Ezra 3:9
Then stood Jeshua with his sons and his brothers, Kadmiel and his sons, the sons of Judah, together, to set forward the workmen in the house of God: the sons of Henadad, with their sons and their brothers the Levites.
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(9) TogetherAs one man. Jeshua and Kadmiel, both of the stock of Judah, or Hodaviah (Ezra 2:40), or Hodevah (Nehemiah 7:43), were the two heads of Levitical families; and their fewness is compensated by their unanimity and vigour. Henadad is not mentioned in Ezra 2:40, though it is a Levitical name in Nehemiah. Why omitted there, or why inserted here, it is not possible to determine.

Ezra 3:9. Then stood Jeshua with his sons — This person was not the high- priest, so called, but a Levite, of whom see Ezra 2:40. To set forward the workmen — To encourage them to a cheerful and vigorous prosecution of the work.3:8-13 There was a remarkable mixture of affections upon laying the foundation of the temple. Those that only knew the misery of having no temple at all, praised the Lord with shouts of joy. To them, even this foundation seemed great. We ought to be thankful for the beginnings of mercy, though it be not yet perfect. But those who remembered the glory of the first temple, and considered how far inferior this was likely to be, wept with a loud voice. There was reason for it, and if they bewailed the sin that was the cause of this melancholy change, they did well. Yet it was wrong to cast a damp upon the common joys. They despised the day of small things, and were unthankful for the good they enjoyed. Let not the remembrance of former afflictions drown the sense of present mercies.Jeshua - See the marginal reference. Not the high priest, but the head of one of the two Levitical houses which had returned.

Together - The Hebrew phrase is very emphatic - "they stood up as one man."

9. Jeshua with his sons—not the high priest, but a Levite (Ezr 2:40). To these, as probably distinguished for their mechanical skill and taste, the duty of acting as overseers was particularly committed. Jeshua; not the high priest so called, but a Levite, of whom see Ezra 2:40.

To set forward the workmen; by their presence and favour to encourage them to a cheerful and vigorous prosecution of the work. Then stood Jeshua, with his sons,.... Not Jeshua the high priest before mentioned, but Jeshua the Levite, Ezra 2:40,

and his brethren, Kadmiel and his sons, the sons of Judah, together; the same with Hodaviah, Ezra 2:40

to set forward the workmen in the house of God; to give them orders to begin and lay the foundation, and hasten and animate them to it:

the sons of Henadad, with their sons and their brethren the Levites: two of this man's sons are mentioned in Nehemiah 3:18.

Then stood Jeshua {f} with his sons and his brethren, Kadmiel and his sons, the sons of Judah, together, to set forward the workmen in the house of God: the sons of Henadad, with their sons and their brethren the Levites.

(f) They gave them exhortations and encouraged every man forward in the work.

9. This verse presents considerable difficulty: (a) The English reader cannot fail to be struck with the awkwardness of the final clause, ‘the sons of Henadad … the Levites’. (b) The names here mentioned have been understood by different commentators to represent four, two and three families.

(a) The manifest dislocation of the verse has caused some to conjecture that it is a gloss, which has found its way into the text, having been originally introduced to supplement the previous verse by the names of those who had been appointed to the work and by emphasizing the fact that they undertook the duty. This conjecture, which is not without probability, would assign a very early date to the gloss, since the verse appears in the LXX. and, though in a corrupt form, in 1Es 5:58, ‘Then stood up Jesus, and his sons and brethren, and Cadmiel his brother and the sons of Madiabun, with the sons of Joda the son of Eliadun, with their sons and brethren, all Levites, with one accord, betters forward of the business, labouring to advance the works in the house of God’ (A.V.).

If we dismiss this conjecture on the ground of its lack of external evidence, we must be prepared to treat the verse as having come down to us in some way corrupted or mutilated.

The key to the verse lies in the last words, ‘the Levites’. The verse describes who the Levites were that received the commission (described in Ezra 3:8), and how they discharged it. The student therefore will take care not to confound the Jeshua here mentioned with the Jeshua (the high-priest) mentioned in the previous verse. This Jeshua is the Levite whose name occurs in chap. Ezra 2:40.

