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EZRA CHAPTER 2
The number of the people that returned, Ezra 2:1-35;
and of the priests, Ezra 2:36-39;
of the Levites, Ezra 2:40;
of the singers, Ezra 2:41;
of the porters, Ezra 2:42;
of the Nethinims, Ezra 2:43-54;
and of Solomon’s servants, Ezra 2:55-60.
Concerning the priests that could not show their pedigree, Ezra 2:61-3.
The whole number of them and their substance, Ezra 2:64-67.
Their oblations, Ezra 2:68-70.
The children of the province, i.e. the Israelites, called the children of the province, either,
1. Of Babylon, of which province we oft read, as Ezra 7:16; Daniel 2:48; Daniel 3:1,Daniel 3:2,Daniel 3:30, called the province by way of eminency; of which they are called children, because of their birth and habitation in it for a long time, it being usual to call the inhabitants of any city or place its children. Or rather,
2. Of Judea, called a province, Ezra 5:8. And he calls it thus emphatically, to mind himself and his brethren of that sad change which their sins had made among them, that from an illustrious, independent, and formidable kingdom, were fallen to be an obscure, servile, and contemptible province, first under the Chaldeans, and now under the Persians. Every one unto his city; either unto those cities or towns which belonged to their several ancestors; or rather, to those which were now allotted to them, and from this time possessed by them. For their former cities were either demolished. or possessed by other persons, which they were not now in a capacity of disturbing.
As for this catalogue, it differs in some names and numbers from that Nehemiah 7:0, which might be from divers causes, partly because several names were given to one and the same person; and partly because of the many changes which might happen in the same families between the time of the first making of this catalogue by Ezra, and the making of it anew so many years as that catalogue, Nehemiah 7:0, was made after the former.
i.e. The posterity (as that word is for the most part, if not constantly, taken in this catalogue) that descended either from Parosh, or from that family whereof Parosh was the chief. And so for the rest.
In Nehemiah 7:10, they were only six hundred and fifty-two. It seems seven hundred and seventy-five marched out of Babylon, or gave in their names that they would go; but some of them died, others changed their minds, others were hindered by sickness, or other casualties, happening to themselves or near relations; and so there came only six hundred and fifty-two to Jerusalem. And the like is to be said in the like differences; which it suffices to hint once for all.
Of Jeshua and Joab, or of Jeshua-joab, as the former was Palath-moab.
Of Ater the son
of Hezekiah, not the king, but another famous person so called.
Either of a man called
Beth-lehem, or the Beth-lehemite, by way of eminency; or of the place so called. And so these were the remainders of the inhabitants of that city. And the like may be said of the two following names, Netophah and Anathoth, or others of the like nature.
Kirath-arim, or Kirjath-jearim, as it is Nehemiah 7:29.
The head of one of the twenty-four courses which David appointed, 1 Chronicles 24:8; of all which courses, some observe, here are not above four or five that returned. There is another Harim mentioned above, Ezra 2:32, but that was no priest as this was, Ezra 2:35.
The Nethinims; the persons devoted to the inferior services of the priests and Levites; of whom see 1 Chronicles 9:2.
The children of Solomon’s servants; either of those strangers and proselytes whom Solomon used in the building of the temple, 1 Kings 9:21, to the service of which, as some add, he devoted them, as there should be occasion hereafter; or others who had lived in Solomon’s family, and after his death called themselves and their families by that name, as esteeming it, a great honour to them that they had been servants to so great a prince.
Tel-mela, Tel-harsa; the names of the places whence they came, and where they had lived in the time of their captivity.
Cherub, Addan, and Immer; the names either of the heads of the families living in the places last mentioned, or of other places where the persons here understood had dwelt.
To wit, Barzillai; which name he preferred before that of his own family, accounting it, as it seems, a greater honour to be allied to so noble a family, than to be a priest of the Lord. But by this ambition he deprived himself of the honour and advantage of the priesthood, as it is here noted, Ezra 2:62.
The Jews were generally very exact and careful in their genealogies, partly from their own choice and interest, that they might preserve the distinctions of the several tribes and families, which was necessary both to make out their claims or titles to offices or inheritances, which might belong to them by death, or otherwise, as here we see, and to govern themselves thereby in the matter of marriages, and some other things wherein the practice of some laws required the knowledge of these things; and partly by the special providence of God, that so it might be certainly known of what tribe and family the Messiah was born. For as they took care of all their families, so doubtless they took a more punctual and singular care about the royal family, upon which all their hopes depended.
The Tirshatha, i.e. the governor, to wit, Zerubbabel; whence Nehemiah also is so called, Nehemiah 8:9; Nehemiah 10:1.
Till there stood up a priest with Urim and with Thummim; that this point, which could not be found out by any human skill or industry, might be determined by Divine direction. Hereby it appears that the Urim and Thummim were lost in the destruction of the city and temple, though the Jews fed themselves with hopes of recovering them, but in vain. Of the Urim and Thummim, see Exodus 28:30 Numbers 27:21; 1 Samuel 23:9.
The particular sums here recited come only 29,818; unto whom are added in this total sum, 12,542; which either were of the other tribes beside Judah and Benjamin, or were such as were supposed by themselves and others to be Israelites, but could not prove their pedigree by their genealogies, and therefore could not be so punctually and particularly described as the former.
For women as well as men were devoted to and employed in this exercise in the temple service, as appears from 1 Chronicles 25:5,1 Chronicles 25:6. And the parents of these persons had taken care to instruct and exercise them as far as they could in this art, both for God’s service, and for their own benefit, when Jerusalem and the temple should be rebuilt; which they knew would be done after Jeremiah’s seventy years were expired.
To the house of the Lord, i.e. to the ruins of the house; or to the place where that house stood.
A dram of gold is supposed to be of the weight of the fourth part of a shekel, and of the value of a French crown.
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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Ezra 2". Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 8 / Ordinary 13