Ezra 2:36
The priests: the children of Jedaiah, of the house of Jeshua, nine hundred seventy and three.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(36) The priests: the children of Jedaiah.—The priests are then given by family names, their numbers being very large in proportion to each of the other classes. Three only of David’s priestly courses are represented (1Chronicles 24:7-8; 1Chronicles 24:14); Pashur, a name mentioned elsewhere as the name of a priestly race, not being among the twenty-four in the Chronicles.

Of the house of Jeshua.—A peculiar expression, seeming to indicate merely that the present high priest belonged to the race of Jedaiah, who, in that case, is not the same as the head of the second order in the Chronicles, unless indeed he sprang from the high-priestly family of Eleazar.

Ezra 2:36. The priests — Having numbered the people that went of Judah and Benjamin, he proceeds now to the tribe of Levi, and first mentions the priests.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.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.

36-39. The priests—Each of their families was ranged under its prince or head, like those of the other tribes. It will be remembered that the whole body was divided into twenty-four courses, one of which, in rotation, discharged the sacerdotal duties every week, and each division was called after the name of its first prince or chief. It appears from this passage that only four of the courses of the priests returned from the Babylonish captivity; but these four courses were afterwards, as the families increased, divided into twenty-four, which were distinguished by the names of the original courses appointed by David [1Ch 23:6-13]. Hence we find the course of Abijah or Abia (1Ch 24:10) subsisting at the commencement of the Christian era (Lu 1:5). No text from Poole on this verse. The priests,.... An account of them is given in this and the three following verses, and only four families are mentioned, those of Jedaiah, Immer, Pashur, and Harim, and the number of them amounted to 4289; these, according to the Jews, were heads of four courses, which were all that returned from Babylon (u).

(u) T. Hieros. Taanioth, fol. 68. 1.

The {g} priests: the children of Jedaiah, of the house of Jeshua, nine hundred seventy and three.

(g) Before he has declared the two tribes of Judah and Benjamin, and now comes to the tribe of Levi and begins at the priests.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
36. the children of Jedaiah, of the house of Jeshua] In the 24 Priestly houses enumerated in 1 Chronicles 24:7-18, the house of Jedaiah stands second.

The words ‘of the house of Jeshua’ have been differently explained. (a) It has been considered to refer to a very ancient house from which sprang two branches, the family of Jedaiah mentioned here and 1 Chronicles 24:7, and the family of Jeshua mentioned as the ninth priestly house in 1 Chronicles 24:11. (b) The Jeshua here spoken of is considered to be the High-priest; ‘the sons of Jedaiah were a portion of the house to which J. the high-priest belonged … Jedaiah is not the name of the second order of priests, but of the head of a family of the high-priestly race (Keil).

(c) But as the name of Jedaiah is followed by that of Immer, the sixteenth priestly house (1 Chronicles 24:14), it is more natural to suppose that ‘the children of Jedaiah’ were members of the second priestly house. The explanation of the passage is supplied by the similar twofold genealogical reference given in Ezra 2:6; Ezra 2:16. The house is mentioned first and then follows its limitation to a special branch or family.

Here the house is the priestly house of Jedaiah; the branch or family is that of Jeshua. This Jeshua belonged probably to some former generation, but gave his name to a particular branch of the house of Jedaiah.

The difficulty occasioned by this verse has arisen from the desire to identify this Jeshua with the High-priest and from the mistake of supposing that the names of the heads of families were necessarily the companions of Zerubbabel instead of being rather the distinctive names of clans.

36–39. The names and numbers of the houses of the priests correspond exactly in the three registers.Verse 36. - The priests. Four priestly families went up with Zerubbabel. Of these, three traced their descent to persons who had been heads of the priestly courses in the reign of David, viz., Jedaiah, Immer, and Hardin (1 Chronicles 24:7, 8, 14). The other family had for founder a priest named Pashur, who was not otherwise distinguished. The numbers assigned to the priests by Ezra are identical with those in Nehemiah (Nehemiah 7:39-42). Jedaiah, of the house of Jeshua. To whose house, that is, Jeshua, the existing high priest, belonged. Hence, no doubt, the precedency given to the house of Jedaiah, which numerically was the least important. List of the houses and families of the people. Comp. Nehemiah 7:8-38. - To show the variations in names and numbers between the two texts, we here place them side by side, the names in Nehemiah being inserted in parentheses.

