Guarding the city of Jerusalem (Neh 7:1-7:4)

“When the wall had been built, I had set up the doors. I set up the gatekeepers, the singers, and the Levites that had been appointed. I gave my brother Hanani charge over Jerusalem. I made Hananiah the commander of the citadel. Hananiah was a more faithful man as he feared God more than many. I said to them. ‘The gates of Jerusalem are not to be opened until the sun is hot. While the gatekeepers are still standing guard, let them shut and bar the doors. Appoint guards from among the inhabitants of Jerusalem, some at their watch posts and others before their own houses.’ The city was wide and large, but the people within it were few. No houses had been built.”

The last things to be built were the doors by the gates. Once they were set up, the gatekeepers, singers, and Levites took over. The command of Jerusalem went to Nehemiah’s brother Hanani. It seems like Hananiah is also his brother but it is not clear. He certainly was a God-fearing man. Nehemiah gave them orders not to open the gate until the sun was hot, either late morning of midday. Even then he wanted a guard to keep the doors shut and bars on the door. He wanted people from Jerusalem to be the guards. Then he realized that not many people lived in Jerusalem. Very few houses, rather than no houses had been built in Jerusalem. After all, some people had restored the wall opposite their homes. Even here it says that they posted watches by their own houses. All in all, this was a lot of activity for less than 2 months time. Notice there was not any big celebration when it was completed.

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