The natural arrangement of the words (illustrated by 1Es 5:58 quoted above) would be, ‘Then stood Jeshua with his sons and his brethren, Kadmiel and his sons, the sons of Judah, (and) the sons of Henadad with their sons and their brethren (i.e. all) the Levites together, to have the oversight of the workmen in the house of God.’ The verse thus specifies the Levites who undertook the oversight of the workmen.

(b) The names of the Levitical families who returned appear in chap. Ezra 2:40, where there is some uncertainty whether the expression ‘of the children of Hodaviah’ refers to Kadmiel alone or to ‘the children of Jeshua and Kadmiel’ taken together.

The ‘Judah’ of our verse is probably a misreading for Hodaviah, not, as some prefer, an alternative name of the same person.

(1) Some see in the verse a mention of four Levitical families, i.e. those of Jeshua, Kadmiel, Judah, and Henadad.

(2) Others think that only two are intended, i.e. those of Jeshua and Kadmiel, who are further defined as sons of Hodaviah (=Judah), and as sons of Henadad.

(3) It seems better to suppose that there are three families referred to: (i) ‘Jeshua with his sons and his brethren,’ apparently a complete family, (ii) ‘Kadmiel and his sons, the sons of Hodaviah’, apparently a special branch of the family of Kadmiel, (iii) ‘And the sons of Henadad, with their sons and their brethren’, who, though not mentioned in Ezra 2:40, are represented in Nehemiah’s time (Nehemiah 3:18; Nehemiah 3:24; Nehemiah 10:9).

The absence of Henadad’s name from the list in chap. Ezra 2:40 is strange. But we must account for it by supposing either that the Henadad family never left Palestine, or that they came to Jerusalem between the arrival of Zerubbabel and the beginning of the second year, or that they belonged to the class more numerous than scholars have hitherto taken account of, i.e. those who returned to Jerusalem from exile in other countries. Perhaps the family of Henadad (‘the grace or favour of Hadad’, cf. Hadad, Benhadad, Hadadrimmon) had Syrian connexions or had found refuge in Syria during the disasters of Israel and Judah. Compare Ezra 6:21, ‘all such as had separated themselves from the filthiness of the heathen of the land’.Verse 9. - Jeshua here is the head of the Levitical family mentioned in ch. 2:40 as "the children of Jeshua," and Kadmiel is the head of the other family. Judah represents the "Hodaviah" of that place, and is probably a corrupt reading, as Nehemiah (Nehemiah 7:43) has "Hodevah." The sons of Henadad, who are here united with the Jeshuites and Kadmielites, constitute a third Levitical family, which (as the text stands) was also engaged in superintending the work. But there is some reason to suspect that the passage is an unauthorized addition to the true text. They reared the altar על־מכונתו, upon its (former) place; not, upon its bases. The feminine מכונה has here a like signification with the masculine form מכון, Ezra 2:68, and מכוּנה, Zechariah 5:11. The Keri מכונתיו is an incorrect revision. "For fear was upon them, because of the people of those countries." The ב prefixed to אימה is the so-called ב essentiae, expressing the being in a condition; properly, a being in fear had come or lay upon them. Comp. on ב essentiae, Ewald, 217, f, and 299, b, though in 295, f, he seeks to interpret this passage differently. The "people of those countries" are the people dwelling in the neighbourhood of the new community; comp. Ezra 9:1; Ezra 10:2. The notion is: They erected the altar and restored the worship of Jahve, for the purpose of securing the divine protection, because fear of the surrounding heathen population had fallen upon them. J. H. Mich. had already a correct notion of the verse when he wrote: ut ita periculi metus eos ad Dei opem quaerendam impulerit.

(Note: Bertheau, on the contrary, cannot understand the meaning of this sentence, and endeavours, by an alteration of the text after 1 Esdras, to make it signify that some of the people of the countries came with the purpose of obstructing the building of the altar, but that the Israelites were able to effect the erection because a fear of God came upon the neighbouring nations, and rendered them incapable of hostile interference.)

Comp. the similar case in 2 Kings 17:25., when the heathen colonists settled in the deserted cities of Samaria entreated the king of Assyria to send them a priest to teach them the manner of worshipping the God of the land, that thus they might be protected from the lions which infested it. The Chethiv ויאל must be taken impersonally: "one (they) offered;" but is perhaps only an error of transcription, and should be read ויּעלוּ. On the morning and evening sacrifices, see on Exodus 28:38., Numbers 28:3.

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