EZRA CHAPTER 2.
Catalog of the Returning Jews and Their Possessions.
THE HOUSEHOLD OF THE PEOPLE. ó V. 1. Now, these are the children of the province, for that is what Judah had now become, a mere province of the Persian empire, that went up out of the captivity, of those which had been carried away, as distinguished from those who preferred to remain in Babylon or Persia, whom Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, had carried away unto Babylon, and came again unto Jerusalem and Judah, every one unto his city, the city which was rebuilt and allotted to every one now; v.2. which came with Zerubbabel, who had been appointed governor of the returned exiles in Judah: Jeshua, Nehemiah, Seraiah, Reelaiah, Mordecai, Bilshan, Mizpar, Bigvai, Rebum, Baanah. All told, cp. Neh. 7, there were twelve priestly heads, who represented, in a way, the twelve tribes of Israel. The number of the men of the people of Israel: v.3. the children of Parosh, two thousand an hundred and seventy and two. V. 4. The children of Shephatiah, three hundred seventy and two. V. 5. The children of Arah, seven hundred seventy and five. That many were enrolled in the lists of the descendants of Arah, but more than a hundred fewer actually settled in Judah and were there mustered, Neh. 7. V. 6. The children of Pahath-moab, of the children of Jeshua and Joab, two thousand eight hundred and twelve. V. 7. The children of Elam, a thousand two hundred fifty and four. V. 8. The children of Zattu, nine hundred forty and five. V. 9. The children of Zaccai, seven hundred and threescore. V. 10. The children of Bani (or Binnui), six hundred forty and two. V. 11. The children of Bebai, six hundred twenty and three. V. 12. The children of Azgad, a thousand two hundred twenty and two. V. 13. The children of Adonikam, six hundred sixty and six. V. 14. The children of Bigvai, two thousand fifty and six. V. 15. The children of Adin, four hundred fifty and four. V. 16. The children of Ater of Hezekiah, ninety and eight. V. 17. The children of Bezai, three hundred twenty and three. V. 18. The children of Jorah (or Hariph), an hundred and twelve. V.19. The children of Hashum, two hundred twenty and three. V. 20. The children of Gibhar, ninety and five. The name is really Gibeon, Neh. 7, 25; for the rest of the names from this point are those of the cities from which the fathers of the present exiles had come. V. 21. The children of Bethlehem, the former inhabitants of the city and their descendants, an hundred twenty and three. V. 22. The men of Netophah, a small town near Bethlehem, fifty and six. V. 23. The men of Anathoth, a Levitical city, the home of Jeremiah, against which he had prophesied in one of his severest predictions, Jer. 32, 27-35, an hundred twenty and eight. V. 24. The children of Azmaveth (also known as Beth-azmaveth), forty and two. V. 25. The children of Kirjath-arim, west of Jerusalem, Chephirah, and Beeroth, three cities of the Gibeonites, Josh. 9, 17, seven hundred and forty and three. V. 26. The children of Ramah and Gaba, north of Jerusalem, Josh. 9, 25. 26, six hundred twenty and one. V. 27. The men of Michmas, 1 Sam. 13, 25, an hundred twenty and two. V. 28. The men of Bethel and Ai, still farther north of Jerusalem, Josh. 7, 2, two hundred twenty and three. V. 29. The children of Nebo, the ancient Nob or Nobe, 1 Sam. 21, 2, fifty and two. V. 30. The children of Magbish, an hundred fifty and six. V. 31. The children of the other Elam, a thousand two hundred fifty and four. V. 32. The children of Harim, three hundred and twenty. V. 33. The children of Lod, the later Lydda, Hadid (or Harid), and Ono, seven hundred twenty and five. V. 34. The children of Jericho, in the lowlands of the Jordan toward the east, three hundred forty and five. V. 35. The children of Senaah, three thousand and six hundred and thirty. It seems, from this list, that the cities in the neighborhood of Jerusalem were settled first and in the course of time more and more of them inhabited, as other exiles joined them and as their number increased.
