For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
Romans 15:4



A Bible Study - Commentary by Jim Melough

Copyright 2004 James Melough

2:1.  “Now these are the children of the province that went up out of 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, everyone into his own city;”


This begins the detailed record of those who availed themselves of the opportunity to leave Babylon at the end of the seventy-year captivity, and return to the land of Israel.


2:2.  “Which came with Zerubbabel: Jeshua (Joshua), Nehemiah, Seraiah, Reelaiah, Mordecai, Bilshan, Mizpar, Bigvai, Rehum, Baanah.  The number of the men of Israel:”


2:3.  “The children of Parosh, two thousand an hundred seventy and two.”


2:4.  “The children of Shephatiah, three hundred seventy and two.”


2:5.  “The children of Arah, seven hundred seventy and five.”


2:6.  “The children of Pahathmoab, of the children of Jeshua and Joab, two thousand eight hundred and twelve.”


2:7.  “The children of Elam, a thousand two hundred fifty and four.”


2:8.  “The children of Zattu, nine hundred forty and five.”


2:9.  “The children of Zaccai, seven hundred and three score.”


2:10.  “The children of Bani, six hundred forty and two.”


2:11.  “The children of Bebai, six hundred twenty and three.”


2:12.  “The children of Azgad, a thousand two hundred twenty and two.”


2:13.  “The children of Adonikam, six hundred sixty and six.”


2:14.  “The children of Bigvai, two thousand fifty and six.”


2:15.  “The children of Adin, four hundred fifty and four.”


2:16.  “The children of Ater of Hezekiah, ninety and eight.”


2:17.  “The children of Bezai, three hundred twenty and three.”


2:18.  “The children of Jorah, an hundred and twelve.”


2:19.  “The children of Hashum, two hundred twenty and three.”


2:20.  “The children of Gibbar, ninety and five.”


2:21.  “The children of Bethlehem, an hundred twenty and three.”


2:22.  “The men of Netophah, fifty and six.”


2:23.  “The men of Anathoth, an hundred twenty and eight.”


2:24.  “The children of Azmaveth, forty and two.”


2:25.  “The children of Kirjatharim, Chephirah, and Beeroth, seven hundred and forty and three.”


2:26.  “The children of Ramah and Gaba, six hundred twenty and one.”


2:27.  “The men of Michmas, an hundred twenty and two.”


2:28.  “The men of Bethel and Ai, two hundred twenty and three.”


2:29.  “The children of Nebo, fifty and two.”


2:30.  “The children of Magbish, an hundred fifty and six.”


2:31.  “The children of the other Elam, a thousand two hundred fifty and four.”


2:32.  “The children of Harim, three hundred and twenty.”


2:33.  “The children of Lod, Hadid, and Ono, seven hundred twenty and five.”


2:34.  “The children of Jericho, three hundred forty and five.”


2:35.  “The children of Senaah, three thousand and six hundred and thirty.”


2:36.  “The priests: the children of Jedaiah, of the house of Jeshua, nine hundred seventy and three.”


2:37.  “The children of Immer, a thousand fifty and two.”


2:38.  “The children of Pahur, a thousand two hundred forty and seven.”


2:39.  “The children of Harim, a thousand and seventeen.”


2:40.  “The Levites: the children of Jeshua and Kadmiel, of the children of Hodaviah, seventy and four.”


2:41.  “The singers: the children of Asaph, an hundred twenty and eight.”


2:42.  “The children of the porters: the children of Shallum, the children of Ater, the children of Talmon, the children of Akkub, the children of Hatita, the children of Shobai, in all an hundred thirty and nine.”


2:43.  “The Nethinims: the children of Ziha, the children of Hasupha, the children of Tabbaoth,”


The Nethinims were Temple servants, and are generally believed to have been descended from the Gibeonites mentioned in Joshua 9.


2:44.  “The children of Keros, the children of Siaha, the children of Padon,”


2:45.  “The children of Lebanah, the children of Hagabah, the children of Akkub,”


2:46.  “The children of Hagab, the children of Shalmai, the children of Hanan,”


2:47.  “The children of Giddel, the children of Gahar, the children of Reaiah,”


2:48.  “The children of Rezin, the children of Nekoda, the children of Gazzam,”


2:49.  “The children of Uzza, the children of Paseah, the children of Besai,”


2:50.  “The children of Asnah, the children of Mehunim, the children of Nehpusim,”


2:51.  “The children of Bakbuk, the children of Hakupha, the children of Harhur,”


2:52.  “The children of Bazluth, the children of Mehida, the children of Harsha,”


2:53.  “The children of Barkos, the children of Sisera, the children of Thamah,”


2:54.  “The children of Neziah, the children of Hatipha.”


2:55.  “The children of Solomon’s servants: the children of Sotai, the children of Sophereth, the children of Peruda,”


2:56.  “The children of Jaalah, the children of Darkon, the children of Geddil,”


2:57.  “The children of Shephatiah, the children of Hattil, the children of Pochereth of Zebaim, the children of Ami.”


