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Bible Commentaries
Ezra 2

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - UnabridgedCommentary Critical Unabridged

Verse 1

Now these are the children of the province that went up out of the captivity, of those which had been carried away, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away unto Babylon, and came again unto Jerusalem and Judah, every one unto his city;

Children of the province - i:e., 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 [ bªneey (H1121) hamªdiynaah (H4082), sons of the province] - i:e., according to Gesenius, Israelite exiles dwelling in the Persian provinces, Medinah meaning a province or district, or satrapy, under the jurisdiction of a Persian prefect or viceroy (Nehemiah 7:6; Esth. 1:23; 12:12,14; Daniel 8:2).

Those which had been carried away - i:e., the descendants, including children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren of those whom Nebuchadnezzar had carried away unto Babylon. Those who are mentioned in the following catalogue, then, were not the ten tribes, who were dispersed into various and scattered districts of Assyria, but the Jewish exiles resident in or around Babylon. Zerubbabel, the prince of Judah, himself resided there; and there flocked around his standard those Jews who formed the first caravan, comprising chiefly or exclusively those of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin who took the initiative in the journey to the land of their fathers, both from their location in Babylon, and from their greater interest in the work of rebuilding Jerusalem and the temple.

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

Which came with Zerubbabel: Jeshua, Nehemiah, Seraiah, Reelaiah, Mordecai, Bilshan, Mispar, Bigvai, Rehum, Baanah. The number of the men of the people of Israel:

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 caravan are also mentioned, being extracted probably from the Persian archives, in which the register was preserved. Conspicuous in the number are Joshua, the high priest, and Nehemiah; not, however, the Tirshatha (Nehemiah 7:7).

Verse 3

The children of Parosh, two thousand an hundred seventy and two.

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

Of Parosh, [ Par`osh (H6551); Septuagint, Vatican, Fares; Alexandrine, Fores]. Besides the 2,172 exiles belonging to this chief house, who returned to Palestine with the first caravan under Zerubbabel (Sheshbazzar), a second detachment of 130 males came with Ezra (Ezra 8:3) (see as to their labour on the public work, Nehemiah 3:25; Nehemiah 10:14; and the unlawful marriages of some of them, Ezra 10:25).

Verse 4

The children of Shephatiah, three hundred seventy and two.

The children of Shephatiah - [Septuagint, Safatia]. In addition to this first band of 372 (cf. Nehemiah 7:9), a second detachment of 80 males accompanied Ezra (Ezra 7:8).

Verse 5

The children of Arah, seven hundred seventy and five.

The children of Arah, seven hundred seventy and five. The number is stated in Nehemiah 7:1-73 to have been only 652. 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 652 came to Jerusalem.

Verse 6

The children of Pahath-moab, of the children of Jeshua and Joab, two thousand eight hundred and twelve.

The children of Pahath-moab, [ Pachat-Mow'aab (H6355), prefect of Moab; Septuagint, Faath Mooab]. 'The origin of this singular name is perhaps traceable to an ancestor who had dominion in Moab (1 Chronicles 4:22, of 1 Chronicles 2:54; 1 Chronicles 4:4), and from him it continued to be traditionally bestowed upon his family. Their high rank in the tribe of Judah is indicated by their being placed fourth in the order of this catalogue, and second in the signing (Nehemiah 10:14).

Verse 7

The children of Elam, a thousand two hundred fifty and four.

The children of Elam - [Septuagint, Ailam]. The Bene-Elam, who went with the first caravan, under Zerubbabel, to the number of 1,254, were followed by a second body of 71 men, with Ezra (Ezra 8:7) (see as to their zeal in the affair of the foreign marriages, Ezra 10:2; Ezra 10:26; and of the covenant-signing, Nehemiah 10:14).

Verse 8

The children of Zattu, nine hundred forty and five.

The children of Zattu - [Septuagint, Vatican, Zatthoua; Alexandrine, Xaththoua]. In addition to the 945, another division of this family afterward went with Ezra (see the note at Ezra 8:5).

Verse 9

The children of Zaccai, seven hundred and threescore.

The children of Zaccai. The number of this family accompanying Zerubbabel amounted to 760 (cf. Nehemiah 7:14). The name is identical with Zaccheus (Luke 19:2).