Ezra II Ezra II Nehemiah 7 1. The Sons of Parosh 2172 2172 2. The Sons of Shephatiah 372 372 3. The Sons of Arah 775 652 4. The Sons of Pahath Moab, of the sons of Joshua and Joab 2812 2818 5. The Sons of Elam 1254 1254 6. The Sons of Zattu 945 845 7. The Sons of Zaccai 760 760 8. The Sons of Bani (Binnui) 642 648 9. The Sons of Bebai 623 628 10. The Sons of Azgad 1222 2322 11. The Sons of Adonikam 666 667 12. The Sons of Bigvai 2056 2067 13. The Sons of Adin 454 655 14. The Sons of Ater of Hezekiah 98 98 15. The Sons of Bezai 323 324 16. The Sons of Jorah (Harif) 112 112 17. The Sons of Hashum 223 328 18. The Sons of Gibbar (Gibeon) 95 95 19. The Sons of Bethlehem 123 123 20. The Men of Netophah 56 56 21. The Men of Anathoth 128 128 22. The Sons of Azmaveth (men of Beth-azmaveth) 42 42 23. The Sons of Kirjath-arim, Chephirah, Beeroth 743 743 24. The Sons of Ramah and Gaba 621 621 25. The Men of Michmas 122 122 26. The Men of Bethel and Ai 223 123 27. The Sons of Nebo (Acher) 52 52 28. The Sons of Magbish 156 wanting 29. The Sons of other Elam 1254 1254 30. The Sons of Harim 320 320 31. The Sons of Lod, Hadid, Ono 725 721 32. The Sons of Jericho 345 345 33. The Sons of Senaah 3630 3930 Total 24,144 25,406

The differences in the names are unimportant. In Ezra 2:6 the ו copulative inserted between the names ישׁוּע and יואב, both in Nehemiah and 1 Esdras, is wanting; the name בּני (Ezra 2:10) is written בּנּוּי in Nehemiah (Nehemiah 7:15); for יורה (Ezra 2:18), Nehemiah 7:24 has חריף, evidently another name for the same person, Jorah having a similarity of sound with יורה, harvest-rain, and חריף with חרף, harvest; for נּבּר (Ezra 2:20), Nehemiah 7:25 more correctly read גּבעון, the name of the town; and for ערים קרית (Ezra 2:25), Nehemiah 7:29 has the more correct form יערים קרית: the sons of Azmaveth (Ezra 2:24) stands in Nehemiah as the men of Beth-azmaveth; while, on the other hand, for the sons of Nebo (Ezra 2:29), we have in Nehemiah (Nehemiah 7:33) the men of Nebo Acher, where אחר seems to have been inserted inadvertently, Elam Acher so soon following.

(Note: This view is more probable than the notion of Dietrich, in A. Merx, Archiv fr wissensch. Forschung des A. T., No. 3, p. 345, that by the addition אחר in Nehemiah, the Nebo in Judah is distinguished from the Nebo in Reuben.)

The names Bezai, Jorah, and Hashum (Ezra 2:17-19) are transposed in Nehemiah (Nehemiah 7:22-24) thus, Hashum, Bezai, and Harif; as are also Lod, etc., and Jericho, (Ezra 2:33, Ezra 2:34) into Jericho and Lod, etc. (Nehemiah, vv. 36, 37). Lastly, the sons of Magbish (Ezra 2:30) are omitted in Nehemiah; and the sons of Bethlehem and the men of Netophah (Ezra 2:21 and Ezra 2:22) are in Nehemiah (Nehemiah 7:26) reckoned together, and stated to be 188 instead of 123 + 56 equals 179. A glance at the names undoubtedly shows that those numbered 1-17 are names of races or houses: those from 18-27, and from 31-33, are as certainly names of towns; there, therefore, inhabitants of towns are named. This series is, however, interrupted by Nos. 28-30; Harim being undoubtedly, and Magbish very probably, names not of places, but of persons; while the equality of the number of the other, Elam 1254, with that of Elam (No. 6), seems somewhat strange. To this must be added, that Magbish is wanting both in Nehemiah and 2 Esdras, and the other Elam in 1 Esdras; while, in place of the sons of Harim 320, we have in 1 Esdr. 5:16, in a more appropriate position, υἱοὶ Ἀρομ 32. Hence Bertheau infers that Nos. 28 and 29, sons of Magbish and sons of Elam Acher (vv. 30 and 31), are spurious, and that Harim should be written Ἀρώμ, and inserted higher up. The reasons for considering these three statements doubtful have certainly some weight; but considering the great untrustworthiness of the statements in the first book of Esdras, and the other differences in the three lists arising, as they evidently do, merely from clerical errors, we could not venture to call them decisive.

