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The Names and Number of those who returned
1. The province] i.e. the Persian province of Judæa (Ezra 5:8). Had carried away] in 597 b.c. and 586 b.c. Every one unto his city] i.e. to the provincial towns. This process can only have taken place very gradually.
2. Zerubbabel] for his relation to Sheshbazzar see on Ezra 1:8 for his ancestry see on Ezra 3:2. The list of names that follows is repeated, with some variants, in Nehemiah 7:7-73. Jeshua] the high priest, called by Haggai ’Joshua.’ The names in this v. number 11, but in the corresponding passage in Neh (Nehemiah 7:7) they amount to 12, and are probably intended to be symbolic of the 12 tribes of Israel (cp. Ezra 6:17), the number of which was recalled at a later date by the 12 he-goats offered as a sin-offering at the dedication of the restored Temple (Ezra 6:17), and by the sacrifices described in Ezra 8:35: cp. also the expression ’all Israel’ in Ezra 2:70. Nehemiah] not the Nehemiah of Nehemiah 1:1.
3-9. The names in these vv. are those of families.
16. Of Ater of Hezekiah] i.e. the descendants of Ater through Hezekiah, one of his sons.
20-35. The names in these vv. are those of localities.
29. Nebo] not the Nebo in Reuben, E. of the Jordan (Numbers 32:38), but situated in Judah, identified by some with Nob (Isaiah 10:32), by others with the modern Nuba, S. of Jerusalem.
31. The other Elam] in contrast to the Elam of Ezra 2:7.
36-39. Of the four priestly houses here named, one, Pashur, is not among the 24 enumerated in 1 Chronicles 24:7-18, but is probably a branch of the house of Malchijah (1 Chronicles 24:9): see Nehemiah 11:12.
40. Seventy and four] The small number betrays a backwardness on the part of the Levites similar to that which they manifested on a subsequent occasion: see Ezra 8:15.
42. The porters] they kept the Temple gates (1 Chronicles 9:17).
43. The Nethinims] i.e. Temple servants: see Nehemiah 8:17, and on 1 Chronicles 9:2.
55. The children of Solomon’s servants] probably descendants of the native Canaanites employed by Solomon on his buildings: see 1 Kings 9:21.
59. Tel-melah, etc] localities in Babylonia.
62. Sought their register, etc] i.e. sought their entry among those who were enrolled as being Israelites of pure descent. As polluted] Only those were admitted to the priesthood who could prove their descent from Aaron, in accordance with Numbers 3:10; Numbers 16:40.
63. The Tirshatha] i.e. Zerubbabel, the title meaning ’governor,’ perhaps one subordinate to a ’satrap.’ Eat of the most holy things] the privilege of the priesthood only (Numbers 18:8-19). Till there stood up, etc.] In early times the high priest used to enquire of the Lord by Urim and Thummim: see on Exodus 28:30.
64. Forty and two thousand, etc.] The total number here given disagrees with the sum of the items, which only amounts to 29,818 (in Nehemiah 7:66, 31,089, the difference perhaps being due to textual errors).
65. Singing men, etc.] These were minstrels employed on secular occasions (cp. Sirach 12:7-8), distinct from the singers of Ezra 2:41, who were intended for the Temple.
69. Drams] The dram (Gk. drachma), like the pound (maneh), was a weight, equivalent to the Hebrew half-shekel. The pound contained 100 drams. Some authorities render the word translated ’dram’ by daric, a gold coin worth a guinea. A pound of silver was worth about 4.
70. Dwelt in their cities] i.e. occupied several of the provincial cities. Some scholars have held that only a few (if any) Jews returned to Jerusalem in the reign of Cyrus (whose decree in Ezra 6:3-5 only directs the construction of the Temple, not the restoration of. any exiles), and that the Temple was not begun as related in Ezra 3, but built for the first time in the reign of Darius by the remnant of the people left in Judæa (Haggai 1:12, Haggai 1:14; Zechariah 8:6, Zechariah 8:11). There seems, however, no adequate reason to question the substantial truth of Ezra 1-3.
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Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Ezra 2". "Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the Fourth Week after Epiphany