Ezra 1:11
All the vessels of gold and of silver were five thousand and four hundred. All these did Sheshbazzar bring up with them of the captivity that were brought up from Babylon unto Jerusalem.
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1:5-11 The same God that raised up the spirit of Cyrus to proclaim liberty to the Jews, raised up their spirits to take the benefit. The temptation was to some to stay in Babylon; but some feared not to return, and they were those whose spirits God raised, by his Spirit and grace. Whatever good we do, is owing to the grace of God. Our spirits naturally bow down to this earth and the things of it; if they move upward in any good affections or good actions, it is God who raises them. The calls and offers of the gospel are like the proclamation of Cyrus. Those bound under the power of sin, may be made free by Jesus Christ. Whosoever will, by repentance and faith, return to God, Jesus Christ has opened the way for him, and raises him out of the slavery of sin into the glorious liberty of the children of God. Many that hear this joyful sound, choose to sit still in Babylon, are in love with their sins, and will not venture upon a holy life; but some break through all discouragements, whatever it cost them; they are those whose spirit God has raised above the world and the flesh, whom he has made willing. Thus will the heavenly Canaan be filled, though many perish in Babylon; and the gospel offer will not have been made in vain. The bringing back the Jews from captivity, represents the redemption of sinners by Jesus Christ.The sum of the numbers as they stand in the present Hebrew text is 2,499, instead of 5,400. In the Apocryphal Book of Esdras the sum given is 5,469, and with this sum the items in that place exactly agree (1 Esdras 2:13, 14). Most commentators propose to correct Ezra by the passage of Esdras; but the items of Esdras are improbable. Probably the sum total in the present passage has suffered corruption. 11. All the vessels of gold and of silver were five thousand and four hundred—The vessels here specified amount only to the number of 2499. Hence it is probable that the larger vases only are mentioned, while the inventory of the whole, including great and small, came to the gross sum stated in the text.

them of the captivity that were brought up from Babylon unto Jerusalem—All the Jewish exiles did not embrace the privilege which the Persian king granted them. The great proportion, born in Babylon, preferred continuing in their comfortable homes to undertaking a distant, expensive, and hazardous journey to a desolate land. Nor did the returning exiles all go at once. The first band went with Zerubbabel, others afterwards with Ezra, and a large number with Nehemiah at a still later period.

No text from Poole on this verse.

All the vessels of gold, and of silver, were five thousand and four hundred,.... Those that are mentioned make no more than 2499, which Aben Ezra thinks were the larger vessels; but this general sum takes in great and small, as in 2 Chronicles 36:18 in the letter of Cyrus, before mentioned, these vessels are more particularly described, and their several numbers given, which together amount to the exact number in the text, 5400; the apocryphal Ezra makes them 5469:

all these did Sheshbazzar bring up with them of the captivity, that were brought up from Babylon unto Jerusalem: of whom there is a large and particular account in the following chapter.

All the vessels of gold and of silver were five thousand and four hundred. All these did Sheshbazzar bring up {k} with them of the captivity that were brought up from Babylon unto Jerusalem.

(k) With the Jews who had been kept captive in Babylon.

11. All the vessels, &c., five thousand and four hundred] It is natural to expect that the words ‘all the vessels’ would give us the sum total of the different figures mentioned in Ezra 1:9-10. The sum total however mentioned here is 5400. The vessels enumerated under the six classes (in Ezra 1:9-10), when added together, make only 2499. Unless we concede that the text is incorrect, the only solution of the variation is to suppose that Ezra 1:9-10 omit a large number of less important vessels. This is unsatisfactory, since the words ‘and other vessels a thousand’ are obviously intended to cover the remainder.

It is probable therefore that the discrepancy arises from some ancient corruption in the text, which has been caused by copyists’ errors in transcribing numbers. This is a frequent source of mistake.