Verse 10

The children of Bani, six hundred forty and two. The children of Bani - or Binnui, (Nehemiah 7:15) [Septuagint, Banoui].

Verse 11

The children of Bebai, six hundred twenty and three.

The children of Bebal - [Septuagint, Babai]. Besides those who went in the first, 28 of this family enrolled themselves in the second under Ezra (Ezra 8:11) (see as to their implication in the matter of marrying pagan wives, Ezra 10:28; and to their signing the covenant, Nehemiah 10:15).

Verse 12

The children of Azgad, a thousand two hundred twenty and two.

The children of Azgad, [ `Azgaad (H5803), strong in fortune; Septuagint, Asgad (cf. Nehemiah 7:17; Nehemiah 10:16)].

Verse 13

The children of Adonikam, six hundred sixty and six.

The children of Adonikam, [ 'Adoniyqaam (H140), lord of the enemy] (cf. Ezra 8:13; Nehemiah 7:18) - the same as Adonijah, my lord is Yahweh (Nehemiah 10:17).

Verse 14

The children of Bigvai, two thousand fifty and six.

The children of Bigvai - [Septuagint, Vatican, Bagoue; Alexandrine, Bagouai]. Whether this was the person mentioned as one of the influential ten (Ezra 2:2), or another chief, is unknown.

Verse 15

The children of Adin, four hundred fifty and four.

The children of Adin - [Septuagint, Addin].

Verse 16

The children of Ater of Hezekiah, ninety and eight.

The children of Ater of Hezekiah, [ 'AaTeer (H333)), shut up, perhaps mute, Gesenius; Septuagint, Ateer too Ezekia, probably son of Hezekiah, a person of note, but not the king].

Verse 17

The children of Bezai, three hundred twenty and three.

The children of Bezai - [Septuagint, Bassou].

Verse 18

The children of Jorah, an hundred and twelve.

The children of Jorah - [Septuagint, Ioora] - called Harph in the parallel passage, Nehemiah 7:24; and Harim, Ezra 10:31.

Verse 19

The children of Hashum, two hundred twenty and three.

The children of Hashum - [Septuagint, Asoum]. Hitherto the different divisions of the returning exiles under Zerubbabel are distinguished by the name of their ancestor; those that follow, down to Ezra 2:35, are denoted by the city or village which was the headquarters of their family.

Verse 20

The children of Gibbar, ninety and five.

The children of Gibbar - [Septuagint, Gaber] - called (Nehemiah 7:25) Gibeon.

Verse 21

The children of Bethlehem, an hundred twenty and three.

The children of Beth-lehem - [Septuagint, Beethlaem].

Verse 22

The men of Netophah, fifty and six.

The men of Netophah - [Septuagint, Vatican, Netoofa; Alexandrine, Nefoota] - probably near Beth-lehem (cf. Nehemiah 7:26 with 1 Chronicles 2:54; also 1 Chronicles 9:16; 1 Chronicles 27:13; 1 Chronicles 27:15).

Verse 23

The men of Anathoth, an hundred twenty and eight. The men of Anathoth, an hundred twenty and eight.

The men of Anathoth - [Septuagint, Anathooth] - Anata, about three miles north of Jerusalem. It is pleasant to see so many of this Jewish town returning. It was a city of the Levites; but the people spurned the prophetic warning, and called forth against themselves one of his severest predictions (Jeremiah 32:27-44). This prophecy was fulfilled in the Assyrian conquest. Anathoth was laid and contained 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 24

The children of Azmaveth, forty and two.

The children of Azmaveth - [Septuagint, Azmooth] - a town of Benjamin, near Anathoth.

Verse 25

The children of Kirjath-arim, Chephirah, and Beeroth, seven hundred and forty and three.

The children of Kirjath-arim. The name occurs in this form here only; in Nehemiah 7:29 it is mentioned by the common appellation Kirjath-jearim. [Septuagint, Vatican, Kariathiarim; Alexandrine, Kariathiareim; Kuriet el-Enab.]

Chephirah - the hamlet [Septuagint, Vatican, Chafira; Alexandrine, Kafira] - one of the Gibeonite towns within the territory of Benjamin.

