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Deeper Commentary


Ezra 2:1 Now these are the children of the province, who went up out of the captivity of those who had been carried away, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away to Babylon- The majority of Jews preferred to stay in Persia / Babylon. Archaeological and inscription evidence (see Jacob Neusner, A History of the Jews in Babylonia), as well as Josephus, suggests there may have been 1 million of them in Persia at the time of Cyrus. Ezra 2:1 may suggest that only a relatively few Jews who lived in the province of Babylon returned (one out of 127 provinces), even though there were significant numbers of Jews in all the provinces, as the book of Esther makes clear (as also does Nehemiah 1:8, which says that the Babylonian captivity fulfilled God’s prophecy to scatter Israel amongst all nations). The Persian records even suggest that some of those who obeyed the call to 'return' actually only made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem and then returned to their homes in Persia. And the mighty political and linguistic changes taking place purely for our sakes are often ignored by us. Like the Jews in Babylon, we figure that surely such huge changes couldn’t have occurred only for us. But they do, and have done. Isaiah frequently shows the folly of worshipping Babylonian idols. And yet it seems that it was Judah’s worship of these idols that kept them in Babylon. See on Is. 50:10,11.

And who returned to Jerusalem and Judah, each one to his city- Ezekiel’s temple prophecies begin with a man / Angel with a measuring reed, measuring Jerusalem and the temple. This recurs in Zech. 2:1, where the Angel again measures the temple and then promises that Yahweh will be a protecting wall of fire around the city, meaning that the Jews should fearlessly return from Babylon (Zech. 2:5-10). There follows a description of God’s Kingdom on earth, with God Himself dwelling in Zion and all nations converting to Him. Yet the Jews returned with fear from Babylon- or some of them did. And they fussed so much about building a wall to protect them, in studied disregard of God’s promise here. God helped them build the wall- He was still so keen to work with them. And He later encouraged them that “I will encamp about mine house because of the army, because of him that passeth by, and because of him that returneth [s.w. used about Judah’s return from captivity, Ezra 2:1; 6:21]: and no oppressor shall pass through them any more” (Zech. 9:7,8).

Ezra 2:2 who came with Zerubbabel, Jeshua, Nehemiah, Seraiah, Reelaiah, Mordecai, Bilshan, Mispar, Bigvai, Rehum, Baanah. The number of the men of the people of Israel-
The mention of 11 leaders perhaps leaves us wondering why not 12; perhaps the implication is that the intention of regathering all 12 tribes was not to be fulfilled completely. 

The way Zerubbabel (Ezra 2:2; Neh. 7:5-7), Ezra (Ezra 7:8; 8:32) and Nehemiah (Neh. 2:11; 13:7) are described as ‘coming to Jerusalem’ may hint that they could have fulfilled this coming of Yahweh to Zion; they could have been Messianic figures (Neh. 2:11; 13:7).  When Nehemiah speaks of them having been redeemed by Yahweh’s “strong hand” (Neh. 1:10). he is using the language of Is. 40:10, regarding how Yahweh would come to Zion and save Israel from Babylon and restore them to the land “with strong hand”. Nehemiah saw the prophecy could have been fulfilled then.

Ezra 2:3 The children of Parosh, two thousand one hundred and seventy-two-
"Children of..." can be understood literally; or the 'children of' a geographical area are the people who live in it. It seems that in :3-19 we have a list of the literal families who returned. Then in :20-35 those who returned, arranged according to geographical localities; in :36-39 the numbers of the priests, arranged according to families, and then according to their localities (:40-42); then the families of the Nethinim (:43-54) and of Solomon's servants (:55-57).


Ezra 2:4 The children of Shephatiah, three hundred and seventy-two-
The Persian and Babylon practice was to replace Hebrew names with local names, as we see with Daniel and his friends. The fact some retained their Hebrew names, especially a name like "Yah has judged", may be an indication of faith; although it may also have been mere cultural loyalty.

