Ezra 2:68
And some of the chief of the fathers, when they came to the house of the LORD which is at Jerusalem, offered freely for the house of God to set it up in his place:
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(68) They came to the site of the house not yet built, and offered for the building.

Ezra 2:68. When they came to the house of the Lord — That is, to the place in which the temple had stood, and where the ruins still remained. Offered freely — Made a new offering, besides that which they had brought out of Babylon, from their brethren there, mentioned Ezra 1:4; Ezra 1:6. By this it appears that the Jews were not made absolute slaves in Babylon, but had liberty to trade and get riches for themselves; some of them being advanced to considerable offices in the king’s court. Otherwise they could not have been able to offer such sums as are mentioned in the next verse.2:64-70 Let none complain of the needful expenses of their religion. Seek first the kingdom of God, his favour and his glory, then will all other things be added unto them. Their offerings were nothing, compared with the offerings of the princes in David's time; yet, being according to their ability, were as acceptable to God. The Lord will carry us through all undertakings entered on according to his will, with an aim to his glory, and dependence on his assistance. Those who, at the call of the gospel, renounce sin and return to the Lord, shall be guarded and guided through all perils of the way, and arrive safely at the mansions provided in the holy city of God.The sum total is given without any variation by Ezra, by Nehemiah (see the marginal reference), and by Esdras (1 Esdras 5:41), who adds, that in this reckoning only those of twelve years of age and upward were counted.

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.

68. some of the chief of the fathers, when they came to the house of the Lord offered freely for the house of God, &c.—The sight of a place hallowed by the most endearing and sacred associations, but now lying in desolation and ruins, made the wellsprings of their piety and patriotism gush out afresh. Before taking any active measures for providing accommodation to themselves and their families, the chief among them raised a large sum by voluntary contributions towards the restoration of the temple. To the house of the Lord, i.e. to the ruins of the house; or to the place where that house stood. And some of the chief of the fathers, when they came to the house of the Lord that is at Jerusalem,.... That is, when they came to the place where it formerly stood, and where were still the ruins of it:

offered freely for the house of God, to set it up in its place; to rebuild it upon the spot where it formerly stood; this they did besides the freewill offerings they brought with them from Babylon.

And some of the chief of the fathers, when they came to the house of the LORD which is at Jerusalem, offered freely for the house of God to set it up in his place:
68. some of the chief of the fathers] R.V. some of the heads of fathers’ houses, see note on Ezra 1:5.

when they came to the house of the Lord which is at Jerusalem] i.e. on their arrival at Jerusalem, where they were to rebuild the Temple. ‘The house of the Lord’, the site and the building are identified by the writer; if still in ruins, the house was about to be rebuilt, cf. Ezra 1:4-5, Ezra 3:8-9. In the writer’s mind ‘the house of the Lord’ is always standing at Jerusalem.

offered freely] R.V. offered Willingly. There was no reason for the A.V. to alter the rendering given in Ezra 1:6. The freewill offering was offered willingly (see Ezra 3:5); the adverb ‘freely’ introduces an ambiguity.

to set it up] lit. ‘to cause it to stand’ = to restore; the expression recurs chap. Ezra 9:9.

68, 69. This passage is given in greater accuracy of detail in Nehemiah 7:70-72.Verse 68. - Some of the chief of the fathers. That is, "Some of the heads of families." Each family went up under a recognized head or chief, the number of such heads being, as it would seem, nearly a hundred (vers. 3-61). When they came to the house of the Lord. No doubt considerable ruins of Solomon's temple existed when the exiles returned, and were easily to be recognized, both by their situation and by the size of the stones employed (1 Kings 5:17). The place occupied by these rums was that whereto the emigrants flocked, and about which they, in the first instance, located themselves. Offered freely for the house of God, to set it up in its place. The first object of the returned exiles was the rebuilding of the temple, and their offerings were consequently given expressly towards the expenses of this costly work. Priests 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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