Commentary on the Bible, by Adam Clarke, , at sacred-texts.com
Nehemiah makes use of proper precautions in guarding the city gates, Neh 7:1-4. He proposes to reckon the people according to their genealogies; and finds a register of those who came out of Babylon, with Zerubbabel, Neh 7:5-7. A transcript of the register, vv. 8-60. Account of those who came from other provinces; and of priests who, because they could not show their register, were put away from the priesthood as polluted, Neh 7:61-65. The sum total of the congregation: of their men-servants and maid-servants; singing men and women; horses, mules, camels, and asses, Neh 7:66-69. The sums given by different persons for the work, Neh 7:70-72. All betake themselves to their several cities, Neh 7:73.
My brother Hanani - This was the person who gave Nehemiah the account of the desolate state of the Jews, Neh 1:2. He is now made ruler of Jerusalem, probably because Nehemiah was about to return to the Persian court. And he found this man to be one in whom he could trust:
1. Because he was a faithful man - one who had a proper belief in God, his government, and his protection; and being devoted to the interests of his people, would be faithful in the discharge of his office.
2. Because he feared God above many - was the most religious person in the congregation; would govern according to the laws; would take care of the interests of pure religion; would not oppress, take bribes, nor abuse his authority; but act in all things as one who had the fear of God continually before his eyes. These are the proper qualifications of a governor.
Until the sun be hot - The meaning of this is, the gates were not to be opened before sunrise, and always shut at sunset. This is the custom to the present day in many of the cities of the East if a traveler arrives after sunset, he finds the gates shut; and on no consideration will they open them till the next morning, so that those who come late are obliged to lodge in the plain, or under the walls.
Every one - over against his house - Each was obliged to guard that part of the wall that was opposite to his own dwelling.
The houses were not builded - The city was not yet rebuilt, only a row of houses in the inside of the wall all round.
God put into mine heart - With this good man every good thing was of God. If he purposed any good, it was because God put it into his heart; if he did any good, it was because the good hand of his God was upon him; if he expected any good, it was because he earnestly prayed God to remember him for good. Thus, in all his ways he acknowledged God, and God directed all his steps.
Who came with Zerubbabel - The register which he found was that of the persons only who came long before Zerubbabel, Ezra, and Joshua the son of Josedek, which register could not answer in every respect to the state of the people then. Several persons and families were no doubt dead, and others had arrived since. Nehemiah probably altered it only in such parts, leaving the body of it as it was before; and this will account for the difference between it and the register that is found in Ezra, chap. 2.
The children of Parosh - As this chapter is almost entirely the same with the second chapter of the book of Ezra, it is not necessary to add any thing to what is said there; and to that chapter, and the accompanying notes, the reader is requested to refer.
The children of Bigval, two thousand threescore and seven - Some MSS. read two thousand and sixty-six, as in Ezr 2:14.
The men of the other Nebo - The word other is not in the parallel place, Ezr 2:29, and is wanting in many of Kennicott's and De Rossi's MSS. This Nebo is supposed to be the same as Nob or Nobah, in the tribe of Benjamin.
The other Elam - To distinguish him from the Elam mentioned Neh 7:12.
The children of Mehida - Many of Kennicott's and De Rossi's MSS., have Mehira.
Their horses, etc. - The whole of this verse is wanting in fifty of Kennicott's MSS., and in twenty-nine of those of De Rossi, in the edition of Rab. Chayim, 1525, in the Roman Edit. of the Septuagint; also in the Syriac and in the Arabic. It should however be observed, that the Arabic omits the whole list, having nothing of the chapter but the first five verses. The whole is found in the parallel place, Ezr 2:66. Calmet's note on this passage is incorrect.
Their camels, four hundred thirty and five - After this verse St.
Jerome has inserted the following words in the Vulgate: -
Hucusque refertur quid in commentario scriptum fuerit; exin Nehemiae historia texitur.
"Thus far do the words extend which were written in the register; what follows belongs to the history of Nehemiah."
But this addition is not found either in the Hebrew or any of the ancient versions. It is wanting also in the Complutum and Paris Polyglots, but is in the Editio Prima of the Vulgate.
The Tirshatha gave - The Septuagint, particularly the copy in the Codex Alexandrinus, intimates that this sum was given to the Tirshatha, or Nehemiah: Και τῳ Αθερσαθᾳ εδωκαν εις θησαυρον, And to the Athersatha they gave for the treasure, etc.
For the meaning of the word Tirshatha, see on Ezr 2:63 (note).
Two thousand and two hundred pounds - The Septuagint has two thousand Three hundred minae of silver.
All Israel, dwelt in their cities - It was in reference to this particularly that the public registers were examined; for by them they found the different families, and consequently the cities, villages, etc., which belonged to them, according to the ancient division of the lands. It seems that the examination of the registers occupied about a month; for as soon as the walls were finished, which was in the sixth month, (Elul), Neh 6:15, Nehemiah instituted the examination mentioned in this chapter, Neh 7:5; and by the concluding verse we find that the different families had got into their paternal cities in the seventh month, Tisri, answering to a part of our September and October. Thus the register determined every thing: there was no room for complaint, and none to accuse the governor of partiality.