Ezra 2 Bible Commentary

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

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Verse 1

[1] Now these are the children of the province that went up out of the captivity, of those which had been carried away, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away unto Babylon, and came again unto Jerusalem and Judah, every one unto his city;

The province — Of Judah, called a province, chap. 5:8. And he calls it thus emphatically to mind himself and his brethren of that sad change which their sins had made among them, that from an illustrious, independent, and formidable kingdom, were fallen to be an obscure, servile, and contemptible province, first under the Chaldeans, and now under the Persians.

Verse 2

[2] Which came with Zerubbabel: Jeshua, Nehemiah, Seraiah, Reelaiah, Mordecai, Bilshan, Mispar, Bigvai, Rehum, Baanah. The number of the men of the people of Israel:

Who came, … — This catalogue, differs in some names and numbers from that Nehemiah 7:6-64, which might be because several names were given to the same persons; and because of the many changes which might happen in the same families between the time of the first making of this catalogue by Ezra, and the making it anew so many years after.

Verse 3

[3] The children of Parosh, two thousand an hundred seventy and two.

The children — The posterity, as that word is constantly taken in this catalogue.

Of Parosh — That descend either from Parosh, or from that family whereof Parosh was the chief. And so for the rest.

Verse 5

[5] The children of Arah, seven hundred seventy and five.

Seven hundred, … — In Nehemiah 7:10, they were only six hundred and fifty two, it seems seven hundred and seventy five marched out of Babylon, but some of them died, others were hindered by sickness, or other casualties, and so there came only six hundred and fifty two to Jerusalem. And the like is to be said in the like differences: which it suffices to hint once for all.

Verse 21

[21] The children of Bethlehem, an hundred twenty and three.

Beth-lehem — And so these were the remainders of the inhabitants of that city. (And the like may be said of the two following names, Netophah and Anathoth, or others of the like nature.) So little was Beth-lehem among the thousands of Judah! Yet thence must the Messiah arise.

Verse 39

[39] The children of Harim, a thousand and seventeen.

Harim — The head of one of the twenty four courses which David appointed, 1 Chronicles 24:8, of all which courses, some observe here are not above four or five that returned. There is another Harim mentioned above, verse 32, but that was no priest, as this was verse 36.

Verse 43

[43] The Nethinims: the children of Ziha, the children of Hasupha, the children of Tabbaoth,

Nethinims — Persons devoted to the inferior services of the priests and Levites. Commonly supposed to be the Gibeonites, given, (so their name signifies) by Joshua first, and again by David, when Saul had expelled them, to the priests and Levites, for those services.

Verse 55

[55] The children of Solomon's servants: the children of Sotai, the children of Sophereth, the children of Peruda,

Servants — Who had lived in Solomon's family, and after his death, called themselves and their families by that name, esteeming it a great honour that they had been servants to so great a prince.

Verse 62

[62] These sought their register among those that were reckoned by genealogy, but they were not found: therefore were they, as polluted, put from the priesthood.

Genealogy — The Jews were generally very exact in their genealogies from their own choice and interest, that they might preserve the distinctions of the several tribes and families, which was necessary both to make out their titles to offices or inheritances, and to govern themselves thereby in the matter of marriages, and from the special providence of God, that so it might be certainly known of what tribe and family the Messiah was born.

Verse 63

[63] And the Tirshatha said unto them, that they should not eat of the most holy things, till there stood up a priest with Urim and with Thummim.

Tirshatha — The governor, Zerubbabel.

With Urim, … — That this point which could not be found out by human skill, might be determined by Divine direction. Hereby it appears that the Urim and Thummim were lost in the destruction of the city and temple, tho' the Jews fed themselves with hopes of recovering them, but in vain. And by the want of that oracle, they were taught to expect the great oracle, the Messiah.

Verse 64

[64] The whole congregation together was forty and two thousand three hundred and threescore,

The whole, … — The particular sums here recited, come only to twenty and nine thousand eight hundred and eighteen. Unto whom are added in this total sum twelve thousand five hundred and forty two. Which, either were of the other tribes beside Judah and Benjamin: or were such as were supposed to be Israelites, but could not prove their pedigree by their genealogies.

Verse 65

[65] Beside their servants and their maids, of whom there were seven thousand three hundred thirty and seven: and there were among them two hundred singing men and singing women.

Women — For women as well as men were employed in this exercise in the temple-service.

Verse 68

[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:

The house — That is, to the ruins of the house; or to the place were it stood.

Verse 69

[69] They gave after their ability unto the treasure of the work threescore and one thousand drams of gold, and five thousand pound of silver, and one hundred priests' garments.

Sixty one thousand drams — Sixty one thousand drams of gold amount to something more than so many pounds of our money. So bishop Cumberland, who likewise supposes five thousand pounds of silver, to be about thirty seven thousand pounds sterling.

Verse 70

[70] So the priests, and the Levites, and some of the people, and the singers, and the porters, and the Nethinims, dwelt in their cities, and all Israel in their cities.

And all Israel in their cities — And they dwelt in peace, in perfect harmony, a blessed presage of their settlement, as their discord in the latter times of that state, was of their ruin.

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