(1-14) A list of the chief names, given by families, of those who accompanied Ezra.
(1) This is the genealogy.—The names of the heads of houses is followed generally by that of the wider families they belonged to. With this list is to be compared the register of those who went up with Zerubbabel (Ezra 2:2 seq.).
(2, 3) According to 1 Chronicles 3:22, Huttush was a descendant of David, and grandson of Shechaniab. The difficulty of the text therefore may probably be best solved by punctuating thus: “Of the sons of David. Hattush of the sons of Shechaniab. Of the sons of Pharosh, Zechariah.”
(5) The son of Janaziel.—Obviously a name is omitted. The LXX. have, “of the sons of Zattu, Shechaniah,” before Jahaziel.
(10) Here also a name is wanting. The LXX. have, “of the sons of Bani, Shelomith, the son of Josiphiah.”
(13) And of the last sons.—The younger branches, the elder being reported in Ezra 2:13.
(15) Ahava.—Both river and town. Nine days’ journey brought them thither; and there is a place now called Hit, about eighty miles from Babylon, which has been identified with it.
None of the sons of Levi.—Only seventy-four had returned with Zerubbabel (Ezra 2:40); and hero we have evidence that the disinclination continued. The importance of Levitcal service in the Temple accounts for the anxiety of Ezra.
(15-31) The journey through Ahava to Jerusalem.
(16) Men of understanding.—Teachers, and perhaps priests. These were joined with nine chief men as a deputation to Iddo.
(17) The place Casiphia.—Evidently near Ahavah, and a colony of Jews presided over by Iddo, one of the humble race of the Nethinims, but at present chief under the Persians. Ezra was aware of their existence in these parts.
Ministers.—A term obviously including Levites and Nethinims.
(18) A man of understanding.—Probably a proper name, Ishsekel. This is required by the “and” before “Sherebiah,” who was a Levite, referred to by Nehemiah (Ezra 8:7).
(20) The Nethinims—It is here alone recorded that David appointed these to aid the Levites.
All of them were expressed by name.—Not, as some think, that they were all famous, but that Iddo sent their names in a list not given. The relief of their coming is gratefully ascribed to the “good hand of our God upon us.”
(21) To seek of him a right way for us.—The wilderness was now before them, and an enemy, indefinitely referred to, was in the way: probably desert tribes, always lying in wait for unprotected caravans.
Our little ones.—An intimation that whole households went up.
Our substance.—Chiefly the treasures for the Temple, though the term signifies cattle and other goods, with an undertone of abundance.
(22) Because we had spoken unto the king.—The whole verse goes back to the past. Ezra had magnified God’s providence before the king: His “hand” upon his own “for good”—the habitual tribute to Providence in this book and Nehemiah—and His power “against” His enemies “for evil” not being expressed. This sublime testimony made the “seeking” God a condition of safety. Hence the solemn fasting and prayer, following many precedents (Judges 20:26; 1 Samuel 7:6).
(24) Sherebiah.—Rather, to Sherebiah—that is, these two Levites, alone mentioned, with ten others, were associated with an equal number of priests in the charge of the Temple treasure.
(25) And weighed.—The gold and silver were in bars. According to the best computation, the silver would amount to a quarter of a million of our money, and the gold to about three-quarters of a million.
(27) A thousand drams.—Darics, and therefore the whole worth rather more than a thousand guineas.
Fine copper.—Probably the Roman Orichalcum, a metal very highly valued.
(28) And I said unto them, Ye are holy unto the Lord.—A unique verse in every respect. The treasures were consecrated, and they were committed to consecrated hands: a good account was to be given of them to the treasurers of the Temple.
(31) The hand of our God was upon us.—This sums up the history of the journey.
(32) Three days.—Devoted, as in the similar case of Nehemiah, to rest and more private devotion.
(32-36) The arrival in Jerusalem, and first proceedings there.
(33) Meremoth the son of Uriah . . .—These names of priests and Levites, who had officially received the treasures, occur again in Nehemiah.
(34) By number and by weight.—The number of the vessels and the weight of the ingots were recorded and laid up for security.
(36) And they delivered the king’s commissions.—First came sacrifices of burnt offering to God (Ezra 8:35); then, having rendered to God the things which were God’s, they render to Cæsar the things of Cæsar. They delivered the king’s commission, or firman, to the lieutenants or satraps in military authority, and to the governors, or pechahs, or pashas, in civil authority under them. The firman was of course accepted and acted upon: “they furthered the people.”
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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Ezra 8". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Week of Lent