Ezra 2:5 The children of Arah, seven hundred and seventy-five-
"Arah" is 'wandering', perhaps aware that the Jews had been exiled to the east just as Cain was to wander east of Eden.

Ezra 2:6 The children of Pahathmoab, of the children of Jeshua and Joab, two thousand eight hundred and twelve-
2818 in Neh. 7:11. The numbers in the parallel record in Neh. 7 are often higher. I suggest that that was a list of those who began the journey, or expressed interest in it; whereas Ezra 2 is the list of those who completed it. And there was far more interest in starting the journey than actually finishing it, as we see in response to the Gospel of the Kingdom today.

Ezra 2:7 The children of Elam, one thousand two hundred and fifty-four-
Elam was the name of a neighbouring nation, so we wonder whether this was a Jew very influenced by secularism who then repented and had a spiritual revival. And he was one of the largest families to return.

Ezra 2:8 The children of Zattu, nine hundred and forty-five-
Neh. 7:13 says 845. 100 didn't actually make it. There was far more interest in starting the journey than actually finishing it, as we see in response to the Gospel of the Kingdom today.

Ezra 2:9 The children of Zaccai, seven hundred and sixty- "
Pure", perhaps once a Nazirite (Lam. 4:7 s.w.).

Ezra 2:10 The children of Bani, six hundred and forty-two- "
Builder", perhaps so named because he was keen to rebuild Jerusalem.

Ezra 2:11 The children of Bebai, six hundred and twenty-three-
"Bebai" isn't a Hebrew word; some of the exiles had so assimilated that they only had local Persian names. To leave all they had known was therefore a major challenge.

Ezra 2:12 The children of Azgad, one thousand two hundred and twenty-two-
The differing sizes of the families may not simply mean that some were larger than others, but that some families divided more than others over this question of returning to Judah. Some stayed, and others went. And of course many families didn't respond at all.

Ezra 2:13 The children of Adonikam, six hundred and sixty-six- '
Lord of the sunrise', a pagan, cultic name; again reflecting the extent to which the exiles had assimilated. I have noted on Esther how "Esther" and "Mordecai" were both local names associated with idolatry.

Ezra 2:14 The children of Bigvai, two thousand and fifty-six-
A relatively large number. We are again faced with the question of why some families and geographical areas responded to the call more than others.

Ezra 2:15 The children of Adin, four hundred and fifty-four-
"Adin" is s.w. "given to pleasures" (Is. 47:8). And yet the message of return to restore the Kingdom was somehow attractive even to such a person.

Ezra 2:16 The children of Ater, of Hezekiah, ninety-eight- "
Ater" is 'maimed'. Perhaps he was an invalid, which might account for the relatively small family size. The call of the Kingdom is going to be more attractive to those in such situations.

Ezra 2:17 The children of Bezai, three hundred and twenty-three-
Perhaps the same as Besai one of the Nethinim (:49).

Ezra 2:18 The children of Jorah, one hundred and twelve-
We note the lack of the 'Yah' prefix or suffix in these names. Those who responded were apparently secular people, not known for their devotion to Yahweh. That may explain why the records of Ezra, Nehemiah, Haggai and Malachi complain that they were not well motivated and were largely only looking for personal benefit and advantage through returning to Judah. See on :19.

Ezra 2:19 The children of Hashum, two hundred and twenty-three-
"Enriched" or 'seeking enrichment'; see on :18.

Ezra 2:20 The children of Gibbar, ninety-five-
"Children of..." can be understood literally; or the 'children of' a geographical area are the people who live in it. It seems that in :3-19 we have a list of the literal families who returned. Then in :20-35 those who returned, arranged according to geographical localities; in :36-39 the numbers of the priests, arranged according to families, and then according to their localities (:40-42); then the families of the Nethinim (:43-54) and of Solomon's servants (:55-57).

"Gibbar" is Gibeon in Benjamin (Neh. 7:25), and we note that a disproportionate number of the returnees were from Benjamin.

