Nehemiah went out by night with a few men to secretly survey the situation in Jerusalem, especially concerning the gates and walls of the city. After seeing the walls destroyed and the gates burned, he spoke to the men with men and called them to build the wall as the Lord had instructed. They responded, “Let us rise up and build.” Then they set their hands to this good work. As ballast and Tobiah laughed at Nehemiah and mocked the work, but Nehemiah held his ground and claimed the promise of God that He would prosper them.
The work began in earnest, as the Israelites took different sections of the wall as their own project. Work began on the Sheep Gate, hanging its doors, then the wall as far as the Tower of the Hundred, and on to the Tower of Hananel. This was the work of the house of Elishib the high priest. Then the men of Jericho took over, followed by Zaccur. Then the sons of Hassenaah built the Fish Gate, and Meremoth built next to them. Meshullam followed Meremoth, and Zadok was next to Meshullam. The Tekoites repaired the next breach, even though their nobles did not actually work.
Section by section, men of Israel took over the work of repairing the walls and gates, including the Old Gate, the residence of the governor, the Broad Wall, the Tower of the Ovens, the Valley Gate, the Refuse Gate, the Fountain Gate, the Pool of Shelah, the King’s Garden, the tombs of David, the House of the Mighty. Further, they repaired the Ascent to the Armory, the buttress, the King’s House, the prison, the Water Gate, the wall of Ophel, the Horse Gate, the East Gate, the Miphkad Gate, the upper room, and then connected back to the Sheep Gate.
While the names of the laborers and the details of where they worked may seem insignificant on their surface, they do paint a picture of what Jerusalem needed and what we need today in our city of God. First, the walls represented protection from their enemies. We need to build walls around our hearts, minds, families, and churches. Not walls to keep out the lost or needy, but walls to keep out sin, heresy, and division. This building of walls is for protection, not exclusivity. The Sheep Gate, Fish Gate, Tower of the Ovens, Fountain Gate, and Water Gate all represent the place where food and sustenance came into the city. This is essential for our souls as well. Without the Word and prayer, our souls starve. Make provision for food! The Towers (Hundred, Hananel), the house of the mighty, the Armory, the Horse Gate, the prison, and the Miphkad (recruitment) Gate all point to the defense of the city. We must defend the faith and defend our families from the attack of the enemy. The governor’s residence, the King’s house and garden, and the tombs of David all represent god-ordained leadership. Every home needs Godly leadership to survive and thrive. And finally, although far before the Day of Pentecost, the upper room was prepared. This could signify the need for the power of the Holy Spirit operating in our lives to guide us and empower us to witness. The final piece of this powerful picture is the teamwork with which the project was completed. It did not seem that there was infighting or struggles to determine who would do what. They simply came together and made the work happen with a willing heart. Let us take the example of the people in Jerusalem and Rebuild the Walls!