Ezra 2:2
Which came with Zerubbabel: Jeshua, Nehemiah, Seraiah, Reelaiah, Mordecai, Bilshan, Mispar, Bigvai, Rehum, Baanah. The number of the men of the people of Israel:
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(2) Which came with Zerubbabel: Jeshua.—The leaders of the people, perhaps the twelve tribes, are represented by twelve names, one of which, Nahamani, is here wanting; three others are given in slightly different forms.

Ezra 2:2. Which came with Zerubbabel: Jeshua, Nehemiah, &c. — These were their heads, who undertook to conduct them: among whom Zerubbabel was their prince or leader, as Jeshua was high-priest, who is mentioned next to him. Nehemiah, whose name follows, is not the person whose book comes after this: for he did not go to Judea now, but afterward; or, if he did, he returned to Babylon again. The number of the men of the people — This is a kind of title to the following verses. This catalogue differs in some names and numbers from that Nehemiah 7., which might be, because several names were given to the same persons; and because of the many changes which might happen in the same families between the time of the first making of this catalogue by Ezra, and the making it anew so many years after.

2:1-35 An account was kept of the families that came up out of captivity. See how sin lowers a nation, which righteousness would exalt!The province - Judaea was no longer a kingdom, but a mere "province" of Persia. "The children of the province" are the Israelites who returned to Palestine, as distinct from those who remained in Babylonia and Persia.

Every one unto his city - That is, to the city whereto his forefathers had belonged. Of course, in the few cases where this was not known Ezra 2:59-62, the plan could not be carried out.

Two other copies of the following list have come down to us - one in Nehemiah 7:7-69, and the other in 1 Esdras 5:8-43. All seem to have been taken from the same original document, and to have suffered more or less from corruption. Where two out of the three agree, the reading should prevail over that of the third.

2. Which came with Zerubbabel—He was the chief or leader of the first band of returning exiles. The names of other influential persons who were associated in the conducting of the caravans are also mentioned, being extracted probably from the Persian archives, in which the register was preserved: conspicuous in the number are Jeshua, the high priest, and Nehemiah. As for this catalogue, it differs in some names and numbers from that Ne 7, which might be from divers causes, partly because several names were given to one and the same person; and partly because of the many changes which might happen in the same families between the time of the first making of this catalogue by Ezra, and the making of it anew so many years as that catalogue, Ne 7, was made after the former.

Which came with Zerubbabel,.... The head of them, the prince of Judah; and the chief that came with him are the ten following; Jeshua, Nehemiah, Seraiah, Reelaiah, Mordecai, Bilshan, Mispar, Bigvai, Rehum, Baanah; the first of these, Jeshua, was Joshua the high priest, the son of Josedech, Haggai 1:1. Dr. Lightfoot (s) thinks that Nehemiah is the same, whose name the following book bears; and that Mordecai is he who was uncle to Esther, so Aben Ezra; but, if so, they must both return again; for that Nehemiah came to Jerusalem in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes, Nehemiah 1:1, and that Mordecai brought up his niece in the city of Shushan, in the times of Ahasuerus, is certain; and this, with respect to both, is denied by others (t), who take them to be different men of the same name; and the same writer is of opinion that Seraiah, and who is called Azariah, Nehemiah 7:7 is the same with Ezra, who therefore must and did return, since he went up to Jerusalem in the seventh year of Artaxerxes, Ezra 7:1, as for the others, we know nothing more of them than their names:

the number of the men of the people of Israel; either of the principal of them before named, or of the common people, which next follows.

(s) Works, vol. 1. p. 127. So Broughton, Works, p. 258. (t) Vid. Rainold. de Libr. Apocryph. Praelect. 111, 117, 148.

Which came with {b} Zerubbabel: Jeshua, Nehemiah, Seraiah, Reelaiah, {c} Mordecai, Bilshan, Mispar, Bigvai, Rehum, Baanah. The number {d} of the men of the people of Israel:

(b) Zerubbabel was chief captain and Joshua the high priest: but Nehemiah a man of great authority did not come now, but came after 64 years.

(c) This was not the Mordecai who was Esther's kinsman.

(d) Meaning, of the common people.

2. which came with Zerubbabel:] Better punctuate as R.V. ‘with Zerubbabel,’. Those referred to are the main subject of Ezra 2:1, ‘the children of the province, &c.’, and are here described as coming with Zerubbabel and his companions.

Zerubbabel] (i.e. ‘begotten in Babylon’, or ‘the seed of Babylon’) is said to be an Assyrian name. The grandson of Jehoiachin, Zerubbabel was the representative of David’s dynasty (see 1 Chronicles 3:16 &c.). He is generally called ‘the son of Shealtiel’ (see note on 1 Chronicles 3:2), but the genealogy in 1 Chron. (1 Chronicles 3:19) represents him as the son of Pedaiah. He is called ‘the son of Shealtiel’ either as Shealtiel’s nephew and heir, or as Shealtiel’s legal son, Pedaiah having contracted a Levirate marriage with Shealtiel’s widow.

