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Bible Commentaries

Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ezra 2

Verse 1

Now. This catalogue is given again, 2 Esdras vii. 6., and 3 Esdras v. 7., immediately (Haydock) after the long interpolated story (Kennicott) of the three guards, concerning the superior strength of wine, the king, women or truth, in which Zorobabel gains the victory, in favour of the latter. (Haydock) --- The rest of the book is taken from other inspired writings; (Sandford) and this story may be borrowed Josephus: so that there is no reason for asserting "that one whole book is now lost out of the sacred canon." (Kennicott) --- Yet this argument is by no means conclusive, as the Paralipomenon consists of such supplements, &c. These three catalogues very considerably, not only in the proper names, but also in the numbers, (Haydock) though they must have been the same originally, and still give the same total, 42,360. We cannot find that number at present, by above 8,400. In many cases, the disagreement consists of a single unit, hundred, &c., which may lead us to suspect that the Palmyrene, or the more ancient Sidonian notation, may have been adopted in some Hebrew manuscripts, being used about the time of Christ. See Swinton’s tables, (Phil. Trans. xlviii., and l.) where the Sidonian coins express the units by small perpendicular strokes; and the Palmyrene inscriptions only admit four of these together, having an arbitrary mark for 5: "the hundreds and units after the tens, are expressed in both, in the same manner as the single units." (Kennicott, 2 Diss.) --- Cordell (manuscript note on this author) disapproves of this mode of correcting, and says that the females are included in the total sum, being 12,542, not recorded in the separate sums. But this number seems too small, as there are generally as many of that sex as of the other. (Haydock) --- Some find the total 31,583, which leaves 10,777 wanting to complete 42,360, as these could not make out their genealogies, or were of the ten tribes. In this chapter only 29,818 are specified, whereas [in] 2 Esdras vii. has 31,089; the latter reckons 1765 unnoticed by Esdras, who has 494 not specified in Nehemias. The difference, that seems to make a reconciliation impossible, is what make these authors agree; for, if you add the surplus of each to the other, the same total, 31,583, will arise. (Alting. ep. 59.) This solution, though ingenious, is not solid or satisfactory. (Rondet, t. v. p. 176.) --- De Vence rather thinks that the difference is to be laid to the charge of transcribers, or that some people enrolled themselves after the registers had been made up; so that they are only included in the general sum. (Haydock) --- Some things may have been inserted from 2 Esdras, though here out of place, (Grotius) as we find similar anachronisms, 1 Paralipomenon ix. 2., and perhaps Genesis xxxvi. 31. Nehemias may also have included those whom he brought back along with these; unless we allow that some one, by attempting to reconcile the two, has thrown all into confusion. It seems undeniable, that some additions have been made to the latter book, chap. xii. 11., and 22. The list given [in] 1 Paralipomenon ix. 4., comprises only those who came first from Babylon. (Calmet) --- After this remark, it will hardly be requisite to specify all the variations of names and numbers. (Haydock) --- "For what can be hence inferred, but that there are some arithmetical mistakes in Scripture, which no one denies?" (Huet) --- "Almost all who are conversant with ancient copies, agree in the decision of St. Jerome, as they cannot but perceive that some variations have crept in, particularly with respect to numbers and proper names." (Walton) --- Province, born in Chaldea, (Menochius) or rather belonging to Judea, which was now considered as a province of the empire, (Calmet) and paid tribute, chap. iv. 13., and 2 Esdras ix. 36. (Tirinus) --- In 3 Esdras, we read, "These are they of Judea." --- Nabuchodonosor had taken some of these; the rest were chiefly their descendants. --- Juda now is used to denote Judea. (Haydock)

Verse 2

Zorobabel was the prince, Josue the high priest. (Calmet) --- There are 12 mentioned in 2 and 3 Esdras. But here the sixth Nahamani, or Enenion, is omitted. (Haydock) --- There represent the 12 tribes, (Kennicott) and were chiefs. (Menochius) --- It is wonderful that Esdras is not here mentioned, as well as Nehemias, who led a company after him, many of whom are here recorded. (Calmet) --- They might come to take care of their patrimony, and return into Chaldea, like Mardochai, (Tirinus.; though it does not seem to be Esther’s uncle, Du Hamel) and Nehemias, who is styled also Athersatha, ver. 63. (Tirinus) --- Baana. 3 Esdras adds, "their leaders." (Haydock)