Of the names of houses or races (Nos. 1-17 and 30), we meet with many in other lists of the time of Ezra and Nehemiah;

(Note: In the list of those who went up with Ezra (Ezra 8), the sons of Parosh, Pahath-Moab, Adin, Elam, Shephatiah, Joab, Bebai, Azgad, Adonikam, Bigvai, and, according to the original text (Ezra 8:8, Ezra 8:10), also the sons of Zattu and Bani. In the lists of those who had taken strange wives (Ezra 10) we meet with individuals of the sons of Parosh, Elam, Zattu, Bebai, Bani, Pahath-Moab, Harim, Hashum, and of the sons of Nebo. Finally, in the lists of the heads of the people in the time of Nehemiah (Nehemiah 10:15.) appear the names of Parosh, Pahath-Moab, Elam, Zattu, Bani, Azgad, Bebai, Bigvai, Adin, Ater, Hashum, Bezai, Harif, Harim, Anathoth, together with others which do not occur in the list we are not treating of.)

whence we perceive, (1) that of many houses only a portion returned with Zerubbabel and Joshua, the remaining portion following with Ezra; (2) that heads of houses are entered not by their personal names, but by that of the house. The names, for the most part, descend undoubtedly from the time anterior to the captivity, although we do not meet with them in the historical books of that epoch, because those books give only the genealogies of those more important personages who make a figure in history. Besides this, the genealogies in Chronicles are very incomplete, enumerating for the most part only the families of the more ancient times. Most, if not all, of these races or houses must be regarded as former inhabitants of Jerusalem. Nor can the circumstance that the names given in the present list are not found in the lists of the inhabitants of Jerusalem (1 Chronicles 9 and Nehemiah 11) be held as any valid objection; for in those lists only the heads of the great races of Judah and Benjamin are named, and not the houses which those races comprised. The names of cities, on the other hand (Nos. 18-33), are for the most part found in the older books of the Old Testament: Gibeon in Joshua 9:3; Bethlehem in Ruth 1:2; Micah 5:1; Netophah, 2 Samuel 23:28 - see comm. on 1 Chronicles 2:54; Anathoth in Joshua 21:18; Jeremiah 1:1; Kirjath-jearim, Chephirah, and Beeroth, as cities of the Gibeonites, in Joshua 9:17; Ramah and Geba, which often occur in the histories of Samuel and Saul, also in Joshua 18:24-25; Michmash in 1 Samuel 13:2, 1 Samuel 13:5; Isaiah 10:28; Bethel and Ai in Joshua 7:2; and Jericho in Joshua 5:13, and elsewhere. All these places were situate in the neighbourhood of Jerusalem, and were probably taken possession of by former inhabitants or their children immediately after the return. Azmaveth or Beth-azmaveth (Nehemiah 7:28) does not occur in the earlier history, nor is it mentioned out of this list, except in Nehemiah 12:29, according to which it must be sought for in the neighbourhood of Geba. It has not, however, been as yet discovered; for the conjecture of Ritter, Erdk. xvi. p. 519, that it may be el-Hizme, near Anta, is unfounded. Nor can the position of Nebo be certainly determined, the mountain of that name (Numbers 32:3) being out of the question. Nob or Nobe (1 Samuel 21:2) has been thought to be this town. Its situation is suitable; and this view is supported by the fact that in Nehemiah 11:31., Nob, and not Nebo, is mentioned, together with many of the places here named; in Ezra 10:43, however, the sons of Nebo are again specified. As far as situation is concerned, Nuba, or Beit-Nuba (Robinson's Biblical Researches, p. 189), may, as Bertheau thinks, correspond with this town. Magbish was by many older expositors regarded as the name of a place, but is certainly that of a person; and no place of such a name is known. The localities Lod, Hadid, and Ono (Ezra 2:33) first occur in the later books of the Old Testament. On Lod and Ono, see comm. on 1 Chronicles 8:12. חדיד is certainly Ἀδιδά (1 Macc. 12:28, 13:13), not far from Lydda, where there is still a place called el-Hadithe, Arab. 'l-hdı̂th (Robinson's Biblical Researches, p. 186). סנאה, Ezra 2:35, is identified by older expositors with Σεννά, ν͂ν Μαγδαλσεννά, which Jerome describes as terminus Judae, in septimo lapide Jerichus contra septentrionalem plagam (Onom. ed. Lars. et Parth. p. 332f.); in opposition to which, Robinson, in his above-cited work, identifies Magdal-Senna with a place called Mejdel, situate on the summit of a high hill about eighteen miles north of Jericho. The situation, however, of this town does not agree with the distance mentioned by Eusebius and Jerome, and the name Mejdel, i.e., tower, is not of itself sufficient to identify it with Magdal-Senna. The situation of the Senaah in question is not as yet determined; it must be sought for, however, at no great distance from Jericho. Of the towns mentioned in the present list, we find that the men of Jericho, Senaah, and Gibeon, as well as the inhabitants of Tekoa, Zanoah, Beth-haccerem, Mizpah, Beth-zur, and Keilah, assisted at the building of the walls of Jerusalem under Nehemiah (Nehemiah 3:2-3, Nehemiah 3:7). A larger number of towns of Judah and Benjamin is specified in the list in Nehemiah 11:25-35, whence we perceive that in process of time a greater multitude of Jews returned from captivity and settled in the land of their fathers.

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