Nehemiah 7:4

The List of the Exiles Who Returned

4 Now the city was large and spacious, but there were few people in it, and the houses had not yet been rebuilt.

Read Nehemiah 7:4 Using Other Translations

Now the city was large and great: but the people were few therein, and the houses were not builded.
The city was wide and large, but the people within it were few, and no houses had been rebuilt.
At that time the city was large and spacious, but the population was small, and none of the houses had been rebuilt.

What does Nehemiah 7:4 mean?

John Gill's Exposition of the Bible
Nehemiah 7:4

Now the city was large and great
The circumference of it, all within the wall; for that was built on its old foundation, and enclosed as much ground as ever it did: Hecataeus F2, an Heathen writer, says the circumference of Jerusalem was fifty furlongs, which was more than six miles; but Josephus F3 makes the circuit of it but thirty three furlongs or about six miles:

but the people were few therein;
in comparison of the largeness of the place; for though there were 42,360 that came up at first with Zerubbabel, and many more with Ezra, yet a great number chose to settle in the towns and cities in the country, Jerusalem being in such a desolate condition:

and the houses were not builded;
some were, but they were but few, many of them still lay in ruins.


FOOTNOTES:

F2 Apud Euseb. Praepar. par. Evangel. l. 9. c. 4. p. 408. & apud Joseph. contr. Apion, l. 1. c. 22.
F3 De Bell. Jud. l. 5. c. 4. sect. 3.
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