Verse 3

Children. When this term precedes the name of a man, it means his offspring; (ver. 3, 20.) when placed before a city, it denotes the inhabitants, ver. 21, 35. (Calmet) --- The lay Israelites are placed here; then the Levitical tribe; (ver. 36.) the Nathineans, &c., ver. 43. It is very difficult to decide when the names designate places, and when persons. (Menochius)

Verse 5

Seven. 2 Esdras, only 652. These arrived at Jerusalem; the rest altered their mind. (Junius) (Calmet) --- But 3 Esdras has 756: so that there is most probably a mistake somewhere. (Haydock)

Verse 6

Moab. This seems to be the name of a place, where the descendants of Josue and Joab might reside; (chap. viii. 4.; Calmet) or Phahath might have this title, on account of some victory, or residence in the country. His descendants, with those of Josue and Joab, where 2812, (Tirinus) or 2818, 2 Esdras vii. 11. (Calmet) --- Josue. Protestants, "Jeshua and Joab." (Haydock) --- Some translate Pahath, "the chief of" Moab, &c. (Du Hamel) --- Grotius suspects that to ver. 68 may be inserted from Nehemias.

Verse 11

CHAPTER II.

Verse 13

Six. Other 60 returned afterwards with Esdras. (Haydock) (Chap. viii. 13.)

Verse 16

Ather. 3 Esdras, Ator-Ezekios, 92: but 2 Esdras has Ater, children of Hezecias, 98. (Haydock)

Verse 17

Besai. We should perhaps read Hasum, (ver. 19.; Calmet) then Besai, and afterwards Jora, who may be the same with Hareph, 2 Esdras vii. 24. (Haydock)

Verse 20

Gebbar. 2 Esdras, Gabaon. 3 Esdras, "Baitereus, 3005." (Haydock)

Verse 22

Six. 2 Esdras puts the inhabitants of those two cities together, and makes 188, instead of the present calculation 179. (Calmet) --- Netupha was in Ephraim. (Du Hamel)

Verse 29

Nebo. 2 Esdras (vii. 33.) adds, "of the other Nebo," as in some Latin copies a first had been mentioned, (ver. 30.) where we have Geba, (Calmet) here written Gabaa, ver. 26. (Haydock) --- Nebo belonged to some of the other tribes, as well as Phahath-Moab; which shews that some of the people returned, (Calmet) and are particularized, as well as the men of the three tribes of Juda, Benjamin, and Levi. (Haydock)

Verse 30

Megbis. 3 Esdras, "Niphis;" (Calmet) or, according to the Alexandrian Manuscript, "Phineis." (Haydock) --- The verse is omitted [in] 2 Esdras. But Megphias occurs below, chap. x. 20. Megabyse is a Persian name. (Herodotus iii. 20., and 160.)

Verse 31

Other Elam. The first is mentioned (ver. 7.) with exactly the same number. Is not this verse redundant? (Calmet) --- Who would not be astonished? (Tirinus) --- 3 Esdras omits this and the following name. (Haydock)

Verse 33

Hadid. These cities were in the tribe of Benjamin. (Calmet) --- Senaa was in Ephraim, eight miles from Jericho. (Eusebius)

Verse 36

Josue, the high priest, ver. 2.

Verse 40

Odovia, called Juda, chap. iii. 9. (Calmet)

Verse 43

Nathinites, "people given" (1 Paralipomenon ix. 2.; Haydock) by Josue, David, and Solomon. (Tirinus)

Verse 55

Servants, proselytes, 1 Paralipomenon xxii. 2. (Menochius)

Verse 57

Pocereth-Hasebaim, in Hebrew (Calmet) or "of Zebaim." (Protestants)

Verse 59

Thelmela, "the height of Mela, or of salt." The river Melas empties itself into the Euphrates. (Strabo xii.) --- The cities here mentioned were in Chaldea. Some of the ten tribes had probably been transported into Cappadocia, where Herodotus (ii. 35,) place some circumcised Syrians. --- Thelharsa, or Thelassar, 4 Kings xix. 12. --- Cherub, &c., were cities of Chaldea, (Tirinus) or chief men; but as they had been carried away by Theglathphalassar, they had lost their genealogies, and could only produce circumcision as a proof that they were Israelites.

