2563.) Nehemiah 3

Nehemiah 3   (NRSV)

Organization of the Work

Then the high priest Eliashib set to work with his fellow priests and rebuilt the Sheep Gate.

The first gate mentioned is the Sheep Gate, where the sheep and lambs used in the sacrifices were bought into the city. Jesus is “the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world.” The Sheep Gate, then, speaks to us of the cross and the sacrifice that was made for our sins. It is the starting point of everything, but the Sheep Gate is also mentioned at the very end —  we have come full circle. Everything starts and ends with Jesus’ death on the cross. (All the gate descriptions in this chapter are adapted from the “Jesus Plus Nothing” Christ Centered Bible Study.)

They consecrated it and set up its doors; they consecrated it as far as the Tower of the Hundred and as far as the Tower of Hananel. 2And the men of Jericho built next to him. And next to them Zaccur son of Imri built.

3The sons of Hassenaah built the Fish Gate;

The Fish Gate is so named because the fisherman of Galilee would bring their catch in to be sold through this gate. It speaks of evangelism as it reminds us that we have been called to be ‘fishers of men.’ It is a natural progression in our Christian life — after seeing that Jesus died for our sins, we would want to tell others about it. 

they laid its beams and set up its doors, its bolts, and its bars. 4Next to them Meremoth son of Uriah son of Hakkoz made repairs. Next to them Meshullam son of Berechiah son of Meshezabel made repairs. Next to them Zadok son of Baana made repairs. 5Next to them the Tekoites made repairs; but their nobles would not put their shoulders to the work of their Lord.

6Joiada son of Paseah and Meshullam son of Besodeiah repaired the Old Gate;

The Old Gate speaks to us of the old ways of truth that never change. Jeremiah 6:16 states ‘Thus says the Lord, Stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is and walk in it; And you will find rest for your souls.’

they laid its beams and set up its doors, its bolts, and its bars. 7Next to them repairs were made by Melatiah the Gibeonite and Jadon the Meronothite—the men of Gibeon and of Mizpah—who were under the jurisdiction of the governor of the province Beyond the River. 8Next to them Uzziel son of Harhaiah, one of the goldsmiths, made repairs. Next to him Hananiah, one of the perfumers, made repairs; and they restored Jerusalem as far as the Broad Wall. 9Next to them Rephaiah son of Hur, ruler of half the district of Jerusalem, made repairs. 10Next to them Jedaiah son of Harumaph made repairs opposite his house; and next to him Hattush son of Hashabneiah made repairs. 11Malchijah son of Harim and Hasshub son of Pahath-moab repaired another section and the Tower of the Ovens. 12Next to him Shallum son of Hallohesh, ruler of half the district of Jerusalem, made repairs, he and his daughters.

Dr. Viggo Olsen, who helped rebuild ten thousand houses in war-raved Bangladesh in 1972, derived unexpected inspiration from reading a chapter ordinarily considered one of the least interesting in the Bible: ‘I was struck . . . that no expert builders were listed in the “Holy Land brigade.” There were priests, priests’ helpers, goldsmiths, perfume makers, and women, but no expert builders or carpenters were named.’”

13Hanun and the inhabitants of Zanoah repaired the Valley Gate;

Sooner or later the Valley Gate must come. The Valley Gate speaks to us of humbling and trials – valley-type experiences used by the Lord for our personal growth. Nothing really grows on the mountain tops, but it certainly does down in the valleys. So it is in the spiritual.

they rebuilt it and set up its doors, its bolts, and its bars, and repaired a thousand cubits of the wall, as far as the Dung Gate.

The Dung Gate is the gate used to take all the refuse and rubbish out of Jerusalem, down to the valley of Hinnom to be burned. This is what happens in our own life. Valley experiences are used by the Lord to clear away the rubbish so that true faith, refined by the fire, can come forth and produce fruit.

14Malchijah son of Rechab, ruler of the district of Beth-haccherem, repaired the Dung Gate; he rebuilt it and set up its doors, its bolts, and its bars.

15And Shallum son of Col-hozeh, ruler of the district of Mizpah, repaired the Fountain Gate;

The Fountain Gate is located extremely close to the Dung Gate. In other words, after a valley type experience where rubbish in our lives is cleared out and true faith comes forth, then the fountains begin to flow — and it doesn’t take long! The fountain speaks to us of the living waters of the Holy Spirit that cleanse our lives and empower us for our Christian life.

he rebuilt it and covered it and set up its doors, its bolts, and its bars; and he built the wall of the Pool of Shelah of the king’s garden, as far as the stairs that go down from the City of David.

Charles Spurgeon preached a beautiful sermon on this text, where he spoke of six different gardens of the King: Eden, Gethsemane, the Garden Tomb, the human heart, the church as a whole, and the garden of Paradise in heaven.

16After him Nehemiah son of Azbuk, ruler of half the district of Beth-zur, repaired from a point opposite the graves of David, as far as the artificial pool and the house of the warriors.