And Beeroth - wells [Septuagint, Beerooth]. Along with the preceding places it formed the fourth city of the Gibeonites.

Verse 26

The children of Ramah and Geba, six hundred twenty and one.

The children of Ramah and Gaba - the Ramah of Benjamin (Er-ram), on the east of the Nabulus road.

Gaba = Geba-a little east of Gibeah (now Fela), which is half an hour east from Ramah (Reland, 'Palestine,' pp. Gaba = Geba-a little east of Gibeah (now Fela), which is half an hour east from Ramah (Reland, 'Palestine,' pp. 801, 810; Robinson's 'Biblical Researches,' 2:, pp. 331-334; 'Handbook of Syria and Palestine,' pp. 215, 326,


Verse 27

The men of Michmas, an hundred twenty and two.

The men of Michmas - or Michmash [The Hebrew letter shin (sh) in later Hebrew was softened into the Hebrew letter samech (c); Septuagint, Machmas] (Mukmas), situated in a northeasterly direction, right opposite Jeba (Robinsin's 'Biblical Researches,' 2:, p. 113; 'Handbook of Syria and Palestine,' pp. 214, 215).

Verse 28

The men of Bethel and Ai, two hundred twenty and three.

The men of Beth-el and Ai - (see the notes at Joshua 8:1-35.)

Verse 29

The children of Nebo, fifty and two.

The children of Nebo - [Septuagint, Vatican, Nabou; Alexandrine, Naboo] - the Bethoannaba of Eusebius and Jerome ('Onomast.,' article 'Anob;' Reland, 'Palaestina,' p. 661); supposed to be identified in Beit-nubah, which lies between Beth-el and Ai on one side, and Lydda (the ancient Diospolis) on the other, about 12 miles northwest of Jerusalem, and a little to the right of Yalo (Aijalon) (Robinson's 'Biblical Researches,' 3:, 64).

Verse 30

The children of Magbish, an hundred fifty and six. The children of Magbish - (gathering) [Septuagint, Magebis]. Most probably the name of a place, though some regard it as that of a man.

Verse 31

The children of the other Elam, a thousand two hundred fifty and four.

The children of the other Elam, [ `Eelaam (H5867) 'acheer (H312) - a second or another Elam-Heelamar]. This is the name of a chief. The identity of name, and the number of his decendants, with those of the former Elam, might excite a suspicion of the notice being inserted through a clerical error, were it not repeated in Nehemiah 7:34.

Verse 32

The children of Harim, three hundred and twenty.

The children of Harim - - [Septuagint, Vatican, Heelam; Alexandrine, Heeram]. This, if the name of a person, was probably taken from a place.

Verse 33

The children of Lod, Hadid, and Ono, seven hundred twenty and five.

The children of Lod, Hadid, and Ono - [Septuagint, Vatican, Lodadi; Alexandrine, Lodadid] - Lydda; Ludd (1 Chronicles 8:12: cf. Acts 9:32-38). "Hadid" (sharp), a Benjamite town, on a craggy mountain. Eusebius ('Onomast,' 'Adithaim') mentions it under the name of Aditha, as lying to the east of Lydda Diospolis) (Van de Velde, 'Syria and Palestine,' 1:, p. 444). "Ono" [Septuagint, Oonoo] (now Beit Unia), according to Winer ('Realworterbuch') - about three miles from Lydda. These three towns are commonly associated in the post-exilian history.

Verse 34

The children of Jericho, three hundred forty and five.

The children of Jericho - [Septuagint, Vatican, Ierichoo; Alexandrine, Iereichoo] (see the notes at Joshua 6:1-27; also 1 Kings 16:34.

Verse 35

The children of Senaah, three thousand and six hundred and thirty.

The children of Senaah - (cf. Nehemiah 3:3, where the article is prefixed.) It is probably the name of a place, Magdal-senna, the great Senna (Jerome, 'Onomast.,' voce 'Senna'), seven miles north of Jericho. The number recorded in connection with Senna being greatly in excess of other towns mentioned in the catalogue, suggested to Bertheau the probability of its being the name of a district.