On the identity of Zerubbabel and Sheshbazzar see note on Ezra 1:8.

Jeshua] is a shortened form of Jehoshua or Joshua, used in Nehemiah 8:17 for the name of ‘the son of Nun’. The Jeshua here spoken of (and Ezra 3:2; Ezra 3:8; Ezra 4:3) is the Joshua mentioned in Haggai 1:1; Haggai 1:12; Haggai 1:14; Haggai 2:2; Haggai 2:4; Zechariah 3:1; Zechariah 3:3; Zechariah 3:6; Zechariah 6:2. He is the High-priest of the Return from the Captivity, being the son of Jehozadak, and grandson of the Seraiah whom Nebuchadnezzar put to death at Riblah after the destruction of Jerusalem, cf. 2 Kings 25:18-21; Jeremiah 52:24-27 (b.c. 586). See the genealogy of ‘the sons of Levi’ in 1 Chronicles 6:1-15.

Nehemiah] not to be confounded with the better known Nehemiah, who rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem 90 years later, 445 b.c.

Seraiah] = Azariah, Nehemiah 7:7.

Reelaiah] = Raamiah, Nehemiah 7:7.

Mordecai] not to be identified with the Mordecai of the book Esther.

Mizpah] A.V. transliterates incorrectly, making the form of the word to resemble the common Hebrew name of a place. R.V. Mispar correctly; for which compare ‘Mispereth’, Nehemiah 7:7.

Rehum] = Nehum, Nehemiah 7:7.

The names (including Zerubbabel) here recorded are 11 in number. The parallel passage in Nehemiah gives 12 names, that of Nahamani occurring between Reelaiah and Mordecai, and this is supported by the mention of 12 names in 1Es 5:8, where Euenius corresponds to Nahamani.

Ezra (A.V.)

  Nehemiah 7:7 (A.V.)

  1Es 5:8 (A.V.)
























Mizpah (Mispar, R.V.)












It is most probable that the name of Nahamani has dropped out of our text by an early error of transcription. The mention then of 11 names along with that of Zerubbabel suggests the idea that the attempt was made to revive the old subdivision of the people and to group the members of two tribes under twelve representative princes in the same way as four classes of priests were afterwards re-divided into twenty-four. The idea of the twelve tribes conveyed the thought of Israel’s totality and unity (a) in the days of the divided monarchy, cf. Elijah, 1 Kings 18:31; (b) at the dedication of the second Temple, Ezra 6:17; (c) at the return of Ezra and his company, cf. Ezra 8:35; (d) in the later days of Judaism, e.g. Acts 26:7; James 1:1; Revelation 7:4-8.

The number of the men of the people of Israel] These words form a heading for the register of names to the close of Ezra 2:35. They point forward and not back. It was an awkward mistake of arrangement to include the sentence in Ezra 2:2. It should commence Ezra 2:3; compare the headings in Ezra 2:36; Ezra 2:40-43; Ezra 2:55. Observe the name ‘the people of Israel’ applied here to the laity as a class distinct from ‘priests’ and ‘Levites’, cf. Ezra 6:16.

(a) It will be seen that the most important variations in the figures occur with the children of Arah (Ezra 2:5), Zattu (Ezra 2:8), Azgad (Ezra 2:12), Adin (Ezra 2:15), Hashum (Ezra 2:19), Bethel and Ai (Ezra 2:28), Senaah (Ezra 2:35); while ‘the children of Magbish’ (Ezra 2:30) are not mentioned in Nehemiah. The variations in the figures are probably due to errors of transcription from the original copy of the register.

(b) The text of Ezra seems to be purer than that of Nehemiah, while that of Esdras is inferior to both.

Upon the text of Ezra 2:31-32 see below.

