The children of the porters: the children of Shallum, the children of Ater, the children of Talmon, the children of Akkub, the children of Hatita, the children of Shobai, in all an hundred thirty and nine.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)The children of the porters.—The porters, or gatekeepers, number six families, three of which appear in the old Jerusalem (1Chronicles 9:17).
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.1 Chronicles 23:3. The children of the porters: the children of Shallum, the children of Ater, the children of Talmon, the children of Akkub, the children of Hatita, the children of Shobai, in all an hundred thirty and nine.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)42. the porters] so also R.V.; although it is noteworthy that having substituted ‘door-keepers’ for ‘porters’ (A.V.) in 1 Chronicles 26:1, the R.V. has not for the sake of consistency made a similar alteration here, the word in Hebrew being the same in both instances. The door-keepers mentioned here and in 1 Chronicles 26:1-19 are Levites: possibly the name ‘porters’ was preserved to distinguish the Levitical attendants from the priestly door-keepers (or more literally ‘keepers of the threshold’) mentioned in 2 Kings 25:18, Jeremiah 35:4. Compare Psalm 84:10 ‘I had rather be a doorkeeper in (marg.: ‘stand at the threshold of’) the house of my God’.
The names are clearly the names of households or courses, since Shallum, Akkub and Talmon are mentioned in 1 Chronicles 9:17, and Akkub and Talmon are referred to in Nehemiah 11:19.Verse 42. - The porters. Six families of doorkeepers returned; three of which bear old names, those of Shallum, Talmon, and Akkub (1 Chronicles 9:17), while the other three have names that are new to us. One hundred and thirty-nine. The smallness of this and the two preceding numbers is remarkable. While the returning priests numbered 4289, the returning Levites of all classes were no more than 341 (350, Nehemiah). It would seem as if some jealousy of the priests, like that which animated Korah and his followers (Numbers 16:1-10), must have grown up during the captivity (comp. below, Ezra 8:15). Nehemiah 7:39-42. These are:
The sons of Jedaiah, of the house of Jeshua 973 The sons of Immer 1052 The sons of Pashur 1247 The sons of Harim 1017 Total 4289
Jedaiah is the head of the second order of priests in 1 Chronicles 24:7. If, then, Jedaiah here represents this order, the words "of the house of Jeshua" must not be applied to Jeshua the high priest; the second order belonging in all probability to the line of Ithamar, and the high-priestly race, on the contrary, to that of Eleazar. We also meet the name Jeshua in other priestly families, e.g., as the name of the ninth order of priests in 1 Chronicles 24:11, so that it may be the old name of another priestly house. Since, however, it is unlikely that no priest of the order from which the high priest descended should return, the view that by Joshua the high priest is intended, and that the sons of Jedaiah were a portion of the house to which Joshua the high priest belonged, is the more probable one. In this case Jedaiah is not the name of the second order of priests, but of the head of a family of the high-priestly race. Immer is the name of the sixteenth order of priests, 1 Chronicles 24:14. Pashur does not occur among the orders of priests in 1 Chronicles 24; but we find the name, 1 Chronicles 9:12, and Nehemiah 11:12, among the ancestors of Adaiah, a priest of the order of Malchijah; the Pashur of Jeremiah 20 and Jeremiah 21:1-14 being, on the contrary, called the son of Immer, i.e., a member of the order of Immer. Hence Bertheau considers Pashur to have been the name of a priestly race, which first became extensive, and took the place of an older and perhaps extinct order, after the time of David. Gershom of the sons of Phinehas, and Daniel of the sons of Ithamar, are said, Daniel 8:2, to have gone up to Jerusalem with Ezra, while the order to which they belonged is not specified. Among the priests who had married strange wives (Ezra 10:18-22) are named, sons of Jeshua, Immer, Harim, Pashur; whence it has been inferred "that, till the time of Ezra, only the four divisions of priests here enumerated had the charge of divine worship in the new congregation" (Bertheau). On the relation of the names in Ezra 2:36-39 to those in Nehemiah 10:3-9 and Nehemiah 12:1-22, see remarks on these passages.
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