Ezra 2:40
The Levites: the children of Jeshua and Kadmiel, of the children of Hodaviah, seventy and four.
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(40) The Levites: the children of Jeshua.—Then follow the Levitical families, not priests: that is, the Levites proper, the singers, the door-keepers or porters. Of the first there were only two families, and these are both traced up to one, that of Hodaviah or Judah (Ezra 3:9) or Hodevah (Nehemiah 7:43). The hereditary choristers are also few: of the families of Asaph, Heman, and Jeduthun the first alone is represented. Nehemiah makes their number twenty more; but 1 Esdras agrees with the text of Ezra.

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 Levites,.... Singers and porters, who are reckoned in this, and the two following verses, whose numbers were no more than three hundred and forty one; whereas, in the times of David, they were 38,000, 1 Chronicles 23:3. The Levites: the children of Jeshua and Kadmiel, of the children of Hodaviah, seventy and four.
40. the children of Jeshua and Kadmiel, of the children of Hodaviah] The occurrence of these names in Nehemiah 10:9 shows that, as throughout this list, we have here the titles of families, not necessarily the names of Zerubbabel’s contemporaries. In chap. Ezra 3:9 Jeshua and Kadmiel are mentioned as leading Levites.

of the children of Hodaviah] ‘Hodaviah’ appears as ‘Judah’ in Ezra 3:9 and as ‘Hodevah’ in Nehemiah 7:43.

Some apply these words, ‘of the children of Hodaviah’, to both Jeshua and Kadmiel, making them both branches of the more ancient but otherwise unknown family of Hodaviah: others to ‘Kadmiel’ alone, in order to distinguish this Kadmiel from others of the same name. The decision must turn upon our explanation of Ezra 3:9 (see note),—and on the whole it seems best to regard the clause as belonging to Kadmiel especially, and as signifying a closer limitation of that family. Thus the Levites comprised the family of Jeshua and those members of the Kadmiel family who belonged to the Hodaviah branch.

40–42. The Levites are here arranged in the same way as in the 1st Book of Chronicles, i.e. into (1) Levites proper (cf. 1 Chronicles 24:20-31). (2) Singers (cf. 1 Chronicles 25). (3) Doorkeepers (cf. 1 Chronicles 26:1-19. See Introduction, § 7.

The small number (i.e. 431 in all) of the Levites is very striking by the side of the 4289 priests. Upon the backwardness of the Levites to return to Jerusalem compare note on chap. Ezra 8:15, and see Introduction.

Verse 40. - The Levites. The non-priestly Levites are divided into three classes: -

1. Ordinary Levites (ver. 40);

2. Choral Levites (ver. 41);

and Levites descended from those who had had the charge of the temple gates (ver. 42). Compare 1 Chronicles 24:20-31; 1 Chronicles 25, and 1 Chron 26:1-19. Of the first class, only two families seem to have returned - those of Jeshua and Kadmiel, both of which traced their descent to a certain Hodaviah, or Judah (Ezra 3:9). Ezra 2:40Levites, Nethinim, and Solomon's servants. Comp. Nehemiah 7:43-60.

Ezra Neh. Levites: the sons of Jeshua and Kadmiel, of the sons of Hodivah 74 74 Singers: sons of Asaph 128 148 Sons of the door-keepers; sons of Shallum, Ater. Etc. 139 138 Nethinim and servants of Solomon, in all 392 392 Total 733 752

The Levites are divided into three classes: Levites in the stricter sense of the word, i.e., assistants of the priests in divine worship, singers, and door-keepers; comp. 1 Chronicles 24:20-31, 1 Chronicles 24:25, and 26:1-19. Of Levites in the stricter sense are specified the sons of Jeshua and Kadmiel of the sons of Hodaviah (וקדמיאל, and הודויה of our text are evidently correct readings; and לקדמיאל and הודיה, Keri להודיּה, Nehemiah 7:43, errors of transcription). The addition, "of the sons of Hodaviah," belongs to Kadmiel, to distinguish him from other Levites of similar name. Jeshua and Kadmiel were, according to Ezra 3:9, chiefs of two orders of Levites in the times of Zerubbabel and Joshua. These names recur as names of orders of Levites in Nehemiah 10:10. We do not find the sons of Hodaviah in the lists of Levites in Chronicles.

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