Their camels, four hundred thirty and five; their asses, six thousand seven hundred and twenty.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
It is curious that the total 42,360, is so greatly in excess of the items. Ezra's items make the number 29,818; Nehemiah's 31,089, Esdras, 33,950. The original document was probably illegible in places, and the writers were forced to make omissions.Their camels, four hundred thirty and five; their asses, six thousand seven hundred and twenty.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)67. camels] The camel is mentioned in the O.T. chiefly as the beast of burden of nomad families and races, e.g. Ishmaelites (Genesis 37:25), Midianites and Amalekites (Jdg 6:5; 1 Samuel 30:17). It would be the most serviceable of all beasts for the long journey from Babylon, on account of its great endurance and its capacity for carrying heavy weights.
The camel here spoken of is probably of Arabian breed. It is what we should call the ‘dromedary’ or one-humped camel.
Camels would be in frequent use in Babylon. Several Assyrian sculptures have been preserved in which we may see that the camel then as now was the favourite beast both of merchants and of robbers (Job 1:17).
asses] Here and in Nehemiah the number is 6720, in 1Es 5:43 it is 5525. The ass was the commonest best of burden. Unlike the horse, mule and camel, it seems from the earliest times to have been bred in Palestine. Its endurance for a long journey is greater than that of the horse. But it is not so serviceable for work in waterless regions as the mule or the camel. Asses are mentioned along with camels and horsemen in Isaiah’s prophecy of the fall of Babylon (Isaiah 21:7).
These four beasts of burden are mentioned in the same order in Zechariah 14:15. The horses and mules would be ridden by the wealthier, asses by the poorer classes. The camels and asses would carry the baggage.Verse 67. - Their asses. The ass (we see) is still, as in the earlier times, the chief beast of burden employed by the Israelites. Horses are rare, camels and mules still rarer; but most emigrant families had, it would seem, one ass (comp. 1 Samuel 8:16; 1 Chronicles 27:30; Isaiah 30:6).
CHAPTER 2:68-70 THE OFFERINGS MADE BY THE RETURNED EXILES ON THEIR ARRIVAL AT JERUSALEM (vers. 68-70). It has been customary among the pious of all ages and countries to make thank-offerings to the Almighty on the accomplishment of any important or dangerous work. The long journey of the exiles from Babylonia to Jerusalem involved considerable risk (see Ezra 8:22, 31), and its successful termination naturally called forth their gratitude. The character of the offerings made is indicative of the fact, otherwise probable, that the exiles had turned all that they possessed into money, and had brought to Jerusalem a considerable amount of coin. 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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