Sivut kuvina

Verse 1. “ Shushan.”—This is Susa, mentioned in the note to Ezra vi. 1, as the winter residence of the Persian court. Accordingly we now find the court there in the month Chisleu, which is a winter month, answering to the latter end of November and most of December. We reserve for the note on Dan. viii. 2, such remarks as we have to offer concerning this ancient metropolis, the honour of being identified with which is disputed for two sites, one that of Shus, and the other of Shuster—both situated within the ancient province of Susiana, east of the Tigris.

11. “ The king's cupbearer.”—This is always mentioned by ancient writers as a highly honourable and confidential office, the bearer of which possessed great influence, from the peculiar opportunities which he enjoyed of access to the royal presence. This was pa cularly the case at the court of the Medes and Persians—the latter of which was modelled after the former. (See IIerodotus, Thalia,' 34; and Xenophon, · Cyrop.' i. 3.). The last named author affords incidentally some interesting explanations concerning this office, and the manner in which its functions were discharged. Speaking of the cupbearer of Astyages, the grandfather of Cyrus, he describes him as the most favoured of the king's household officers; and adds, that he was a very handsome man, and that it was part of his duty to introduce to the king those who had business with him, and to send away those who applied for an interview, but whom he (the cupbearer) did not consider it seasonable to introduce. This alone must have made the cupbearer a person of very high consideration at court. The emoluments of the office must have been very considerable to enable Nehemiah to accumulate the wealth without which he could not for so many years have sustained the state and hospitality of government from his own purse, as he did, to avoid burdening the people for that support which his official station authorized him to require.



8 And a letter unto Asaph the keeper of

the king's forest, that he may give me tim1 Artaxerxes understanding the cause of Nehe- ber to make beams for the gates of the pa

miah's sadness sendeth him with letters and commission to Jerusalem. 9 Nehemiah, to the grief lace which appertained to the house, and of the enemies, cometh to Jerusalem. 12 He for the wall of the city, and for the house vieweth secretly the ruins of the walls. 17 He that I shall enter into. And the king granted inciteth the Jews to build in despite of the ene

me, according to the good hand of my God miese

upon me. And it came to pass in the month Nisan, in 9 | Then I came to the governors bethe twentieth year of Artaxerxes the king, yond the river, and gave them the king's that wine was before him: and I took up letters. Now the king had sent captains of the wine, and gave it unto the king. Now the army and horsemen with me. I had not been beforetime sad in his pre

10 When Sanballat the Horonite, and

Tobiah the servant, the Ammonite, heard 2 Wherefore the king said unto mc, Why of it, it grieved them exceedingly that there is thy countenance sad, seeing thou art not was come a man to seek the welfare of the sick ? this is nothing else but sorrow of heart. children of Israel. Then I was very sore afraid,

11 So I came to Jerusalem, and was there 3 And said unto the king, Let the king three days. live for ever: why should not my counte- 12 And I arose in the night, I and nance be sad, when the city, the place of some few men with me; neither told I any my fathers' sepulchres, lieth waste, and the man what my God had put in heart to gates thereof are consumed with fire? do at Jerusalem : neither was there any

4 Then the king said unto me, For what beast with me, save the beast that I rode dost thou make request? So I prayed to upon. the God of heaven.

13 And I went out by night by the gate 5 And I said unto the king, If it please of the valley, even before the dragon well, the king, and if thy servant have found fa- and to the dung port, and viewed the walls vour in thy sight, that thou wouldest send of Jerusalem, which were broken down, me unto Judah, unto the city of my fathers' and the gates thereof were consumed with sepulchres, that I may build it.

fire. 6 And the king said unto me, (the 'queen 14 Then I went on to the gate of the also sitting by him,) For how long shall thy fountain, and to the king's pool: but there journey be? and when wilt thou return? So was no place for the beast that was under it pleased the king to send me; and I set

me to

pass. him a time.

15 Then went I up in the night by the 7 Moreover I said unto the king, If it brook, and viewed the wall, and turned please the king, let letters be given me to back, and entered by the gate of the valley, the governors beyond the river, that they and so returned. may convey me

over till I come into 16 And the rulers knew not whither I Judah;

went, or what I did; neither had I as yet


* Heb. wife,

told it to the Jews, nor to the priests, nor to | So they strengthened their hands for this the nobles, nor to the rulers, nor to the rest good work. that did the work.