The LXX. has the same text as the Hebrew, so that the error is of very ancient origin. The 1st Book of Esdras has two variations in the list of items, reading (1) ‘1000’ for ‘30’ ‘chargers of gold’, (2) ‘2410’ for ‘410’ ‘silver bowls’ (reading ‘2000’ instead of ‘a second sort’), and gives a total corresponding to its figures, i.e. 5469.

Some scholars, seeing in the variations of 1 Esdras a clue to the true solution, maintain that the corruption of the text is to be found in the figures both of the items and of the total (a) They reject the variation of ‘1000’ for ‘30’ chargers as a round number inserted by 1 Esdras; (b) they read ‘1000’ for ‘30’ ‘bowls of gold’, on the ground that 30 is too small a figure, since Ezra himself brought 20 of this description (Ezra 8:28); (c) they read ‘2410’ for ‘410 of a second sort,’ on the authority of 1 Esdras. These alterations bring the total to 5469, agreeing with 1 Esdras.

Ewald (a) combining the reading of Ezra and 1 Esdras reads ‘1030’ for ‘30’ ‘chargers’, (b) keeping the ‘30’ ‘bowls of gold’, accepts the 1 Esdras reading of 2410, and thus obtains the total of 5499.

Keil suspecting that the corruption is to be found in the sum total rather than in the items, suggests that by an accidental transposition of figures the true number of 2500 has become altered to 5400.

In favour of this view, it must be admitted that (1) the figure of 5400 is surprisingly large, (2) copyists had a greater tendency to increase than to reduce numbers. But as the items are given in detail, so we should expect the sum total to be given exactly and not merely in a round number. As we have the two best texts agreeing in this total figure 5400, it is better to look for the error among the items. The reading of 1 Esdras ‘2410’ may possibly be correct.

But in the absence of further evidence we are left to conjecture either that some items have accidentally fallen out or that some of the present figures have been wrongly transcribed.

with them of the captivity that were brought up] R.V. when they of the captivity were brought up. The original here is rather condensed. The versions failed to translate the passage. LXX. τὰ πάντα τὰ ἀναβαίνοντα [μετὰ Σασαβασσὰρ] ἀπὸ τῆς ἀποικίας ἐκ Βαβυλῶνος. Vulg. ‘universa tulit Sassabasar cum his, qui ascendebant de transmigratione Babylonis’.

The meaning of the clause is practically the same. But the more precise sense conveyed by the R.V. is the only right translation, i.e. that Sheshbazzar brought up the vessels at the time when ‘the captivity’ was brought up. The emphasis is on the time of the removal—not on the caravan which accompanied it.

were brought up] the same word used of the ‘breaking up’ of a camp in Jeremiah 37:11.

the captivity] the reader will notice that the journey of Sheshbazzar and his companions from Babylon to Jerusalem is disposed of in a single verse. We hear nothing of the details or of the difficulties of the journey, which must have lasted three or four months, cf. Ezra 7:8-9.

It has been suggested that here should be introduced the passage 1Es 5:1-6 ‘After this were the principal men of the families chosen according to their tribes, to go up with their wives and sons and daughters, with their menservants and maidservants and cattle. (2) And Darius sent with them a thousand horsemen, till they had brought them back to Jerusalem safely, and with musical [instruments] tablets and flutes. (3) And all their brethren played, and he made them go up together with them. (4) And these are the names of the men which went up, according to their families among their tribes, after their several heads. (5) The priests, the sons of Phinees, the son of Aaron: Jesus, the son of Josedec, the son of Saraias, and Joacim, the son of Zerobabel, the son of Salathiel, of the house of David, out of the kindred of Phares, of the tribe of Judah; (6) who spake wise sentences before Darius the king of Persia in the second year of his reign in the month Nisan which is the first month.’ The name Darius being taken as an error for Cyrus, and Ezra 1:5-6 being considered to be an interpolation, the passage would give us information as to (a) the orderly preparations, (b) the armed escort, for the expedition, (c) the festal character of the start, (d) the date of the departure, and would throw light upon ‘the seventh month’ mentioned in Ezra 3:1, and ‘the second year’ mentioned in Ezra 3:8.

