Ezra 2:62
These sought their register among those that were reckoned by genealogy, but they were not found: therefore were they, as polluted, put from the priesthood.
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(62) Their register among those that were reckoned by genealogy.—Better, their record, or the record of the Enregistered.

Polluted.—Levitically disqualified.

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.Tel-melah, Tel-harsa, Cherub, Addan, and Immer, were probably cities, or villages, of Babylonia, at which the Jews here spoken of had been settled. The first and third have been reasonably identified with the Thelme and Chiripha of Ptolemy. Of the rest, nothing is known at present. 61, 62. the children of Barzillai—He preferred that name to that of his own family, deeming it a greater distinction to be connected with so noble a family, than to be of the house of Levi. But by this worldly ambition he forfeited the dignity and advantages of the priesthood. The Jews were generally very exact and careful in their genealogies, partly from their own choice and interest, that they might preserve the distinctions of the several tribes and families, which was necessary both to make out their claims or titles to offices or inheritances, which might belong to them by death, or otherwise, as here we see, and to govern themselves thereby in the matter of marriages, and some other things wherein the practice of some laws required the knowledge of these things; and partly by the special providence of God, that so it might be certainly known of what tribe and family the Messiah was born. For as they took care of all their families, so doubtless they took a more punctual and singular care about the royal family, upon which all their hopes depended. These sought their register among those that were reckoned by genealogy,.... To find their names written and registered there; for the Jews kept public registers of their priests, their descent, marriages, and offspring, that it might be known who were fit, and who not, to officiate as such:

but they were not found; their names were not there, nor any account taken of them:

therefore were they, as polluted, put from the priesthood; were not suffered to attend at the altar, and offer sacrifice, and enjoy the privileges belonging to that office.

These sought their register among those that were reckoned by genealogy, but they were not found: therefore were they, as polluted, put from the priesthood.
62. these sought their register &c.] Literally ‘These sought their writing (LXX. γραφὴν αὐτῶν), the enrolled’, i.e. they searched for their genealogy in the priestly book, which went by the name of ‘The Enrolled’, or as we should now call it ‘The Register’. Compare ‘the writing (mrg. ‘register’) of the house of Israel’ in Ezekiel 13:9, where the same word is used in the original.

therefore were they, as polluted, put from the priesthood] R.V. therefore were they deemed polluted and put from the priesthood. The margin Heb. ‘they were polluted from the priesthood’ gives the literal, rendering. To be declared polluted was equivalent to being excluded from any active part in the office and administration of the priesthood. They were to be accounted ‘polluted’, until their claim could be established.

The importance attached to the genealogical accuracy of the claims preferred to the priesthood is not only a symptom of the legal spirit which animated the Jews of the Return. It goes back to the abolition of the High Places firstly by Hezekiah and afterwards by Josiah, in consequence of which a sharp distinction was drawn between those who had ministered at the High Places and those who were engaged in the Temple worship at Jerusalem. This point is illustrated by the writings of Ezekiel, himself a priest, who writing during the Captivity distinguishes between ‘the priests the Levites that be of the seed of Zadok’ (Ezekiel 43:19; cf. Ezekiel 40:46, Ezekiel 44:14, Ezekiel 48:11) and the ‘Levites that went astray’ (Ezekiel 44:10; Ezekiel 44:13; Ezekiel 44:15, Ezekiel 48:11).The Nethinim, i.e., temple-bondsmen, and the servants of Solomon, are reckoned together, thirty-five families of Nethinim and ten of the servants of Solomon being specified. The sum-total of these amounting only to 392, each family could only have averaged from eight to nine individuals. The sons of Akkub, Hagab and Asnah (Ezra 2:45, Ezra 2:46, and Ezra 2:50), are omitted in Nehemiah; the name Shalmai (Ezra 2:46) is in Nehemiah 7:48 written Salmai; and for נפיסים, Ezra 2:50, Nehemiah 7:52 has נפושׁסים, a form combined from נפוּסים and נפישׁים. All other variations relate only to differences of form. Because Ziha (ציהא, Ezra 2:43) again occurs in Nehemiah 11:21 as one of the chiefs of the Nethinim, and the names following seem to stand in the same series with it, Bertheau insists on regarding these names as those of divisions. This cannot, however, be correct; for Ziha is in Nehemiah 11:21 the name of an individual, and in the present list also the proper names are those of individuals, and only the sons of Ziha, Hasupha, etc., can be called families or divisions. Plural words alone, Mehunim and Nephisim, are names of races or nations; hence the sons of the Mehunim signify individuals belonging to the Mehunim, who, perhaps, after the victory of King Uzziah over that people, were as prisoners of war made vassals for the service of the sanctuary. So likewise may the sons of the Nephisim have been prisoners of war of the Ishmaelite race נפישׁ. Most of the families here named may, however, have been descendants of the Gibeonites (Joshua 9:21, Joshua 9:27). The servants of Solomon must not be identified with the Canaanite bond-servants mentioned 1 Kings 9:20., 2 Chronicles 8:7., but were probably prisoners of war of some other nation, whom Solomon sentenced to perform, as bondsmen, similar services to those imposed upon the Gibeonites. The sons of these servants are again mentioned in Nehemiah 11:3. In other passages they are comprised under the general term Nethinim, with whom they are here computed. Among the names, that of הצּבים פּכרת (Ezra 2:57), i.e., catcher of gazelles, is a singular one; the last name, אמי, is in Nehemiah 7:59 אמון.
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