|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
2:36-63 Those who undervalue their relation to the Lord in times of reproach, persecution, or distress, will have no benefit from it when it becomes honourable or profitable. Those who have no evidence that they are, by the new birth, spiritual priests unto God, through Jesus Christ, have no right to the comforts and privileges of Christians.
Verse 63. - The Tirshatha. As "Shesh-bazzar" was the Babylonian name of Zerub-babel (Ezra 1:8), so "the Tirshatha" seems to have been his Persian title. The word is probably a participial form from tars or tarsa, "to fear," and means literally "the Feared." It is used only by Ezra and Nehemiah (Nehemiah 7:65; Nehemiah 8:9). Haggai calls Zerubbabel uniformly pechah, "governor (Haggai 1:1, 14; Haggai 2:2, 21). They should not eat of the most holy things. The priests' portion of the offerings, called "most holy" in Leviticus 2:2, 10, is intended. Of this no "stranger" might eat (ibid. 22:10). Till there stood up a priest with Urim and Thummim. Zerubbabel evidently expected that the power of obtaining direct answers from God by means of the Urim and Thummim, whatever they were (see note on Exodus 28:30), which had existed in the pre-captivity Church, would be restored when the Church was re-established in its ancient home. The doubt whether the families of Habaiah and Coz (or Haccoz) belonged to the priestly class or no might then be resolved. But Zerubbabel's expectation was disappointed. The gift of Urim and Thum-mira, forfeited by disobedience, was never recovered.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And the Tirshatha said unto them,.... By whom Jarchi understands Nehemiah, and observes, that their rabbins say he was so called, because the wise men allowed him to drink the wine of the Gentiles, he being cupbearer to the king; but Aben Ezra, with greater probability, takes it to be a name of honour and grandeur in the Chaldee language, as a prince or governor; and no doubt Zerubbabel is meant, the prince of the Jews, the same with Sheshbazzar, Ezra 1:8 according to Gussetius (w), this office was the same with that of the king's commissary in a province, delegated to carry his orders, make them known, and see them put in execution; and that this name Tirshatha is the same with Tithraustes in Aelian (x); but that seems to be not the title of an office, but the personal name of a man that was a chiliarch:
that they should not eat of the most holy things; as of the shewbread, and those parts of the sin offerings, and of the peace offerings and meat offerings, which belonged to the priests, which the governor forbid these to eat of, who were rejected from the priesthood:
till there stood up a priest with Urim and Thummim; as yet there was not any priest that had them; they were not to be found at the return from Babylon; the governor might hope they would be found, and a priest appear clothed with them, when it might be inquired of the Lord by them, whether such priests, before described, might eat of the holy things or not; but since the Jews (y) acknowledge that these were one of the five things wanting in the second temple; it is all one, as the Talmudists (z) express it, as if it had been said, until the dead rise, or the Messiah comes; and who is come, the true High Priest, and with whom are the true Urim and Thummim, lights and perfections to the highest degree, being full of grace and truth; of the Urim and Thummim; see Gill on Exodus 28:30.
(w) Ebr. Comment. p. 809. (x) Var. Hist. l. 1. c. 21. Vid. Corn. Nep. Vit. Conon. l. 9. c. 3.((y) T. Bab. Yoma, fol. 21. 2.((z) T. Bab. Sotah, fol. 48. 2. & Gloss. in Kiddushin, fol. 60. 2.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
63. Tirshatha—a title borne by the Persian governors of Judea (see also Ne 7:65-70; 8:9; 10:1). It is derived from the Persian torsh ("severe"), and is equivalent to "your severity," "your awfulness."
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