The general style fairly corresponds with that of the books Ezra and Chronicles. But (a) it cannot be conceded that these verses join naturally on to chap. Ezra 2:1. (b) In the original context (1 Esdras 5) they have all the appearance of a gloss inserted to connect the legend of Darius and the Three young men (3, 4) with the resumption of the narrative (Ezra 5:7). (c) There is nothing impossible, supposing the passage to be a genuine extract from existing records, in such an expedition having been made in the second year of king Darius, and in supposing that the arrival of this priestly contingent would have encouraged the prophets Haggai and Zechariah in their task of arousing the people to complete the Temple (cf. the second year of Darius Haggai 1:1; Zechariah 1:1).

The journey, which would have probably been N. and N.W. along the Euphrates by Haran as far as the fords of Carchemish, and then S.W. and S. through the territory of the old kingdoms of Hamath, Syria and Samaria, must have occupied a considerable interval of time. Ezra and his band took four months (ch. Ezra 7:8-9) in accomplishing the same distance. Perhaps no record was preserved of the incidents of the journey, and the compiler passes on to subjects for which he had written materials to draw from.

Verse 11. - All the vessels were five thousand and four hundred. The numbers previously given produce a total of only 2499, or less than half of this amount. There must be some corruption, but whether in the total or the items is uncertain. The apocryphal Esdras raises the total number of the vessels to 5469.

Ezra 1:11"All the vessels of gold and of silver were five thousand and four hundred." But only 30 + 1000 אנרטלים, 29 מחלפים, 30 + 410 covered goblets, and 1000 other vessels are enumerated, making together 2499. The same numbers are found in the lxx. Ancient interpreters reconciled the difference by the supposition that in the separate statements only the larger and more valuable vessels are specified, while in the sum-total the greater and lesser are reckoned together. This reconciliation of the discrepancy is, however, evidently arbitrary, and cannot be justified by a reference to 2 Chronicles 36:18, where the taking away of the greater and lesser vessels of the temple at the destruction of Jerusalem is spoken of. In Ezra 1:11 it is indisputably intended to give the sum-total according to the enumeration of the separate numbers. The difference between the two statements has certainly arisen from errors in the numbers, for the correction of which the means are indeed wanting. The error may be supposed to exist in the sum-total, where, instead of 5400, perhaps 2500 should be read, which sum may have been named in round numbers instead of 2499.

(Note: Ewald (Gesch. iv. p. 88) and Bertheau think they find in 1 Esdr. 2:12, 13, a basis for ascertaining the correct number. In this passage 1000 golden and 1000 silver σπονδεῖα, 29 silver θυΐ́σκαι, 30 golden and 2410 silver φιάλαι, and 1000 other vessels, are enumerated (1000 + 10000 + 29 + 30 + 2410 + 1000 equals 5469); while the total is said to be 5469. But 1000 golden σπονδεῖα bear no proportion to 1000 silver, still less do 30 golden φιάλαι to 2410 silver. Hence Bertheau is of opinion that the more definite statement 30, of the Hebrew text, is to be regarded as original, instead of the first 1000; that, on the other hand, instead of the 30 golden כּפורים, 1000 originally stood in the text, making the total 5469. Ewald thinks that we must read 1030 instead of 1000 golden אגרטלים (σπονδεῖα), and make the total 5499. In opposition to these conjectures, we prefer abiding by the Hebrew text; for the numbers of 1 Esdras are evidently the result of an artificial, yet unskilful reconciliation of the discrepancy. It cannot be inferred, from the fact that Ezra subsequently, at his return to Jerusalem, brought with him 20 golden כּפורים, that the number of 30 such כּפורים given in this passage is too small.)

הגּולה העלות עם, at the bringing up of the carried away, i.e., when they were brought up from Babylon to Jerusalem. The infinitive Niphal העלות, with a passive signification, occurs also Jeremiah 37:11.

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