And next to them Zaccur the son of Imri built…

Above the Horse Gate the priests repaired, each one opposite his own house. After them Zadok the son of Immer repaired opposite his own house. After him Shemaiah the son of Shecaniah, the keeper of the East Gate, repaired. After him Hananiah the son of Shelemiah and Hanun the sixth son of Zalaph repaired another section. After him Meshullam the son of Berechiah repaired opposite his chamber. After him Malchijah, one of the goldsmiths, repaired as far as the house of the temple servants and of the merchants, opposite the Muster Gate, and to the upper chamber of the corner. And between the upper chamber of the corner and the Sheep Gate the goldsmiths and the merchants repaired.

Question to consider: Why do you think Nehemiah included this chapter which lists out all of the people who rebuilt Jerusalem?

I have not included the entire chapter since much of it is repetitive, but you may notice from the verses mentioned above that almost everyone worked on a section of the wall that was directly opposite their home. Outside of proximity to their work environment, I would imagine that Nehemiah had people work on the part of the wall that directly protected them so that he could be assured that they would do their best work.

Jerusalem was a city originally mentioned in Genesis 14 as having a king called Melchizedek (Genesis 14:18) who accepted a tithe from Abraham after a war with the king of Elam who had kidnapped his nephew, Lot. The hebrew word, melchi, means king, and zedek means righteousness. Years later, Joshua would have an encounter with another king of Jerusalem called Adoni-zedek (adoni means Lord) and amidst the battle with the Amorites would experience a miracle where the sun stood still (Joshua 10). When David ultimately conquered Jerusalem for Israel, he built an altar to the Lord on a threshing floor he purchased which would become the temple mount under his son, Solomon. Solomon reigned during a time of peace which is commensurate with the name Jerusalem which means "foundation of peace". However, the temple under Solomon was built with forced labor from among the Israelites. While it was magnificent, there is something even more magnificent about having the temple and wall be rebuilt by volunteers in Israel who wished to do the Lord’s work using materials that the Lord secured from Artaxerxes all while being blessed in their work by the Lord.

It’s worth noting that the only part that was consecrated in this process was the Sheep gate which was built by Eliashib the high priest. The Sheep gate of course is where the lambs would enter to be prepared for sacrifice. It was also the gate through which Jesus would enter Jerusalem except for in His Triumphal Entry from the Mount of Olives where He entered from the Golden Gate (also known as the Gate of Mercy).

Now, the heavenly Jerusalem is being ruled by King Jesus who is also our great high priest in the order Melchizedek and the cornerstone of the temple. (For more on this, I encourage you to read my book, A Better Covenant). Instead of the temple being built by volunteers, the living stones of this temple are made up of the people who belong to Jesus, the true seed of Israel as mentioned by Peter in his first epistle, "As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ." (1 Peter 2:4-5).


Dear heavenly Father, thank You for providing the means and blessing the building of the city walls and temple which would be where Your Son would enter in triumph and be lifted up in glory on the cross. May we as Your living stones seek to fill the earth with the joy and peace that only comes through Christ Jesus. Amen.