For there were many in Judah sworn to him, because he was the son in law of Shechaniah the son of Arah; and his son Johanan had taken the daughter of Meshullam the son of Berechiah.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Sworn unto him.—Shechaniah was of the family of Arah, which had come over with Zerubbabel (Ezra 2:5). Tobiah had married his daughter, and Tobiah’s son had married a daughter of Meshullam, one of the builders of the wall (Nehemiah 3:4; Nehemiah 3:30). This family connection led to a conspiracy by oath to thwart the governor. The names of Tobiah and his son are Hebrew; and it is probable that, though naturalised Ammonites, they were of Hebrew extraction. This renders it easier to understand the facility with which the affinity was contracted.Nehemiah 2:10, Nehemiah 2:19, and was perhaps a bought slave of Sanballat's, yet he was in such a position that Jewish nobles readily contracted affinity with him. This is quite in harmony with the practice of the East, where slaves often fill high positions and make great marriages. Sworn unto him, to be true to him in the prosecution of his wicked designs.
His son had taken the daughter of Meshullam: this is noted to show the mischief of such unequal and forbidden marriages, and how reasonable and necessary Ezra’s action was in the dissolution of them.
because he was the son in law of Shechaniah, the son of Arah; of a family that came up with Zerubbabel from the captivity, Ezra 2:5 and very probably of considerable note:
and his son Johanan had taken the daughter of Meshullam the son of Berechiah; a very eminent person, concerned in building the wall, Nehemiah 3:4.For there were many in Judah sworn unto him, because he was the son in law of Shechaniah the son of Arah; and his son Johanan had taken the daughter of Meshullam the son of Berechiah.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)18. sworn unto him, because he was the son in law of, &c.] ‘Sworn unto him.’ LXX. ἔνορκοι … αὐτῷ. It is implied that Tobiah’s connexion by marriage ensured him the support of many leading Jews; the conjunction ‘because’ suggests that the members of a family on welcoming a stranger within their circle, pledged themselves to him by an oath.
It is possible however to give a more general interpretation: many of the nobles conspired with Tobiah, and they had opportunities to meet him on account of his connexion by marriage. In Nehemiah 13:4 we find Eliashib the High-priest described as ‘allied unto Tobiah.’ ‘Son-in-law,’ or at any rate a relation by marriage.
Shechaniah the son of Arah] R.V. Shecaniah, &c. The house of Arah is mentioned in Ezra 2:5. Shecaniah was clearly a man of eminence.
Johanan] R.V. Jehohanan. The name of Tobiah’s son is a compound of which the first two syllables are derived from the sacred Hebrew Name for God. Cf. note on Nehemiah 2:10.
had taken the daughter of Meshullam the son of Berechiah] R.V. had taken … to wife. This Meshullam is mentioned in Nehemiah 3:4; Nehemiah 3:30, from which passages we conclude that he was of priestly descent.Verse 18. - He was the son-in-law of Shechaniah. Rather, "related by marriage to Shechaniah"- perhaps, but not certainly, by having married his daughter. Son of Arah. Member, i.e., of the family, called the Beni-Arah, which had returned with Zerubbabel (Ezra 2:5; Nehemiah 7:10). Meshullam the son of Berechiah is mentioned in ch. 3. as repairing two portions of the wall (vers. 4, 30).
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