Verse 2. - Zerubbabel, Jesbua, etc. In the corresponding verse of Nehemiah (Nehemiah 7:7) there are twelve names, one of which (it is probable) has accidentally fallen out here. The twelve are reasonably regarded as either the actual heads of the twelve tribes, or at any rate as representing them. Notwithstanding the small number among the returned exiles who belonged to other tribes than those of Judah, Benjamin, and Levi, there was a manifest wish on the part of the chiefs to regard the return as in some sort that of all the tribes (see Ezra 2:70; Ezra 6:17; Ezra 8:35, etc.). The number of the men. The lists in Nehemiah and the apocryphal Esdras differ in many details, and furnish strong evidence of the corruption to which numbers are liable from the mistakes of copyists, and the facility of error when there is no check from the context. Of the forty-two numbers here given by Ezra (vers. 3-60), as many as eighteen differ from the corresponding numbers in Nehemiah. The difference, however, is mostly small; and even the sum of the differences is trivial (see comment on ver. 64). Ezra 2:2The title. - "These are the children of the province that went up out of the captivity, of the carrying away (i.e., of those which had been carried away), whom Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon had carried away unto Babylon, and who returned to Jerusalem and Judah, every one to his city." In Nehemiah 7:6 לבבל is omitted, through an error of transcription caused by the preceding בּבל; and וליהוּדה stands instead of ויהוּדה, which does not, however, affect the sense. המּדינה is the province whose capital was Jerusalem (Nehemiah 11:3), i.e., the province of Judaea as a district of the Persian empire; so Ezra 5:8; Nehemiah 1:2. The Chethiv נבוכדנצור is similar to the form Nebucadrezor, Jeremiah 49:28, and is nearer to the Babylonian form of this name than the usual biblical forms Nebucadnezzar or Nebucadrezzar. For further remarks on the various forms of this name, see on Daniel 1:1. They returned "each to his city," i.e., to the city in which he or his ancestors had dwelt before the captivity. Bertheau, on the contrary, thinks that, "though in the allotment of dwelling-places some respect would certainly be had to the former abode of tribes and families, yet the meaning cannot be that every one returned to the locality where his forefathers had dwelt: first, because it is certain (?) that all memorial of the connection of tribes and families was frequently obliterated, comp. below, Nehemiah 7:61-64; and then, because a small portion only of the former southern kingdom being assigned to the returned community, the descendants of dwellers in those towns which lay without the boundaries of the new state could not return to the cities of their ancestors." True, however, as this may be, the city of each man cannot mean that "which the authorities, in arranging the affairs of the community, assigned to individuals as their domicile, and of which they were reckoned inhabitants in the lists then drawn up for the sake of levying taxes," etc. (Bertheau). This would by no means be expressed by the words, "they returned each to his own city." We may, on the contrary, correctly say that the words hold good potiori, i.e., they are used without regard to exceptions induced by the above-named circumstance. אשׁר־בּאוּ, Ezra 2:2, corresponds with the העלים of Ezra 2:1; hence in Nehemiah 7:7 we find also the participle בּאים. They came with Zerubbabel, etc., that is, under their conduct and leadership. Zerubbabel (Ζοροβάβελ, זרבּבל or זרוּבבל, probably abbreviated from בּבל זרוּע, in Babylonia satus seu genitus) the son of Shealtiel was a descendant of the captive king Jehoiachin (see on 1 Chronicles 3:17), and was probably on account of this descent made leader of the expedition, and royal governor of the new settlement, by Cyrus. Jeshua (ישׁוּע, the subsequently abbreviated form of the name Jehoshua or Joshua, which is used Nehemiah 8:17 also for Joshua the son of Nun, the contemporary of Moses) the son of Josedech (Hagg. Jos 1:1), and the grandson of Seraiah the high priest, who was put to death by Nebuchadnezzar at Riblah, was the first high priest of the restored community; see on 1 Chronicles 6:15. Besides those of Zerubbabel and Joshua, nine (or in Nehemiah more correctly ten) names, probably of heads of families, but of whom nothing further is known, are placed here. 1. Nehemiah, to be distinguished from the well-known Nehemiah the son of Hachaliah, Nehemiah 1:1; 2. Seraiah, instead of which we have in Nehemiah 7:7 Azariah; 3. Reeliah, in Nehemiah, Raamiah; 4. Nahamani in Nehemiah, Εὐηνέος in 1 Esdras 5:8, omitted in the text of Ezra; 5. Mordecai, not the Mordecai of the book of Esther (Esther 2:5.); 6. Bilshan; 7. Mispar, in Nehemiah Mispereth; 8. Bigvai; 9. Rehum, in 1 Esdras Ροΐ́μος; 10. Baanah. These ten, or reckoning Zerubbabel and Joshua, twelve men, are evidently intended, as leaders of the returning nation, to represent the new community as the successor of the twelve tribes of Israel. This is also unmistakeably shown by the designation, the people of Israel, in the special title, and by the offering of twelve sin-offerings, according to the number of the tribes of Israel, at the dedication of the new temple, Ezra 6:16. The genealogical relation, however, of these twelve representatives to the twelve tribes cannot be ascertained, inasmuch as we are told nothing of the descent of the last ten. Of these ten names, one meets indeed with that of Seraiah, Nehemiah 10:3; of Bigvai, in the mention of the sons of Bigvai, Ezra 8:14; of Rehum, Nehemiah 3:17; Nehemiah 12:3; and of Baanah, Nehemiah 10:28; but there is nothing to make the identity of these persons probable. Even in case they were all of them descended from members of the former kingdom of Judah, this is no certain proof that they all belonged also to the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, since even in the reign of Rehoboam pious Israelites of the ten tribes emigrated thither, and both at and after the destruction of the kingdom of the ten tribes, many Israelites might have taken refuge and settled in Judah. The last words, Ezra 2:2, "The number of the men of the people of Israel," contain the special title of the first division of the following list, with which the titles in Ezra 2:36, Ezra 2:40, Ezra 2:43, and Ezra 2:55 correspond. They are called the people of Israel, not the people of Judah, because those who returned represented the entire covenant people.
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