The villages of Judah (Neh 11:25-11:30)

“As for the villages, with their fields, some of the people of Judah lived in Kiriath-arba and its villages, Dibon and its villages, Jekabzeel and its villages, Jeshua, Moladah, Beth-pelet, Hazar-shual, Beer-sheba and its villages, Ziklag, Meconah and its villages, En-rimmon, Zorah, Jarmuth, Zanoah, Adullam and their villages, Lachish and its fields, and Azekah and its villages. So they encamped from Beer-sheba to the valley of Hinnom.”

Nehemiah mentioned 17 towns outside of Jerusalem. Bethlehem is not mentioned.   Some of these towns had villages and fields, while others did not. Some were way south while others were in the western or central parts of Judah. Kiriath-arba may refer to Hebron, about 10 miles south of Jerusalem. Dibon, Jeshua, Moladah were southern towns in Judah, south of Hebron. This is the only mention of Jekabzeel and Meconah. Beth-pelet, Hazar-shual, and Beer-sheba were on the southern border with Edom. Ziklag, a place where David was, En-rimmon, and Lachish were in the southwest bordering with the old Philistine towns. Zorah is on the northwest side of Judah in old Dan territory. Jarmuth, Zanoah, Adullam, and Azekah were in central Judah.

The west Valley Gate (Neh 3:13-3:13)

“Hanun and the inhabitants of Zanoah repaired the Valley Gate. They rebuilt it. They set up its doors, its bolts, and its bars. They also repaired a thousand cubits of the wall, as far as the Dung Gate.”

Now we are on the southwest side of Jerusalem. Here it is only one person Hanun and the people of Zanoah, which is about 30 miles southwest of Jerusalem, a long way to come for this project. They did a lot of work. They repaired a 1,000 cubits of the wall, about 2,000 feet.

Ezrah (1 Chr 4:17-4:18)

“The sons of Ezrah were Jether, Mered, Epher, and Jalon. These are the sons of Bithiah, the daughter of Pharaoh, whom Mered married. She conceived and bore Miriam, Shammai, and Ishbah, the father of Eshtemoa. His Jewish wife bore Jered the father of Gedor, Heber the father of Soco, and Jekuthiel the father of Zanoah.”

This is the only mention of Ezrah and his son Jalon in the biblical literature. There were 6 different people with the name of Jeter, the most famous being the Jether, who was the father of Amasa in 1 Kings, chapter 2. There appears to be 2 other people with the name of Epher, 1 a son of Midian in Genesis, chapter 25, and other in the Manasseh tribe later in this book. Mered is mentioned twice here because he married Bithiah, a daughter of an Egyptian Pharaoh. They had 2 children, Ishbah, who is only mentioned here, and Shammai, which is the same name as a son of Onam and Rekem. Ishbah, however, became the father or founder of Eshtemoa, a Levite city in Judah, since probably his son founded this town. Ezrah married a Jewish woman and they had 3 children. Jered is a name mentioned earlier in this book. Gedor became the name of a place in the hills of Judah. There were 7 people named Heber in the biblical literature. This Heber is the founder of Soco, which is a city in Judah. Although this is the only mention of Jekuthiel, he founded another town in Judah called Zanoah.