Paul Kretzmann Commentary - Ezra 8:1 - 8:20

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Paul Kretzmann Commentary - Ezra 8:1 - 8:20

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This Chapter Verse Commentaries:

The Assembling of the Company

v. 1. These are now the chief of their fathers, the oldest living heads or fathers of the descendants in one family, and this is the genealogy of them that went up with me from Babylon, in the reign of Artaxerxes the king. The register of families according to father-houses, under the leadership of Ezra, is now given.

v. 2. of the sons of Phinehas: Gershom; of the sons of Ithamar: Daniel,
these being of priestly descent; of the sons of David, direct descendants of the great king: Hattush.

v. 3. Of the sons of Shechaniah, of the sons of Pharosh: Zechariah; and with him were reckoned by genealogy of the males an hundred and fifty

v. 4. of the sons of Pahath-moab: Elihoenai, the son of Zerahiah, and with him two hundred males.

v. 5. of the sons of Shechaniah: the son of Jahaziel, and with him three hundred males.

v. 6. of the sons also of Adin: Ebed, the son of Jonathan, and with him fifty males.

v. 7. And of the sons of Elam; Jeshaiah the son of Athaliah, and with him seventy

v. 8. And of the sons of Shephatiab: Zebadiah, the son of Michael, and with him fourscore males.

v. 9. of the sons of Joab,
treated separately here, probably because only a small number of them had returned with Zerubbabel, Ezr_2:6 : Obadiah, the son of Jehiel, and with him two hundred and eighteen males.

v. 10. And of the sons of Shelomith: the son of Josiphiah, and with him an hundred and threescore males.

v. 11. And of the Sons of Bebai: Zechariah, the son of Bebai, and with him twenty and eight males.

v. 12. And of the sons of Azgad: Johanan, the son of Hakkatan, and with him an hundred and ten males.

v. 13. And of the last sons of Adonikam, whose names are these: Eliphelet, Jeiel, and Shemaiah, and with them threescore males.

v. 14. of the sons also of Bigvai: Uthai and Zabbud
(or Zaccur), and with them seventy males. The number of males enumerated in this list amounts to 1,764, so that the caravan, including women and children, may easily have been six thousand strong.

v. 15. And I gathered them together to the river that runneth to Ahava,
a place or region on one of the canals of Mesopotamia communicating with the Euphrates; and there abode we in tents three days, after the Oriental custom, which gave the leader of the caravan a chance to arrange it in proper order and to appoint his assistants. And I viewed the people and the priests and found there none of the sons of Levi, the ordinary Levites.

v. 16. Then sent I for Eliezer, for Arid, for Shemaiah, and for Elnathan, and for Jarib, and for Elnathan, and for Nathan, and for Zechariah, and for Meshullam, chief men,
heads of little communities; also for Joiarib and for Elnathan, men of understanding, teachers among the people.

v. 17. And I sent them,
undoubtedly by virtue of the authority vested in him, with commandment unto Iddo, the chief at the place Casiphia, this being either the name of a place between Ahava and Babylon or the designation of an office, that of treasurer to the king, and I told them what they should say unto Iddo, putting the very words of their commission into their mouths, and to his brethren, the Nethinim, at the place Casiphia, that they should bring unto us ministers for the house of our God. It seems evident from this statement that the Jews had kept their religious organization in Babylon at that time for more than a century, almost a hundred and fifty years, and had also enjoyed the privilege of free worship, even the Nethinim, who were beneath the Levites in the tasks of the Temple, having maintained their identity.

v. 18. And by the good hand of our God upon us,
by a special manifestation of His merciful kindness, they brought us a man of understanding, of the sons of Mahli, the son of Levi, the son of Israel; and Sherebiah, with his sons and his brethren, eighteen;

v. 19. and Hashabiah, and with him Jeshaiah of the sons of Merari, his brethren and their sons, twenty;

v. 20. also of the Nethinim, whom David and the princes had appointed for the service of the Levites,
to assist the Levites in the lower and more menial tasks of the Temple, two hundred and twenty Nethinim; all of them were expressed by name. It is a strange fact that even the freedom from taxes did not induce' more men of the tribe of Levi to join the company of Ezra at once. The prosperity of this world often results in a reduced amount of zeal for the welfare of God's kingdom.