New Defender's Study Bible Notes
3:1 Then Eliashib the high priest. This remarkable list of the workmen on the wall explains how the entire wall around the whole city could be completed in less than two months (Nehemiah 6:15), despite the ongoing danger from external enemies. Men of all walks of life, from the high priest Eliashib to the Nethinims (Nehemiah 3:26) each worked on a certain assigned portion. There were apothecaries and goldsmiths (Nehemiah 3:8), mayors (i.e., “rulers”) of various areas (Nehemiah 3:9,12,14-16), and Levites (Nehemiah 3:17), priests and merchants (Nehemiah 3:28,32) and many others. At least one man even had his daughters working (Nehemiah 3:12).
3:5 but their nobles. The one negative note in the listing is the reference to the nobles of Tekoa, a community at the southern boundary of Judah (actually the region where the prophet Amos had lived—Amos 1:1), possibly endangered by pressure from the Arabians led by Geshem (Nehemiah 2:19). It is probable that this pressure, rather than pride or sloth, kept these nobles from participating.
3:16 Nehemiah. This Nehemiah is different from the Nehemiah who was governor and author of the book. The name “Nehemiah” means “God is the Comforter” and was probably a common name among God-fearing Israelites (see also Ezra 2:2).
3:32 sheep gate. Nehemiah’s enumeration proceeds from the sheep gate on the northeast wall, proceeding counter-clockwise around the city, back finally again to the sheep gate, mentioning a total of nine gates in the process.