19 But when Sanballat the Horonite, and 17 | Then said I unto them, Ye see the Tobiah the servant, the Ammonite, and distress that we are in, how Jerusalem lieth Geshem the Arabian, heard it, they laughed waste, and the gates thereof are burned us to scorn, and despised us, and said, What with fire : come, and let us build up the is this thing that ye do? will ye rebel against wall of Jerusalem, that we be no more a the king ? reproach.

20 Then answered I them, and said unto 18 Then I told them of the hand of my them, The God of heaven, he will prosper God which was good upon me; as also the us; therefore we his servants will arise and king's words that he had spoken unto me. build: but ye have no portion, nor right, nor And they said, Let us rise up and build. memorial, in Jerusalem.

Verse 1. " I took up the wine, and gave it unto the king.—Xenophon, in the passage referred to in the preceding note, informs us of the manner in which the Median (and consequently Persian) cup-bearers discharged their office. He admires the neat and graceful manner in which they poured out the wine and presented it to the king. From his description it seems that the cup was washed in the king's presence, and, being filled, was carried to the king and presented to him on three fingers. His account is explained by the existing customs of the East-according to which, no servant ever grasps a cup or other vessel which he gives to or takes from his master, but rests it upon his left hand, and places his right hand lightly upon it, to prevent it from falling. Thus every article, however small, is carried and presented with both hands. The sculptures at Persepolis comprehend a great number of figures, bearing cups and vases of different forms and uses; but they are never grasped. If the bearer has but one article, he carries it between both hands, as we have described, with peculiar grace of action; and if he has two, he bears one upon the palm of each hand. It also appears from Xenophon, that it was the duty of the cup-bearer to take some of the wine, from the cup presented to the king, into his left hand, and drink it off, to assure the monarch against poison.

6. The queen also sitting by him.”—This was probably Esther, whose parentage and interest in the affairs of her nation were now well known to the king, in consequence of the measures she had induced him to take in order to counteract Haman's bloody scheme for the extirpation of the Jews. Her presence is probably mentioned as a circumstance which helped to encourage Nehemiah in making so important a request; and the impressive manner in which he spoke of the city of his fathers' sepulchres” was calculated to affect her, and lead her to use her influence in promoting his suit. If Esther were still alive, as is probable, either she or the queen mother must have been the queen of the text; for Plutarch, in his life of Artaxerxes, informs us that only the king's mother and his real wife were allowed to sit at table with him; and he therefore mentions it as a condescension in that prince, that he sometimes invited his brothers. The presence of the queen denotes the privacy of the occasion ; for the Persians and other Oriental nations do not, and never did, allow their wives to be with them at their feasts.

8. The wall of the city.”—It is important to observe that this is the first permission granted to build the walls of the city-that is, to make it a fortified place. Hitherto the kings of Persia had only patronized the building of the

Temple, after the precedents set by Cyrus. When this object had been accomplished, the Jews betook themselves to building the city walls ; but the misrepresentations of the enemies of Israel had such weight at the Persian court, that orders were sent for this work to be discontinued. In the note to Ezra iv, we endeavoured to show that this was in the beginning of the reign of the very same king who afterwards made Esther his queen, and granted Ezra and Nehemiah their respective commissions. From the Scripture narrative we do not gather that, to this time, the kings of Persia had ever discountenanced the building of the Temple, or ever sanctioned the rebuilding of the city walls. The reason is clear. “These,” says Howes, " are two very different things in their nature ; for the greatest enemies to Jerusalem being a fortified town again, might nevertheless reverence the worship of the Deity there, as we actually find to have been the case with Artaxerxes, who, when he had refused to permit the walls to be rebuilt, yet sent Ezra with presents “to beautify the house of God.” The same author thinks that the alteration in the intention of the same king with respect to the building of the walls, may be better accounted for by a reference to the then posture of the king's affairs, than to the influence of Esther or the personal favour shown to a confidential servant.

