|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
7:5-73 Nehemiah knew that the safety of a city, under God, depends more upon the inhabitants than upon its walls. Every good gift and every good work are from above. God gives knowledge, he gives grace; all is of him, and therefore all must be to him. What is done by human prudence, must be ascribed to the direction of Divine Providence. But woe to those who turn back from the Lord, loving this present world! and happy those who dedicate themselves, and their substance, to his service and glory!
Verse 66. - The whole congregation together was forty and two thousand three hundred and threescore. It makes against the view of Bishop Patrick and others, who regard Ezra's list as made at Babylon, some time before the final departure, and Nehemiah's as made at Jerusalem, after the arrival of the exiles, that the sum total is in each case the same (see Ezra 2:64). Bishop Kennicott's theory, that the three lists - that of Ezra, that of Nehemiah, and that in the first of Esdras - had all one original, and that the existing differences proceed entirely from mistakes of the copyists, is the only tenable one. It is especially remarkable that the differences in the numbers of the three lists consist chiefly in a single unit, a single ten, or a single hundred - or in a five; less often in two units, or two tens, or two hundreds, or in a six - differences probably arising from the obliteration of one or two signs in a notation resembling the Roman or the Egyptian, where there are special signs for a thousand, a hundred, ten, five, and the unit, complex numbers being expressed by repetition of these, as 3438 in Latin inscriptions by MMMCCCCXXXVIII. Any fading of a sign in such a notation as this causes a copyist to diminish the amount by one, five, ten, a hundred, a thousand, etc. A fading of two sigmas may produce a diminution of two thousand, two hundred, twenty, two; or again of eleven hundred, one hundred and ten, one hundred and five, fifteen, eleven, six, and the like.
Nehemiah 7:66 Parallel Commentaries
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