The Valley Gate was repaired by Hanun and the residents of Zanoah. They rebuilt it and put its doors with their bolts and bars in place. They also repaired a thousand cubits of the wall as far as the Dung Gate. The Dung Gate was repaired by Malkijah son of Rekab, ruler of the district of Beth Hakkerem. He rebuilt it and put its doors with their bolts and bars in place. The Fountain Gate was repaired by Shallun son of Kol-Hozeh, ruler of the district of Mizpah. He rebuilt it, roofing it over and putting its doors and bolts and bars in place. He also repaired the wall of the Pool of Siloam, by the King’s Garden, as far as the steps going down from the City of David. Beyond him, Nehemiah son of Azbuk, ruler of a half-district of Beth Zur, made repairs up to a point opposite the tombs of David, as far as the artificial pool and the House of the Heroes. 17 Next to him, the repairs were made by the Levites under Rehum son of Bani. Beside him, Hashabiah, ruler of half the district of Keilah, carried out repairs for his district. Next to him, the repairs were made by their fellow Levites under Binnui son of Henadad, ruler of the other half-district of Keilah. Next to him, Ezer son of Jeshua, ruler of Mizpah, repaired another section, from a point facing the ascent to the armory as far as the angle of the wall. Next to him, Baruch son of Zabbai zealously repaired another section, from the angle to the entrance of the house of Eliashib the high priest. Next to him, Meremoth son of Uriah, the son of Hakkoz, repaired another section, from the entrance of Eliashib’s house to the end of it. Nehemiah 3:13-21
Team Work Makes Dream Work
Verse 13 captures the repair of Valley Gate. Nehemiah began his inspection of the wall at Valley Gate. It was situated 500 yards north and west of the Dung Gate. Historically that was the later gateway across the city from the Gihon spring. A resident of Zanoah named Hanun repaired. Zanoah was a town in the low country of Judah. It was situated 10 miles west of Jerusalem. Hanun and the residents of Zanoah repaired a large portion of the gate all the way to the Dung gate.
In verse 16, the ruler of a half-district of Beth Zur named Nehemiah made repairs up to a point opposite the tombs of David. This is not the same Nehemiah the cupbearer. This Nehemiah was from Beth Zur which was a Judean hill country (Joshua 15:58). The name Beth Zur means “house of rock,” or “house of the god Zur.” It was situated approximately 4 miles north of Jerusalem.
A ruler in the district of Beth Hakkerem named Malkijah repaired the Dung gate. The name Beth Hakkerem means "house of a vineyard." The gate leads directly to the Western Wall of Jerusalem. The gate was so named because outside of it was the general dump heap of the city. Next, a ruler of the district of Mizpah named Shallun repaired the Fountain Gate. He also repaired the wall of Pool of Siloam. The name Mizpah means “watchtower.” It was located about 7.5 miles north of Jerusalem. The Pool of Siloam was a freshwater reservoir that was a major gathering place for ancient Jews making pilgrimages to Jerusalem. It was at the Pool of Siloam that Jesus healed the blind man (John 9:1-11).
In verse 17, the Levites joined the repair work under the leadership of Rehum. The name Rehum means merciful. He was one of the exiles that returned from captivity in Babylon. Then, individual district leaders made repairs on behalf of their district. These included Hashabiah (regarded by Jehovah). Binnui, which ironically means building along with Ezer which means helper, Zabbai which means “given by Jehovah, Baruch which means “blessed,” and Meremoth which means “bitterness.”
The spirit of cooperation and teamwork that prevailed during the rebuilding project is fascinating. People from surrounding communities came together to lend a helping hand wherever they were needed. These hardworking souls were not professional builders. But because of the leadership of Nehemiah and the commitment of the leaders among them, the repair moved along at a rapid pace.
These committed laborers teach us three important lessons for the way we should conduct ourselves when dealing with an overwhelming task. First, we have to cultivate a spirit of partnership and teamwork. We should always try to find common ground to work with others for a worthy cause notwithstanding our personal preferences. A worthy vision is always more important than personal ambitions.
Second, no task is beneath anyone, regardless of title or personal achievement. When the cause is just, and the vision is noteworthy, we should be willing to pitch in wherever we are needed. The district leaders were personally invested in the repair. They did not hide behind their titles or position. Instead, they each repaired a section of the wall. That sight must have motivated many average onlookers who may not have been too motivated to participate in the repair. We should not underestimate the power of influence. I think many of these district leaders were influenced by the fact that other district leaders were also doing repairs.
Third, we should use our affluence to influence others for the greater good. That influence is action-based. These men did not say much. Their work ethic and their commitment to the work at hand made them very influential. So much so that their name is recorded in the Bible. The lesson they teach us is that when given an opportunity to do something that can enhance the kingdom or bring glory to God, we should not hesitate.
Blessed Lord, may we be always ready to do the work for which you created us no matter how challenging that may be.