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)Their register among those that were reckoned by genealogy.—Better, their record, or the record of the Enregistered.
but they were not found; their names were not there, nor any account taken of them: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 2:45, 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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