The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Ezra 2

Ezr 2:2

NEHEMIAH: The same man listed in Neh 7:7, but not the more well-known Nehemiah (who flourished about 80 years later).

Ezr 2:36

Vv 36-39: Only 4 of the original 24 "courses" returned. By lot, the 4 were expanded to 24 again. Note: Zechariah was not of the family of Abia, but of the course of Abia by appointment (Luk 1:5) (Temple 86,87).

Ezr 2:43

THE TEMPLE SERVANTS: Or "Nethinim" (AV). They are said specifically to be those "whom David and the princes had appointed for the service of the Levites" (Ezr 8:20), thus indicating both their realm of activity and their historical origin. In most of the occurrences they are listed with and after the Levites (cf 1Ch 9:2; Ezr 7:7; Neh 7:73). Because of this reference to the activity of David and their being joined with Solomon's servants (Ezr 2:58; Neh 7:60; cf 1Ki 9:21) and the foreign names that they bear, it has been thought that they were foreigners, mostly captives of war, put into this service. For example, Mehunim (Ezr 2:50; Neh 7:52) may refer to those overcome by Uzziah (2Ch 26:7). Nephusim (Ezr 2:50; Neh 7:52) may refer to the Hagarite clan of Naphish (Gen 25:15; 1Ch 5:19). Because of the similarity of duty, some have sought their background in the Gibeonites, "hewers of wood and drawers of water for the house of my God" (Jos 9:23,27) and also in the Midianites (Num 31:30,47). The correlation is probably no more than that of similarity of service, not direct relationship. Whatever may be the roots of their origin, they were treated as part of the people of God, at least as proselytes (Neh 10:28...). They are mentioned by name in the OT in post-Exilic times. From Babylon 612 returned, 392 with Zerubbabel (Ezr 2:58: Neh 7:60) a count which includes "the children of Solomon's servants") and 220 with Ezra (Ezr 8:20) as "ministers for the house of our God" from the place Casiphia (Ezr 8:17) "in the seventh year of Artaxerxes the king (Ezr 7:7). Like other sacred ministers, they were exempted from taxation (Ezr 7:24).

Ezr 2:63

GOVERNOR: "Tirshatha" in KJV. Simply sig "governor" in Persian, and refers here to Nehemiah (Neh 8:9).

Ezr 2:64

THE WHOLE COMPANY NUMBERED 42,360: A reconciliation of Ezra's numbers (Ezr 2:64) with Nehemiah's numbers (Neh 7:66):
* The totals in Ezra: Men of Israel: 24,144; priests: 4,289; Levites, singers, etc: 341; temple servants 392; men of unproven origin: 652. Total of 29,818.
* The totals in Nehemiah: 25,406 (vv 5-38) + 4,289 (vv 39-42) + 360 (vv 43-45) + 392 (vv 46-60) + 642 (vv 61,62) = 31,089.
* Ezra: 29,818 (from Ezr 2), plus 1,765 (others, in Neh) = 31,583.
* Nehemiah: 31,089 (from totals of Neh 7), plus 494 (others, in Ezr) = 31,583.
* The 31,583, plus 10,777 (possibly from other ten tribes) = 42,360 (the total congregation: cp Ezr 2:64 and Neh 7:66).

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