2:58.  “All the Nethinims, and the children of Solomon’s servants, were three hundred ninety and two.”


2:59.  “And these were they which went up from Telmelah, Telharsa, Cherub, Addan, and Immer: but they could not shew their father’s house, and their seed, whether they were of Israel:”


It isn’t difficult to see in these who had no proof of their ancestry, a typological picture of those who profess to be Christians, but who cannot remember how, when, and where their conversion occurred.  As these professed priests were put as polluted from the priesthood, so will those who cannot recall how, when, and where they were born again, be banished from the Lord’s presence at the great white throne judgment, Revelation 20:11-15, with the awful pronouncement, “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels ... and these shall go away into everlasting punishment ....” Matthew 25:41-46.


It is a fatal mistake to equate church membership, moral reformation, good works, Bible study, etc., with that new spiritual birth which the Lord himself declares to be imperative for all who would enter heaven, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.... Ye must be born again” John 3:3,7, that new birth occurring only when I confess that I am a sinner without a shred of righteousness; believe that the Lord Jesus Christ loved me enough to die in my guilty stead for my sins; and that in response to that confession and belief, God will pardon all my sin, and receive me into heaven. 


There are those who having been reared in Christian homes, aver that they have always believed, their deadly mistake being that they mistake belief in the historicity of Christ for faith in Him as Savior; but it is axiomatic that saving faith precludes the possibility of any man’s always having believed, for the belief that saves involves a degree of mental maturity which is beyond the capacity of the very young.


2:60.  “The children of Delaiah, the children of Tobiah, the children of Nekoda, six hundred fifty and two.”


2:61.  “And the children of the priests: the children of Habaiah, the children of Koz, the children of Barzilai; which took a wife of the daughters of Barzilai the Gileadite, and was called after their name:”


2:62.  “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.”


The frantic search made by these individuals for the record of their ancestry is easily imagined, as is also their bitter disappointment when the search revealed the absence of their names from the register.  Their hopeless chagrin is but a foreshadowing of the awful consternation that will attend the dreadful discovery of professed, but unconverted Christians, that their names are not written in the Lamb’s book of life, Revelation 21:27, so that they must therefore enter hell to suffer eternal torment, rather than heaven to enjoy eternal bliss.


Since a discussion of the meanings and significance of all these names would carry us beyond the parameters of this study, it is suggested that those interested in pursuing such a study should consult Jackson’s Dictionary of Scripture Proper Names, published by Loizeaux Brothers of Neptune, NJ, and available at most Christian book stores, for the meanings of the names, and then seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance relative to the spiritual significance of those meanings.


2:63.  “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.”


There is general agreement amongst biblical scholars that the Tirshatha or governor was Zerubbabel himself.


The Urim and the Thummim were the two stones kept in the high priest’s breast-plate, their use being to reveal God’s will, see Exodus 28:30.  No details have been preserved as to the manner in which they did this, but it seems that one stone represented Yes, and the other, No, thus requiring questions to be couched in such fashion as would permit a Yes or No answer; the priest apparently obtaining the answer by reaching his hand into the Breastplate, and withdrawing one of the stones, without knowing which, until he looked upon it.  One of the lessons being taught in this unequivocal response given by means of the Urim and the Thummim is that God’s response to men’s inquiries today is equally unambiguous.  With Him there are no “grey areas:” a thing is either right or it is wrong.


The proscription relative to the eating of the sacrificial offerings translates into the NT prohibition against eating the Lord’s Supper by anyone except baptized believers walking in obedience before God, see e.g., 1 Corinthians 11:20-34.


2:64.  “The whole congregation together was forty and two thousand three hundred and threescore,”


2:65.  “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.”


2:66.  “Their horses were seven hundred thirty and six; their mules, two hundred forty and five.”


2:67.  “Their camels, four hundred thirty and five; their asses, six thousand seven hundred and twenty.”


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:”


“... the house of the Lord” is more correctly the site on which the Temple had formerly stood, for at the time of the return it was a heap of ruins, having been destroyed by the Babylonians seventy years before.


2:69.  “They gave after their ability unto the treasure of the work threescore and one thousand drams of gold, and five thousand pounds of silver, and one hundred priests’ garments.”


2:70.  “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.”


The total number who returned from the captivity, about 50,000, was only a small fraction of those who had been carried captive to Babylon seventy years before.  The very number - five being the number of responsibility - justifies our viewing these 50,000 who choose to leave Babylon and return to Israel, as being representative of that small minority in every generation of Christians, who are willing to turn their backs on the mere religious formality which Babylon represents, and which is characteristic of the so-called worship of the majority of professing Christians in every age, and to walk by faith in simple obedience to God’s Word, looking to Him to guide their steps and supply their needs.

[Ezra 3]


     Scripture portions taken from the Holy Bible, King James Version
© 2000-2005 James Melough