Verse 61

Their name. The priest, Berzellai, assumed the name of the family, from which he had chosen a wife. (Haydock) --- It was that of the famous old man, who was so hospitable to David, 2 Kings xix. 31. (Calmet)

Verse 62

Priesthood. Those who cannot prove that they are priests, ought not to exercise the functions. (Worthington) --- The Jews were particularly careful to preserve their genealogical tables, and transcribed them again after any very troublesome times. (Josephus, contra Apion 1, and in his own Life.) --- The Rabbins falsely assert that only the mother’s side was examined, and that the children followed her condition. (Calmet)

Verse 63

Athersatha. Protestants’ marginal note, "the governor," (Haydock) in the Persian language. (Du Hamel) --- Nehemias had this title, 2 Esdras viii. 9. (Haydock) --- It means "a cup-bearer." (Calmet) (Menochius) --- 3 Esdras, "And Nehemias, who is also Atharias, said unto them, that they should not partake of the holy things, till a high priest, clothed with manifestation and truth, should arise." (Haydock) --- Learned. Hebrew, "with Urim and Thummim." We do not find that God had been consulted, in this manner, since the time of David: and the Jews inform us that the ornament was not used after the captivity, (Calmet) as it had been, perhaps, concealed with the ark, by Jeremias, 2 Machabees ii. 4. (Tirinus) --- Nehemias hoped that it would be soon recovered. In the mean time, he followed the spirit of the law, but with additional rigour, as it permitted such priests to eat consecrated meats, Leviticus xxi. 22. It seems that this decision is out of its proper place, since Nehemias came 80 years after Zorobabel. (Calmet) --- But he might have been present on this occasion, (Haydock) though he returned afterwards to Babylon, where he officiated as cup-bearer to the king. (Tirinus)

Verse 64

Forty-two thousand, &c. Those who are reckoned up above of the tribes of Juda, Benjamin, and Levi, fall short of this number. The rest, who must be taken in to make up the whole sum, were of the other tribes. (Challoner) --- This explanation is given by R. Solomon. (Worthington) --- But we have seen that cities belonging to the ten tribes are specified. See ver. 1, and 29. (Haydock) --- Some might not be able to make out their genealogies, (Calmet) ver. 62. Yet some of these also are counted, ver. 60. (Haydock) --- The particular sums may therefore be incorrect. Josephus ([Antiquities?] xi. 1,) adds 102 to the number. (Calmet) --- 3 Esdras has, "But they were all of Israel from 12 years old and upwards, exclusive of boys and girls, (or male and female servants) 42,300." Grabe has in another character "sixty. The men and women servants of these, 7300." Then the Alexandrian Manuscript continues, "thirty-seven." So that without the addition it would give for the total, 42,337. Some copies (Haydock) have 40. (Calmet) --- But the most correct (Haydock) read 60. (Kennicott) The small number of servants and cattle shew that the people were poor. (Du Hamel)

Verse 65

Servants. Probably strangers. (Calmet) --- Yet the Hebrews might renounce their liberty, Exodus xxi. 6. (Haydock) --- Hundred, comprised in the last number; (Calmet) or they belong to Israel, but were different from those mentioned [in] ver. 41. We find 45 more in 2 and 3 Esdras. (Haydock) --- These might be inserted by Nehemias, after they had proved themselves to be of the tribe of Levi. (Tournemine) --- There were in all 49,942. (Haydock) So much was the power of this kingdom now reduced! Sulp Severus says above 50,000 of every sex and rank could not be found. (Haydock)

Verse 69

Solids. Hebrew darcemonim. (Haydock) --- "Darics," worth as much as a golden sicle. (Pelletier) (Calmet) (1 Paralipomenon xxix. 7.) --- Pounds, (mnas) or 60 sicles. (Menochius) --- 3 Esdras has "mnas" in both places.

Verse 70

Some. The laics, mentioned from ver. 2., to 35. (Haydock)

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Bibliographical Information
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Ezra 2". "Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/hcc/ezra-2.html. 1859.