17After him the Levites made repairs: Rehum son of Bani; next to him Hashabiah, ruler of half the district of Keilah, made repairs for his district. 18After him their kin made repairs: Binnui, son of Henadad, ruler of half the district of Keilah; 19next to him Ezer son of Jeshua, ruler of Mizpah, repaired another section opposite the ascent to the armory at the Angle. 20After him Baruch son of Zabbai repaired another section from the Angle to the door of the house of the high priest Eliashib. 21After him Meremoth son of Uriah son of Hakkoz repaired another section from the door of the house of Eliashib to the end of the house of Eliashib.

22After him the priests, the men of the surrounding area, made repairs. 23After them Benjamin and Hasshub made repairs opposite their house. After them Azariah son of Maaseiah son of Ananiah made repairs beside his own house. 24After him Binnui son of Henadad repaired another section, from the house of Azariah to the Angle and to the corner. 25Palal son of Uzai repaired opposite the Angle and the tower projecting from the upper house of the king at the court of the guard. After him Pedaiah son of Parosh 26and the temple servants living on Ophel made repairs up to a point opposite the Water Gate on the east and the projecting tower.

The Water Gate is a picture of the Word of God and its effect in our life. Ephesians 5:26 states ‘… having washed her by the water of the word.’ It is no coincidence that this gate was located next to the fountain gate as the two often go together. The Holy Spirit is the one who makes the word of God alive to us personally, allowing cleansing, encouragement, and direction to take place in our life.

27After him the Tekoites repaired another section opposite the great projecting tower as far as the wall of Ophel.

28Above the Horse Gate

The Horse Gate speaks of warfare as horses were used in battle. Revelation 19:11 — ‘I saw Heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness does He judge and make war.’ Spiritual warfare, as we will see in the book of Nehemiah, is the reality of every Christian. We are all in a battle as soldiers for Christ to bring salvation to the world.

the priests made repairs, each one opposite his own house. 29After them Zadok son of Immer made repairs opposite his own house. After him Shemaiah son of Shecaniah, the keeper of the East Gate, made repairs.

The East Gate (above — the blocked Eastern Gate in Jerusalem, also known as the Golden Gate) is known by Jews for one particular event – the coming of the Messiah! Ezekiel 44:1-3 ‘… the gate that looked toward the east, and it was shut. The Lord said to me, ‘This gate shall be shut; it shall not be opened, and no one shall enter by it, for the Lord God of Israel has entered by it.’ The East Gate opens and looks toward the Mount of Olives, where Jesus will return (Zechariah 14:4). He will then enter Jerusalem by the East Gate. So the East Gate also speaks of the return of Jesus Christ. Scripture encourages us to live with this hope and to long for His return. A specific crown is even given to those who do this (2 Timothy 4:8).

30After him Hananiah son of Shelemiah and Hanun sixth son of Zalaph repaired another section. After him Meshullam son of Berechiah made repairs opposite his living quarters. 31After him Malchijah, one of the goldsmiths, made repairs as far as the house of the temple servants and of the merchants, opposite the Muster (Inspection) Gate,

The final gate is the Inspection Gate. This gate speaks to us of the judgment seat of Christ where our lives are inspected and rewarded appropriately. In our Christian experience we should be living with this in mind. We are called to live our lives with eternity in view, caring more for the things of eternity than the temporal that we see around us. Prophetically this gate also speaks of the judgement of the nations that takes place when Jesus returns. This is recorded in the sheep and the goats judgement in Mathew 25:31-46.

and to the upper room of the corner. 32And between the upper room of the corner and the Sheep Gate the goldsmiths and the merchants made repairs.



When I think of the gates of Jerusalem, I think of our Savior, who was crucified outside the gates.

Hebrews 13:11-13 (NIV)

The high priest carries the blood of animals into the Most Holy Place as a sin offering, but the bodies are burned outside the camp.  And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through his own blood.  Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore.

HERE  is “Revelation Song”  with Kari Jobe. Let us worship.


The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
map of Nehemiah’s Jerusalem.      http://www.jesusplusnothing.com/studies/images/nehem3.gif
lamb of God.   http://lambofgod.altervista.org/lamb-of-god/
fish market.   http://vestiprim.ru/news/ptrnews/2275-rybnyy-klaster-v-primore-stanet-esche-odnoy-tochkoy-razvitiya-regiona.html
old iron gate.  http://www.homeworkshop.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/Rusted-Iron-Gate-with-Chartreuse-Elderberries.jpg
Lower Engadine Valley, Switzerland.   http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4026/4642406596_e616b9478e.jpg
present-day Dung Gate in Jerusalem.  https://yishaifleisher.com/the-dingy-dung-gate/
fountain.   http://cerejasnoquintal.blogspot.com/2012/10/fontes-no-jardim.html
The kiss of the sun . . .  http://cf.mp-cdn.net/e2/1d/243b73b775e7de947d34cf628248.jpg
Niagara Falls, Canada.  https://www.leuromag.fr/A-la-decouverte-des-chutes-Niagara-au-Canada_a2941.html
Christ on a white horse.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/revelation1911.jpg
Golden Gate.    http://www.planetware.com/i/photo/golden-gate-jerusalem-jer108.jpg
Jesus as Judge (Matthew 25).   http://historeo.com/Resources/judgment.jpg

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