Four years previously the king's forces had sustained a signal defeat by sea and land from Cimon, the Athenian general, which compelled the king to make an inglorious peace, on the conditions that the Greek cities throughout Asia should be free, and enjoy their own laws ; that no Persian governor should come within three days' journey of the Mediterranean; and, that no Persian ships of war should sail between the northern extremity of Asia Minor and the boundary of Palestine (Diod. Sic. lib. xii). Thus excluded from the whole line of sea-coast, and precluded from keeping garrisons in any of the maritime towns, it became not only a matter of prudence, but of necessity, to conciliate the Jews; to attach them to the Persian interest, and detach them from the Grecian, by further privileges; that the Persians might have the benefit of a friendly fortified town like Jerusalem, within three days' journey of the sea, and a most important pass, to keep open the communication between Persia and Egypt. Hales, who adopts this view, thinks it confirmed by the subsequent fidelity of the Jews to the Persians in all the Egyptian wars, and even after the Macedonian irvasion. “Surely,” he adds, “some such powerful motive must have been opposed in the king's mind to the jealousy and displeasure this measure must unavoidably excite in the neighbouring provinces hostile to the Jews, whose remonstrances had so much weight with him formerly. It was necessary, therefore, to entrust the arduous and important commission to an officer high in favour, trust, and confidence, such as Nehemiah, whose services at court Artaxerxes reluctantly dispensed with, as appears from his appointing a set time for Nehemiah's return, and afterwards from his return again to Persia, in the thirty-second year of his reign.”

19. “Sanballat," &c.—These appear to have been neighbouring district governors, under the control of the satrap of Syria. As Horonaim was a considerable town in Moab, “ Sanballat the Horonite” was probably a Moabite: “Tobiah the servant, the Ammonite," would from this expression seem to have been a freed slave raised to the government of a province.



and set up the doors thereof, the locks

thereof, and the bars thereof, and a thouThe names and order of them that buiided the wall.

sand cubits on the wall unto the dung gate. Then Eliashib the high priest rose up with 14 But the dung gate repaired Malchiah his brethren the priests, and they builded the son of Rechab, the ruler of part of Beththe sheep gate; they sanctified it, and set haccerem; he built it, and set


the doors up the doors of it; even unto the tower of thereof, the locks thereof, and the bars Meah they sanctified it, unto the tower of thereof. 'Hananeel.

15 But the gate of the fountain repaired 2 And 'next unto him builded the men Shallun the son of Col-hozeh, the ruler of of Jericho. And next to them builded Zac- part of Mizpah; he built it, and covered it, cur the son of Imri.

and set up the doors thereof, the locks 3 But the fish gate did the sons of Has- thereof, and the bars thereof, and the wall senaah build, who also laid the beams of the pool of 'Siloah by the king's garden, thereof, and set up the doors thereof, the and unto the stairs that go down from the locks thereof, and the bars thereof.

city of David. 4 And next unto them repaired Mere- 16 After him repaired Nehemiah the son moth the son of Urijah, the son of Koz. of Azbuk, the ruler of the half part of BethAnd next unto them repaired Meshullam zur, unto the place over against the sepulthe son of Berechiah, the son of Mesheza- chres of David, and to the pool that was beel. And next unto them repaired Zadok made, and unto the house of the mighty. the son of Baana.

17 And after him repaired the Levites, 5 And next unto them the Tekoites re- Rehum the son of Bani. Next unto him paired; but their nobles put not their necks repaired Hashabiah, the ruler of the half to the work of their Lord.

part of Keilah, in his part. 6 Moreover the old gate repaired Je- 18 After him repaired their brethren, hoiada the son of Paseah, and Meshullam Bavai the son of Henadad, the ruler of the the son of Besodeiah; they laid the beams half part of Keilah. thereof, and set up the doors thereof, and 19 And next to him repaired Ezer the the locks thereof, and the bars thereof. son of Jeshua, the ruler of Mizpah, another

7 And next unto them repaired Melatiah piece over against the going up to the the Gibeonite, and Jadon the Meronothite, armoury at the turning of the wall. the men of Gibeon, and of Mizpah, unto the 20 After him Baruch the son of Zabbai throne of the governor on this side the earnestly repaired the other piece, from the river.

turning of the wall unto the door of the 8 Next unto him repaired Uzziel the son house of Eliashib the high priest. of Harhaiah, of the goldsmiths. Next unto 21 After him repaired Meremoth the son him also repaired Hananiah the son of one of Urijah the son of Koz another piece, from of the apothecaries, and they fortified Jeru- the door of the house of Eliashib even to salem unto the broad wall.

the end of the house of Eliashib. 9 And next unto them repaired Rephaiah 22 And after him repaired the priests, the the son of Hur, the ruler of the half part of men of the plain. Jerusalem.