Verse 36

The priests: the children of Jedaiah, of the house of Jeshua, nine hundred seventy and three.

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 24 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 Babylonian captivity; but these four courses were afterward, as the families increased, divided into 24, which were distinguished by the names of the original courses appointed by David. Hence, we find the course of Abijah or Abia (1 Chronicles 24:10) subsisting at the commencement of the Christian era (Luke 1:5).

The children of Jedaiah, of the house of Jeshua - appointed by lot head of the second priestly course (1 Chronicles 24:7), distinguished here by his family connection with Jeshua from another sacerdotal family of the name of Jedaiah (Nehemiah 12:6-7; Nehemiah 12:19).

Verse 37

The children of Immer, a thousand fifty and two. The children of Immer -- head of the 16th course (1 Chronicles 24:14: cf. Nehemiah 7:40 with Ezra 10:20).

Verse 38

The children of Pashur, a thousand two hundred forty and seven.

The children of Pashur - the son of Malchijah (Jeremiah 38:1). The chief of this family had, at the time of the restoration, become the head of a priestly course.

Verse 39

The children of Harim, a thousand and seventeen.

The children of Harim. He was the head of the third division of the priests (1 Chronicles 24:8).

Verse 40

The Levites: the children of Jeshua and Kadmiel, of the children of Hodaviah, seventy and four.

The children of Jeshua and Kadmiel. Jeshua had assigned him the presidency of the 9th course (1 Chronicles 24:11). "Kadmiel" - the existing head of the chief house of Hodariah or Judah (Ezra 3:9). Jeshua and Kadmiel were associated as overseers of the workmen (Ezra 3:9; Nehemiah 9:4-5; Nehemiah 10:9).

Verse 41

The singers: the children of Asaph, an hundred twenty and eight.

The singers: the children of Asaph. He was a leader in the temple choir (1 Chronicles 6:39), and this office seems to have continued hereditary in his family (1 Chronicles 25:1; 2 Chronicles 20:14).

Verse 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.

The children of the porters: the children of Shallum - (see the note at 1 Chronicles 9:18.)

Verse 43

The Nethinims: the children of Ziha, the children of Hasupha, the children of Tabbaoth,

The Nethinims - [Septuagint, Vatican, Nathinim; Alexandrine, Nathinaioi. The same version calls them (1 Chronicles 9:2) hoi dedomenoi, given to God (see the notes at Numbers 3:9; Numbers 8:19; Numbers 31:47; Joshua 9:27)]. They were the descendants of the Gibeonites, to whom, as devoted in a humble sphere to the divine service, the name of Nethinim, originally applied to the Levites, came in process of time to be assigned as their exclusive title. They were divided into several distinctive families (Winer, 'Handworterbuch,' 2:, sec. 175).

Verses 44-49

The children of Keros, the children of Siaha, the children of Padon,

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 50

The children of Asnah, the children of Mehunim, the children of Nephusim,

Mehunim ... Nephusim (a branch of Ishmael, 1 Chronicles 5:19). Mehunim ... Nephusim (a branch of Ishmael, 1 Chronicles 5:19).

Verses 51-52

The children of Bakbuk, the children of Hakupha, the children of Harhur,

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 53

The children of Barkos, the children of Sisera, the children of Thamah,

... Sisera - are other samples of non-Israelite names.

Verse 54

The children of Neziah, the children of Hatipha.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 55

The children of Solomon's servants: the children of Sotai, the children of Sophereth, the children of Peruda,

The children of Solomon's servants - the strangers, Canaanites, or original inhabitants of the land, whom that monarch enlisted in the building of the temple (1 Kings 9:20; 2 Chronicles 8:7). From their association with the Nethinim it may be inferred that, after having been reduced to a servile condition, they continued to assist the former in their services. It appears from the small number (Ezra 2:55) who returned, that most of the Nethinims, as well as of Solomon's servants, preferred to remain in Babylon to resume their former course of laborious servitude: and it was probably owing to this circumstance that the comparatively few of this humble class who did return are recorded as carefully and honourably as the priests and Levites.

Ziha. They had dwelt separately (Nehemiah 3:31), as well as had their own superintendents (Nehemiah 11:21); and, judging by this Canaanite name and others which follow, they were selected from their own body (cf. Nehemiah 7:46).

