"Next unto him" Neh. 3:2
This is the first occurrence in this chapter of this phrase. It, or its equivalent, "next unto them," runs on through the first half of it, occurring no fewer than fifteen times. Then another pair of phrases "after him" and "after them" emerges, and one or the other continues to the end, occurring sixteen times. These phrases mark the UNITY of the work. By this linking up of groups of workers the whole wall was built. The description is in itself orderly, and proceeds round the entire enclosure of the city, including all the gates, and the connecting parts of the wall. Beginning at the sheep-gate, which was near the Temple, and through which the sacrifices passed, we pass the fish-gate in the merchant quarter, on by the old gate in the ancient part of the city, and then successively come to the valley-gate, the dung-gate, the gate of the fountain, the water-gate, the horse-gate, the east-gate, the gate Miphkad, until we arrive again at the sheep gate, when the chapter ends. All this is highly interesting in its revelation of method. THE UNIFYING FACT WAS THE WALL. All were inspired by the one desire and intention to see it completed. In order to realization, the work was systematically divided. Each group was UNITED, as to its own workers, in the effort to do the particular portion allotted to them. All the groups were UNITED to each other in the effort to COMPLETE THE WALL. It is a striking picture of the UNITY OF DIVERSITY, and has its lessons for us. There was no sense of separation. Each worked "'next to," or “after" some other; and so the complete union of workers and work was realized.