23 After him repaired Benjamin and Ha10 And next unto them repaired Jedaiah shub over against their house. After him the son of Harumaph, even over against his repaired Azariah the son of Maaseiah the house. And next unto him repaired Hat- son of Ananiah by his house. tush the son of Hashabniah.

24 After him repaired Binnui the son of 11 Malchijah the son of Harim, and Ha- Henadad another piece, from the house of shub the son of Pahath-moab, repaired the Azariah unto the turning of the wall, even “other piece, and the tower of the furnaces. unto the corner.

12 And next unto him repaired Shallum 25 Palal the son of Uzai, over against the son of Halohesh, the ruler of the half the turning of the wall, and the tower which part of Jerusalem, he and his daughters. lieth out from the king's high house, that

13 The valley gate repaired Hanun, and was by the court of the prison. After him the inhabitants of Zanoah; they built it, Pedaiah the son of Parosh. ? Or, left Jerusalem unto the broad wall, 4 Heb, second measure.

62 Kings 20. 20.

Jer, 31, 38.

2 Heb. at his hand.

3 John 9,76

7 Or, 2acca.

8 Jer, 32, 2,

26 Moreover the Nethinims dwelt in 30 After him repaired Hananiah the son " :Ophel, unto the place over against the of Shelemiah, and Hanun the sixth son of water gate toward the east, and the tower Zalaph, another piece. After him repaired that lieth out.

Meshullam the son of Berechiah over against 27 After them the Tekoites repaired an- his chamber. other piece, over against the great tower 31 After him repaired Malchiah the goldthat lieth out, even unto the wall of Ophel. smith's son unto the place of the Nethinims,

28 From above the horse gate repaired and of the merchants, over against the gate the priests, every one over against his house. Miphkad, and to the "going up of the

29 After them repaired Zadok the son of Immer over against his house. After him 32 And between the going up of the correpaired also Shemaiah the son of Shecha- ner unto the sheep gate repaired the goldniah, the keeper of the east gate.

smiths and the merchants.


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Chap. III.- This chapter is full of particulars concerning the wall and its gates and towers. The examination of every separate detail would not much interest the general reader, and would also occupy much room. We shall therefore merely state a few explanatory particulars where they seem most required, reserving some notice of the more innportant details for those passages, in the present or future books, where they recur in such historical connection as will render more interesting the statements we may then offer. With respect to walls and towers generally, we may refer the reader to the observations in the note to 2 Chron. xxxii. As a further appendage to the remarks there made, and as a very suitable illustration to the present chapter, we here introduce the very ancient figures of the walls and towers of fortified towns, as represented on silver coins found at Babylon, and which have already been mentioned in the note to which we have referred. Speaking of the representation on the larger coin, Sir R. K. Porter observes, “ It may be considered a very ancient portrait of an ancient city, and perhaps of Babylon itself.”

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Verse 1. “ The sheep gate.”—We copy from Horne (“Introduction,' vol. iii. p. 20.) the following brief enumeration and arrangement of the gates mentioned in Nehemiah. It will serve as a general analysis, without precluding the introduction, hereafter, of other particulars concerning such of the gates as are of historical interest.

* In the account of the rebuilding of the wall under the direction of Nehemiah, ten gates are distinctly enumerated, namely, three on the south, four on the east, and three on the western side of the wall. The three gates on the souTH SIDE were, 1. The Sheep Gate (v. 1), which was probably so called from the victims intended for sacrifice, being conducted through it to the Temple. Near this gate stood the towers of Meah and Hananeel. The pool of Bethesda was at no great distance from this gate, which was also called the Gate of Benjamin.--2. The Fish Gate (v. 3. ; xii. 39) which was also called the First Gate.—3. The Old Gate, also called the Corner Gate (v. 6 ; xii. 39 ; 2 Kings xiv. 13; Jer. xxxi. 38).

"The gates on the EASTERN SIDE were, 1. The Water Gale (v. 26), near which the waters of Etam passed, after having been used in the Temple service, in their way to the brook Kedron, into which they discharged themselves.2. The Horse Gaie (v. 11; Jer. xxxi. 40), supposed to be so called because horses went through it in their way to be watered.—3. The Prison Gate (xii. 39), probably so called from its vicinity to the prison.— 4. The gate Miphkad (v. 31).

