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Ezra: Chapter 2

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1Now these were the people of the province who came from those captive exiles whom King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon had carried captive to Babylonia; they returned to Jerusalem and Judah, all to their own towns. 2They came with Zerubbabel, Jeshua, Nehemiah, Seraiah, Reelaiah, Mordecai, Bilshan, Mispar, Bigvai, Rehum, and Baanah.

The number of the Israelite people: 3the descendants of Parosh, two thousand one hundred seventy‐two. 4Of Shephatiah, three hundred seventy‐two. 5Of Arah, seven hundred seventy‐five. 6Of Pahathmoab, namely the descendants of Jeshua and Joab, two thousand eight hundred twelve. 7Of Elam, one thousand two hundred fifty‐four. 8Of Zattu, nine hundred forty‐five. 9Of Zaccai, seven hundred sixty. 10Of Bani, six hundred forty‐two. 11Of Bebai, six hundred twenty‐three. 12Of Azgad, one thousand two hundred twenty‐two. 13Of Adonikam, six hundred sixty‐six. 14Of Bigvai, two thousand fifty‐six. 15Of Adin, four hundred fifty‐four. 16Of Ater, namely of Hezekiah, ninety‐eight. 17Of Bezai, three hundred twenty‐three. 18Of Jorah, one hundred twelve. 19Of Hashum, two hundred twenty‐three. 20Of Gibbar, ninety‐five. 21Of Bethlehem, one hundred twenty‐three. 22The people of Netophah, fifty‐six. 23Of Anathoth, one hundred twenty‐eight. 24The descendants of Azmaveth, forty‐two. 25Of Kiriatharim, Chephirah, and Beeroth, seven hundred forty‐three. 26Of Ramah and Geba, six hundred twenty‐one. 27The people of Michmas, one hundred twenty‐two. 28Of Bethel and Ai, two hundred twenty‐three. 29The descendants of Nebo, fifty‐two. 30Of Magbish, one hundred fifty‐six. 31Of the other Elam, one thousand two hundred fifty‐four. 32Of Harim, three hundred twenty. 33Of Lod, Hadid, and Ono, seven hundred twenty‐five. 34Of Jericho, three hundred forty‐five. 35Of Senaah, three thousand six hundred thirty.

36The priests: the descendants of Jedaiah, of the house of Jeshua, nine hundred seventy‐three. 37Of Immer, one thousand fifty‐two. 38Of Pashhur, one thousand two hundred forty‐seven. 39Of Harim, one thousand seventeen.

40The Levites: the descendants of Jeshua and Kadmiel, of the descendants of Hodaviah, seventy‐four. 41The singers: the descendants of Asaph, one hundred twenty‐eight. 42The descendants of the gatekeepers: of Shallum, of Ater, of Talmon, of Akkub, of Hatita, and of Shobai, in all one hundred thirty‐nine.

43The temple servants: the descendants of Ziha, Hasupha, Tabbaoth, 44Keros, Siaha, Padon, 45Lebanah, Hagabah, Akkub, 46Hagab, Shamlai, Hanan, 47Giddel, Gahar, Reaiah, 48Rezin, Nekoda, Gazzam, 49Uzza, Paseah, Besai, 50Asnah, Meunim, Nephisim, 51Bakbuk, Hakupha, Harhur, 52Bazluth, Mehida, Harsha, 53Barkos, Sisera, Temah, 54Neziah, and Hatipha.

55The descendants of Solomon's servants: Sotai, Hassophereth, Peruda, 56Jaalah, Darkon, Giddel, 57Shephatiah, Hattil, Pochereth‐hazzebaim, and Ami.

58All the temple servants and the descendants of Solomon's servants were three hundred ninety‐two.

59The following were those who came up from Tel‐melah, Tel‐harsha, Cherub, Addan, and Immer, though they could not prove their families or their descent, whether they belonged to Israel: 60the descendants of Delaiah, Tobiah, and Nekoda, six hundred fifty‐two. 61Also, of the descendants of the priests: the descendants of Habaiah, Hakkoz, and Barzillai (who had married one of the daughters of Barzillai the Gileadite, and was called by their name). 62These looked for their entries in the genealogical records, but they were not found there, and so they were excluded from the priesthood as unclean; 63the governor told them that they were not to partake of the most holy food, until there should be a priest to consult Urim and Thummim.

64The whole assembly together was forty‐two thousand three hundred sixty, 65besides their male and female servants, of whom there were seven thousand three hundred thirty‐seven; and they had two hundred male and female singers. 66They had seven hundred thirty‐six horses, two hundred forty‐five mules, 67four hundred thirty‐five camels, and six thousand seven hundred twenty donkeys.

68As soon as they came to the house of the LORD in Jerusalem, some of the heads of families made freewill offerings for the house of God, to erect it on its site. 69According to their resources they gave to the building fund sixty‐one thousand darics of gold, five thousand minas of silver, and one hundred priestly robes.

70The priests, the Levites, and some of the people lived in Jerusalem and its vicinity; a Or the chariot of his deputy and the singers, the gatekeepers, and the temple servants lived in their towns, and all Israel in their towns.


b Or the chariot of his deputy

Text Commentary view alone

2.1–70 : Frame: initial list of returnees

(ἂ in Neh 7.6–73a ). With its repetition in Neh 7.6–73a , the list frames three separate stages of return and reflects combined waves of immigration between 538 and 444 BCE. It identifies three groups that become normative in Judaism: Israelites (laity), Levites, and priests.

1–2 :

Zerubbabel, Jeshua, Nehemiah, only these three (if this Nehemiah is the governor of Neh 1.1 ) will play a role in Ezra‐Nehemiah. Zerubbabel is among the last known Davidic descendants in the Hebrew Bible (see 1 Chr 3.19 ) and is elsewhere called “governor” (e.g., Hag 1.1 ). Jeshua the priest is elsewhere called “high priest” (e.g., Hag 1.1 ).

2b–35 :

Lay Israelites listed by family ancestral names (vv. 2b–20 ) and towns of origin (vv. 21–35 ).

36–39 :

Priests include only four families (cf. 1 Chr 24 ).

40–42 :

Levites are recorded according to their Temple function in the postexilic period.

43–58 :

Other Temple functionaries and miscellaneous groups.

59–63 :

As a result of the book's concern with religious purity, uncertain genealogies jeopardize membership in the community. Several of these names are incorporated into the community later, however.

61–63 :

Priestly legitimacy depends on descent from Aaron.

61 :

Barzillai the Gileadite, see 2 Sam 17.27; 19.31 . The practice of taking on the name of the father‐in‐law suggests that Barzillai did not have a male heir.

63 :

Urim and Thummim are the sacred lots, a device used by priests to ascertain divine guidance in certain situations (Ex 28.30, Lev 8.8; Deut 33.8 ).

64 :

The total here exceeds the sum of the enumerated groups.

65–67 :

Servants, the number of servants, singers, and livestock suggests modest, though not impoverished, economic means.

69 :

The precise monetary value of this contribution to the Temple is uncertain because the value of the daric and the mina fluctuated. Nevertheless, the passage suggests that the community invested a great deal in restoring its Temple. The priestly robes are singled out as expensive, specialized garments for official service.

70 :

All Israel in their towns, Ezra‐Nehemiah emphasizes continuity, suggesting a return to preexilic settlements. In reality, however, the Persian province of Yehud is considerably smaller than the earlier kingdom of Judah.

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