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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Ezra 2

Introduction

CHAPTER 2

:-. NUMBER OF THE PEOPLE THAT TURNED.

Verse 1

1. children of the province—that is, Judea (Ezra 5:8), so called as being now reduced from an illustrious, independent, and powerful kingdom to an obscure, servile, tributary province of the Persian empire. This name is applied by the sacred historian to intimate that the Jewish exiles, though now released from captivity and allowed to return into their own land, were still the subjects of Cyrus, inhabiting a province dependent upon Persia.

came again unto Jerusalem and Judah, every one unto his city—either the city that had been occupied by his ancestors, or, as most parts of Judea were then either desolate or possessed by others, the city that was rebuilt and allotted to him now.

Verse 2

2. Which came with Zerubbabel—He was the chief or leader of the first band of returning exiles. The names of other influential persons who were associated in the conducting of the caravans are also mentioned, being extracted probably from the Persian archives, in which the register was preserved: conspicuous in the number are Jeshua, the high priest, and Nehemiah.

Verse 3

3. The children—This word, as used throughout this catalogue, means "posterity" or "descendants."

Verse 5

5. children of Arah, seven hundred seventy and five—The number is stated in :- to have been only six hundred fifty-two. It is probable that all mentioned as belonging to this family repaired to the general place of rendezvous, or had enrolled their names at first as intending to go; but in the interval of preparation, some died, others were prevented by sickness or insurmountable obstacles, so that ultimately no more than six hundred fifty-two came to Jerusalem.

Verse 23

23. The men of Anathoth—It is pleasant to see so many of this Jewish town returning. It was a city of the Levites; but the people spurned Jeremiah's warning and called forth against themselves one of his severest predictions ( :-). This prophecy was fulfilled in the Assyrian conquest. Anathoth was laid waste and continued a heap of ruins. But the people, having been brought during the captivity to a better state of mind, returned, and their city was rebuilt.

Verse 36

36-39. The priests—Each of their families was ranged under its prince or head, like those of the other tribes. It will be remembered that the whole body was divided into twenty-four courses, one of which, in rotation, discharged the sacerdotal duties every week, and each division was called after the name of its first prince or chief. It appears from this passage that only four of the courses of the priests returned from the Babylonish captivity; but these four courses were afterwards, as the families increased, divided into twenty-four, which were distinguished by the names of the original courses appointed by David [ :-]. Hence we find the course of Abijah or Abia ( :-) subsisting at the commencement of the Christian era ( :-).

Verse 55

55. The children of Solomon's servants—either the strangers that monarch enlisted in the building of the temple, or those who lived in his palace, which was deemed a high honor.

Verse 61

61, 62. the children of Barzillai—He preferred that name to that of his own family, deeming it a greater distinction to be connected with so noble a family, than to be of the house of Levi. But by this worldly ambition he forfeited the dignity and advantages of the priesthood.

Verse 63

63. Tirshatha—a title borne by the Persian governors of Judea (see also Nehemiah 7:65-70; Nehemiah 8:9; Nehemiah 10:1). It is derived from the Persian torsh ("severe"), and is equivalent to "your severity," "your awfulness."

Verse 64

64. The whole congregation together was forty and two thousand three hundred and threescore—This gross amount is twelve thousand more than the particular numbers given in the catalogue, when added together, come to. Reckoning up the smaller numbers, we shall find that they amount to 29,818 in this chapter, and to 31,089 in the parallel chapter of Nehemiah [see :-]. Ezra also mentions four hundred ninety-four persons omitted by Nehemiah, and Nehemiah mentions 1765 not noticed by Ezra. If, therefore, Ezra's surplus be added to the sum in Nehemiah, and Nehemiah's surplus to the number in Ezra, they will both become 31,583. Subtracting this from 42,360, there will be a deficiency of 10,777. These are omitted because they did not belong to Judah and Benjamin, or to the priests, but to the other tribes. The servants and singers, male and female, are reckoned separately ( :-), so that putting all these items together, the number of all who went with Zerubbabel amounted to fifty thousand, with eight thousand beasts of burden [ALTING, quoted in DAVIDSON'S Hermeneutics].

Verse 68

68. some of the chief of the fathers, when they came to the house of the Lord offered freely for the house of God, &c.—The sight of a place hallowed by the most endearing and sacred associations, but now lying in desolation and ruins, made the wellsprings of their piety and patriotism gush out afresh. Before taking any active measures for providing accommodation to themselves and their families, the chief among them raised a large sum by voluntary contributions towards the restoration of the temple.

Verse 69

69. drams of gold—rather, "darics," a Persian coin (see on :-).

priests' garments—(compare Nehemiah 7:70). This—in the circumstances—was a very appropriate gift. In general, it may be remarked that presents of garments, or of any other usable commodities, however singular it may seem to us, is in harmony with the established notions and customs of the East.

Copyright Statement
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Ezra 2". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jfb/ezra-2.html. 1871-8.