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Bible Commentaries

F. B. Hole's Old and New Testament Commentary

Nehemiah 3



Verses 1-32

CHAPTER 3 is occupied with details concerning the actual building of the wall, but in it are placed on record some things that are of interest to us today. We note first of all, that God has seen fit to occupy a whole chapter in recording the names of the leaders of families or town ships, who engaged in it. We might wonder that so much valuable space should be taken up with the names of men, who would otherwise be forgotten. We deduce from it however the fact that the humblest service for the will of God is not forgotten but put on record, especially when carried on in the face of ridicule and opposition.

The whole chapter appears to us as like a miniature forecast of the judgment-seat of Christ. This is specially so, when we read verses Nehemiah 3:5, Nehemiah 3:12, Nehemiah 3:20, Nehemiah 3:23; Nehemiah 3:27. The Tekoites were very diligent, for they repaired 'another piece', as well as the first they undertook; yet it is recorded that 'their nobles put not their necks to the work of their Lord'. All too often worldly elevation proves a hindrance when the work of the Lord is in question. Their 'nobles', no doubt liked to talk and direct, but did not like to soil their hands, nor bend their necks, to do the work.

On the other hand, there was Shallum, who was ruler of the half part of Jerusalem, putting his hand to the work, and not only he but his daughters also. This was indeed remarkable, for building operations do not fall within the sphere of women's work. They were, however, sufficiently in earnest to take part in it, though what they did may have been of a lighter sort and not so conspicuous. These 'daughters' remind us of the two women who 'laboured with Paul 'in the Gospel', according to Philippians 4:2, Philippians 4:3 What counts with God is not the apparent importance or unimportance of the work we do, but the devotion and earnestness that moves us to do it. So the work of these daughters, whatever it was, has a place in the record, and similar devotion and work in the present interests of the Lord, will find mention and reward at the judgment-seat of Christ.

This thought is reinforced by the case of Baruch the son of Zabbai, for it is recorded that he 'earnestly repaired the other piece'. He was evidently marked by unusual zeal, and it is noted and placed on the record: just as it is recorded of some of the workers, including even some of the priests, that they repaired 'against their house', which of course meant that they concerned themselves with the section that was of most interest and convenience to themselves. To do this was not so praise-worthy as to work on some piece of no particular interest to the worker; or perhaps even repulsive, as for instance, the repairing of the 'dung gate', undertaken by a man who was a ruler of part of a township, as is recorded in verse 14.

So the reading of this chapter should remind us that today we are called to serve the Lord's interests, either by building or maintaining the wall of separation, that surrounds God's present 'house', which is the church of God, protecting it from the defilements of 'this present evil world'. It should remind us also of the truth stated by the godly woman, Hannah, in her prayer, placed on record in 1 Samuel 2:1-36, that, 'The Lord is a God of knowledge, and by Him actions are weighed'. When our actions, as we seek to serve the Lord, are weighed, how will they appear-weighty, or of little worth?


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Bibliography Information
Hole, Frank Binford. "Commentary on Nehemiah 3:4". "F. B. Hole's Old and New Testament Commentary". 1947.

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