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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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(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.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
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).

Ezra 2:62Priests who could not prove themselves members of the priesthood. Comp. Nehemiah 7:63-65. - Three such families are named: the sons of Habaiah, the sons of Hakkoz, the sons of Barzillai. These could not discover their family registers, and were excluded from the exercise of priestly functions. Of these three names, that of Hakkoz occurs as the seventh order of priests; but the names alone did not suffice to prove their priesthood, this being also borne by other persons. Comp. Nehemiah 3:4. The sons of Barzillai were the descendants of a priest who had married a daughter, probably an heiress (Num), of Barzillai the Gileadite, so well known in the history of David (2 Samuel 17:27; 2 Samuel 19:32-39; 1 Kings 2:7), and had taken her name for the sake of taking possession of her inheritance (the suffix שׁמם refers to בּנות; see on Numbers 27:1-11). That by contracting this marriage he had not renounced for himself and his descendants his priestly privileges, is evident from the fact, that when his posterity returned from captivity, they laid claim to these privileges. The assumption, however, of the name of Barzillai might have cast such a doubt upon their priestly origin as to make it necessary that this should be proved from the genealogical registers, and a search in these did not lead to the desired discovery. כּתבם is their ספר יחשׂ, Nehemiah 7:5, the book or record in which their genealogy was registered. The title of this record was המּתיחשׁים, the Enregistered: the word is in apposition to כּתבם, and the plural נמצאוּ agrees with it, while in Nehemiah 7:64 the singular נמצא agrees with כתבם. They were declared to be polluted from the priesthood, i.e., they were excluded from the priesthood as polluted or unclean. The construction of the Pual יגאלוּ with מן is significant.
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