Verses 56-58

The children of Jaalah, the children of Darkon, the children of Giddel,

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 59

And these were they which went up from Telmelah, Telharsa, Cherub, Addan, and Immer: but they could not shew their father's house, and their seed, whether they were of Israel:

These were they which went up from Telmelah. [ teel (H8510) signifies a hill or mound, and hence, from the frequent mounds that formed a marked feature in Babylonia, it was prefixed to the names of many cities in that country. "Tel-melah" - i:e., hill of salt.]

Tel-harsa - or Tel-hareshah (Nehemiah 7:61), hill of the forest.

Cherub, Addan (or Addon, Nehemiah 7:61)

And Immer - places unknown in Babylonia. The returned exiles from these five Babylonian towns, as well as the descendants of the persons mentioned in Ezra 2:60, were unable, from want of an accurate genealogical register, to establish their Israelite pedigree.

Verse 60

The children of Delaiah, the children of Tobiah, the children of Nekoda, six hundred fifty and two.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 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:

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 62

These sought their register among those that were reckoned by genealogy, but they were not found: therefore were they, as polluted, put from the priesthood.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 63

And the Tirshatha said unto them, that they should not eat of the most holy things, till there stood up a priest with Urim and with Thummim.

And the Tirshatha said unto them, [ hatirshaataa' (H8660)] - 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 Persic word torsh, which means severe, and is equivalent to 'your severity,' 'your awfulness.'

That they should not eat of the most holy things, until there stood up a priest with Urim and with Thummim. Zerubbabel, apparently perplexed about such cases as those of priests being unable to prove their Aaronic descent, deferred his decision until God might be pleased to restore the divinely-instituted and long-established method of ascertaining His will, and in the meantime excluded them from performing their sacred functions. His language seems to imply that the Urim and Thummim had been continued until the captivity, and the re-establishment of that means of consulting God was eagerly and confidently anticipated.

But a very different view is taken by some of the Tirshatha's words. They are of opinion that, 'as Joshua, the high priest, already officiated, and might have been employed for consultation, just as Phinehas or Abiathar had formerly been, the reference in this passage is not to the Jewish pontiff, but to the Messiah, of whom he was an illustrious type. Though now excluded from all participation with their brethren in the rights and functions of their sacerdotal office, the time would come when all ceremonial distinctions should be abrogated by the introduction of the clear and perfect dispensation of the gospel, and all the members of the Church be on an equality with respect to the enjoyment of her immunities. This interpretation receives some degree of support from the declaration of Moses (Deuteronomy 33:8) (see Henderson, 'On Inspiration,' p. 123).

Verse 64

The whole congregation together was forty and two thousand three hundred and threescore,

The whole congregation together was forty and two thousand three hundred and threescore. This gross amount Isaiah 12:0 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. Ezra also mentions 494 persons omitted by Nehemiah, and Nehemiah mentions 1,765 not noticed 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 (Ezra 2:65), so that putting all these items together, the number of all who went with Zerubbabel amounted to 50,000, with 8,000 beasts of burden, (Alting, quoted in Davidson's 'Hermeneutics') (see further the notes at Nehemiah 7:1-73.)

Verses 65-67

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. No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 68

And some of the chief of the fathers, when they came to the house of the LORD which is at Jerusalem, offered freely for the house of God to set it up in his place:

Some of the chief of the fathers, when they came to the house of the Lord ... offered freely ... The sight of a place hallowed by the most endearing and sacred associations, but now lying in desolation and ruins, made the well-springs of their piety and patriotism gush out afresh; and before taking any active measures for providing accommodation to themselves and their families, the chief among them raised a large sum by voluntary contributions toward the restoration of the temple.

Verse 69

They gave after their ability unto the treasure of the work threescore and one thousand drams of gold, and five thousand pound of silver, and one hundred priests' garments.

Drams of gold - rather darics, a Persian coin (see the note at 1 Chronicles 29:7).

Priests' garments - (cf. 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 useable commodities, however singular it may seem to us, are in unison with the established notions and customs of the East.

Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Ezra 2". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jfu/ezra-2.html. 1871-8.
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