THE PRIESTS, LEVITES, AND SERVANTS OF THE TEMPLE. ó V. 36. The priests: the children of Jedaiah, of the house of Jeshua, the latter being the first high priest of the new community, a grandson of Seraiah, whom Nebuchadnezzar had put to death at Riblah, 2 Kings 25, 18. 19, nine hundred seventy and three. V. 37. The children of Immer, a thousand fifty and two. V. 38. The children of Pashur, a thousand two hundred forty and seven. V. 39. The children of Rarim, a thousand and seventeen. This list shows only four courses of priests, but these four were afterwards again increased to twenty-four, according to the division of David and with the names they originally bore, for we find a course of Abia mentioned in the New Testament, 1 Chron. 24, 10; Luke 1, 5. V. 40. The Levites: the children of Jeshua and Kadmiel, of the children of Hodaviah (or Hodevah, or Judah), seventy and four. V. 41. The singers: the children of Asaph, the only company that accompanied the first company of returning exiles, an hundred twenty and eight. V. 42. The children of the porters: the children of Shallum, the children of Ater, the children of Talmon, the children of Akkub, the children of Hatita, the children of Shobai, in all an hundred thirty and nine. V. 43. The Nethinim, the descendants of foreign nations, who performed the meaner tasks about the Temple, 1 Chron. 9, 2: the children of Ziha, the children of Hazupha, the children of Tabbaoth, v. 44. the children of Keros, the children of Siaha, the children of Padon, v. 45. the children of Lebanah, the children of Hagabah, the children of Akkub, v. 46. the children of Hagab, the children of Shalmai, the children of Hanan, v. 47. the children of Giddel, the children of Gahar, the children of Reaiah, v. 48. the children of Rezin, the children of Nekoda, the children of Gazzam, V. 49. the children of Uzza, the children of Paseah, the children of Besai, v. 50. the children of Asnah, the children of Mehunim, the children of Nephusim, v. 51. the children of Bakbuk, the children of Hakupha, the children of Harhur, v. 52. the children of Bazluth, the children of Mehida, the children of Harsha, v. 53. the children of Barkos, the children of Sisera, the children of Thamah, v. 54. the children of Neziah, the children of Hatipha. V. 55. The children of Solomonís servants, usually connected with the Nethinim, apparently descendants of prisoners of war that were not Canaanites: the children of Sotai, the children of Sophereth, the children of Peruda, v. 56. the children of Jaalah, the children of Darkon, the children of Giddel, v. 57. the children of Shephatiah, the children of Hattil, the children of Pochereth of Zebaim, the children of Ami (or Ainon). V. 58. All the Nethinim and the children of Solomonís servants were three hundred ninety and two. All these people, whose fathers had not originally been members of Israel, now clung to the true God with faithful loyalty. It is not the derivation, the human descent and family, that counts with the Lord, but the faith of the heart and true loyalty in oneís entire life.
THE PEOPLE AND THE PRIESTS WITHOUT GENEALOGY. ó V. 59. And these were they which went up from Tel-melah, Tel-harsa, Cherub, Addan, and Immer, probably all cities in a province of Babylonia; but they could not show their fatherís house, their genealogical tables had been lost, and they could not say to which father-house in Israel their forefathers had belonged, and their seed, their pedigree, their descent, whether they were of Israel: v. 60. the children of Delaiah, the children of Toblah, the children of Nekoda, six hundred fifty and two. They were not mere adventurers, but had been urged to join the company of returning exiles by their loyalty to Jehovah, even though their family records were lost. V. 61. And of the children of the priests: the children of Habaiah, the children of Koz, the children of Barzillai, which took a wife of the daughters of Barzillai the Gileadite and was called after their name, 2 Sam. 17, 27. It is supposed that this man of priestly descent married the woman because she was an heiress and assumed her name. In this way his connection with the tribe of Levites was lost sight of. Worldly ambition forfeited the dignity of the priesthood. V. 62. These sought their register among those that were reckoned by genealogy, but they were not found, they were unable to bring the documentary proof of their priestly descent; therefore were they, as polluted, put from the priesthood, they were excluded from the holy office because their descent was doubtful. V. 63. And the Tirshatha, the governor of the province, said unto them that they should not eat of the most holy things till there stood up a priest with Urim and with Thummim, Ex. 28, 30; Num. 27, 21, that is, a high priest sanctioned by God to give decisions by consulting the Lord in the ancient manner, in infallible revelations. Because the matter was in doubt, this was a decision of discretion. V. 64. The whole congregation together was forty and two thousand three hundred and threescore. This number is twelve thousand greater than the sum of the numbers, for to the returning exiles must be added the few remaining Jews and even such from Egypt as promptly gathered when they found that the ancient worship would be restored. It was a small flock that came together in Jerusalem and vicinity, but it represented the true worship of Jehovah in those days, the visible Church of God.
THE POSSESSIONS AND THE CONTRIBUTIONS OF THE RETURNED EXILES. ó V. 65. Beside their servants and their maids, of whom there were seven thousand three hundred thirty and seven. And there were among them two hundred singing men and singing women, professional singers and musicians, who were employed upon various occasions. V. 66. Their horses were seven hundred thirty and six; their mules, two hundred forty and five; v. 67. their camels, four hundred thirty and five; their asses, six thousand seven hundred and twenty. V. 68. And some of the chief of the fathers, such of the heads as could afford it, when they came to the house of the Lord which is at Jerusalem, to the site where its ruins were then lying, offered freely for the house of God to set it up in his place, voluntary contributions to rebuild the Temple. V. 69. They gave after their ability unto the treasure of the work threescore and one thousand drains of gold, that is, Persian darics, and five thousand pounds of silver (almost $400,000 all told), and one hundred priestsí garments. V. 70. So the priests, and the Levites, and some of the people, and the singers, and the porters, and the Nethinim dwelt In their cities, those assigned to them, and all Israel In their cities. Those who love the worship of the Lord will be found willing, also today, to sacrifice of their money and goods to the Lord. And such willing sacrifices and gifts are well-pleasing to God.