" The gates on the western side were, 1. The Valley Gate (v. 13), also termed the Gate of Ephraim, above which stood the Tower of Furnaces (v. 11 ; xii. 33); and near it was the Dragon Well (ii. 13), which may have derived its name from the representation of a dragon, out of whose mouth the stream issued that Aowed from the well.—2. The Dung Gate (v. 13), which is supposed to have derived its name from the filth of the beasts that were sacrificed, being carried from the Temple through this gate.—3. The Gate of the Fountain (v. 15) had its name either from its proximity to the fountain of Gihon, or to the spot where the pool of Siloam took its rise. We have no account of any gates being erected on the NORTHERN side.”—We need scarcely add that the situation of some of the gates, as mentioned in the above extract, and most of the explanations of the names, are very uncertain.

6. The locks ... and the bars.”—The publication of Mr. Lane’s ‘Account of the Modern Egyptians,' affords us an opportunity of introducing a representation of the very simple and primitive kind of wooden lock, which maintains its ground in Egypt and other parts of the East. We give Mr. Lane's description :-“Every door is furnished with a wooden lock, called a dubbeh: the mechanism of which is shown by the sketch here inserted. No. 1 in this sketch is a front view of the lock, with the bolt drawn back ; Nos. 2, 3, and 4, are back views of the separate parts and the key. A number of small iron pins (four, five, or more) drop into corresponding holes in the sliding bolt, as soon as the latter is pushed into the hole or staple of the door-post. The key, also, has small pins, made to correspond with the holes, into which they are introduced to open the lock: the former pins being thus pushed up, the bolt may be drawn back. The wooden lock of a street door is commonly about fourteen inches long (this is the measure of the sliding-bolt): those of the doors of apartments, cupboards, &c. are about seven, or eight, or nine inches. The locks of the gates of quarters (of towns), public buildings, &c. are of the same kind, and mostly two feet, or even more, in length. It is not difficult to pick this kind of lock." Locks of this sort are common throughout Western Asia: and where greater security than they afford is desired, strong wooden bars are used in addition. The two together probably answer tu the * locks and bars" of the text.

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that the walls of Jerusalem 'were made up, 1 While the enemies scof, Nehemiah prayeth and and that the breaches began to be stopped,

continueth the work. Ï Understanding the urath then they were very wroth, and secrets of the enemy, he setteth a watch. 13 8 And conspired all of them together to He armeth the labourers, 19 and giveth military come and to fight against Jerusalem, and to frecepts.

hinder it. But it came to pass, that when Sanballat 9 Nevertheless we made our prayer unto heard that we builded the wall, he was wroth, our God, and set a watch against them day and took grcat indignation, and mocked the and night, because of them. Jews.

10 And Judah said, The strength of the 2 And he spake before his brethren and bearers of burdens is decayed, and there is the army of Samaria, and said, What do much rubbish; so that we are not able to these feeble Jews ? will they 'fortify them- build the wall. selves? will they sacrifice? will they make 11 And our adversaries said, They shall an end in a day? will they revive the stones not know, neither sce, till we come in the out of the heaps of the rubbish which are midst among them, and slay them, and cause bu ned?

the work to cease. 3 Now Tobiah the Ammonite was by 12 And it came to pass, that when the him, and he said, Even that which they Jews which dwelt by them came, they said build, if a fox go up, he shall even break unto us ten times, 'From all places whence down their stone wall.

ye shall return unto us they will be upon you. 4 Hear, O our God; for we are 'despised : 13 9 Therefore set I 'in the lower places and turn their reproach upon their own behind the wall, and on the higher places, I head, and give them for a prey in the land even set the people after their families with of captivity :

their swords, their spears, and their bows.

. 5 And cover not their iniquity, and let 14 And I looked, and rose up, and said not their sin be blotted out from before thee: unto the nobles, and to the rulers, and to for they have provoked thee to anger before the rest of the people, Be not ye afraid of the builders.

them : remember the LORD, which is great 6 So built we the wall; and all the wall and terrible, and fight for your brethren, was joined together unto the half thereof: your sons, and your daughters, your wives, for the people had a mind to work.

and your houses. 7 9 But it came to pass, that when San- 15 And it came to pass, when our ene. ballat, and Tobiah, and the Arabians, and mies heard that it was known unto us, and the Ammonites, and the Ashdodites, heard | God had brought their counsel to nought, % Heb, despite.

* Heb. to make an error to il.

• Heb. from the lower parts of the place, &c

3 Hleb, ascended.

1 Heb. leare to themselrcs.

5 Or, That frum all places yo must rclurn lv us.

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