“After 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. After him the Levites made repairs. There was Rehum son of Bani. Next to him was Hashabiah, ruler of half the district of Keilah, who made repairs for his district. After him their kin made repairs. There was Binnui son of Henadad, ruler of half the district of Keilah. Next to him was Ezer son of Jeshua, ruler of Mizpah, who repaired another section opposite the ascent to the armory at the Angle.”
The old wall was inside the northern new wall. This is a different Nehemiah. This one was the half ruler of Beth-zur, which was on the main road south about 20 miles from Jerusalem. The work continued along the east wall outside the graveyard of the kings of Judah, the artificial pool and the army barracks. Then the various Levites worked on this wall. Rehum was a descendent of those who had come back with the early group, 80 years earlier. Both the leaders of Keilah, Hashabiah and Binnui, with their relatives, also helped with the repairs. Keilah was about 20 miles southwest of Jerusalem. Then we have another ruler of Mizpah, Ezer, who was helping with the repairs. Remember that the other ruler of Mizpah, Shallum was at the Fountain Gate. Both these towns of Keilah and Mizpah were well represented in the repair work.
“King Rehoboam resided in Jerusalem. He built cities for defense in Judah. He built up Bethlehem, Etam, Tekoa, Beth-zur, Soco, Adullam, Gath, Mareshah, Ziph, Adoraim, Lachish, Azekah, Zorah, Aijalon, and Hebron. There were fortified cities in Judah and in Benjamin. He made the fortresses strong. He put commanders in them. They had stores of food, oil, and wine. He also put large shields and spears in all the cities. He made them very strong. So he held Judah and Benjamin.”
There is no other source for this material here. Certainly some of these 15 cities already existed. This was a defensive gesture. He seems to have fortified them with shields, spears, food, commanders, and troops. These cities became strong fortresses against any enemy. Bethlehem was the birthplace of David, just 6 miles south of Jerusalem. Etam was about 2 miles southwest of Bethlehem. Tekoa was about 6 miles south of Bethlehem. Beth-zur was on the main road between Jerusalem and Hebron, about 4 miles north of Hebron, which was about 20 miles south of Jerusalem. Adullam was about 16 miles southwest of Jerusalem and about 10 miles west of Bethlehem. Gath was 1 of the 5 major cities of the Philistines that has been lost, but was on the west side of Judah. Mareshah was also in western Judah, while Ziph was in southern Judah. Adoraim only appears here but probably is a lost southwest town near the sea. Lachish was about 15 miles west of Hebron, probably close to Azekah. Zorah and Aijalon were western cities that were originally in the territory of Dan. About a half of these cities were within 20 miles of Jerusalem. Most of the fortified cities were in the south and west since the Dead Sea was on the east and Benjamin and northern Israel was to the north.