Ezra 2:21 The children of Bethlehem, one hundred and twenty-three-
These are pathetically small numbers, bearing in mind there were around 1 million Jews in the empire (see on :1).

Ezra 2:22 The men of Netophah, fifty-six-
Counted together with Benjamin in Neh. 7. The majority of those who returned were from Benjamin and Judah. The prophetic vision of all the tribes of Israel returning didn't come about at the time.

Ezra 2:23 The men of Anathoth, one hundred and twenty-eight-
The very existence of "men of Anathoth" who returned was a sign of God's grace. For because of their persecution of Jeremiah, Jer. 11:21,23 had prophesied: "There shall be no remnant of them, for I will bring evil upon the men of Anathoth". Perhaps like Nineveh some repented and therefore the threatened judgment didn't come about; or Jeremiah prayed for them his enemies and was heard; or Yahweh simply pitied His people.

Ezra 2:24 The children of Azmaveth, forty-two-
The small number was because this was known as literally "fields" near to Jerusalem (Neh. 12:29). And yet 42 people returned from this area. Whereas from far larger settlements, not one.

Ezra 2:25 The children of Kiriath Arim, Chephirah, and Beeroth, seven hundred and forty-three-
They may have been listed together because these villages were close to each other, or they travelled together as if one family. The men of Kirjathjearim (s.w. "Kiriath Arim") had looked after the ark previously (1 Sam. 7:1,2) and been blessed for it. There had been a faithful prophet there at the time of the captivity (Jer. 26:20); these considerations may account for the relatively large number who returned from that area.

Ezra 2:26 The children of Ramah and Geba, six hundred and twenty-one-
"Gaba" is s.w. "Gibeah of Benjamin" (Jud. 20:10). This was a priestly city, given to the Levites, although very few Levites returned (Josh. 21:17).

Ezra 2:27 The men of Michmas, one hundred and twenty-two-
The order of the towns appears to be geographical, as "Michmas" was close to "Geba" (s.w. "Gibeah") of :26 (1 Sam. 14:5).

Ezra 2:28 The men of Bethel and Ai, two hundred and twenty-three-
Mentioned together because they were geographically close (Josh. 7:2; 8:9). Bethel was in the ten tribe kingdom, so it seems that some of the Israelites did return along with Judah; but not to the extent of the prophetic vision, whereby a repentant Israel and Judah would be united together in a reestablished Kingdom of God in the land.

Ezra 2:29 The children of Nebo, fifty-two-
Neh. 7:33 "the other Nebo", perhaps to differentiate it from Nebo in Moab; or as LXX "Nabia".

Ezra 2:30 The children of Magbish, one hundred and fifty-six-
There is no other reference to this village. The impression is given that those who returned were largely from insignificant villages rather than the larger cities. Perhaps it was in those areas that there was greater faithfulness to Yahweh. Or perhaps the urban dwellers didn't want to return and rebuild their cities, whereas the rural dwellers guessed that their land would still be there for them to take.

Ezra 2:31 The children of the other Elam, one thousand two hundred and fifty-four-
LXX Elamar. We wonder why so many, relatively speaking, should return from an unknown small village. Perhaps there was a community of faithful there.

Ezra 2:32 The children of Harim, three hundred and twenty-
Whilst in this section we are reading of the names of towns and not people, this location is unknown, and means 'flat nosed' as if referring to a person. Perhaps the interesting case of the person Harim is being emphasized, in that people from his village also returned with him. See on :39.

Ezra 2:33 The children of Lod, Hadid, and Ono, seven hundred and twenty-five-
Neh. 7:37 gives 721. The fact is noted that even four people began the journey, or were willing to start it, but didn't make it. These details show the abiding value to God of every human person.

Ezra 2:34 The children of Jericho, three hundred and forty-five-
There was a community of "sons of the prophets" there which may account for this (2 Kings 2:5).

Ezra 2:35 The children of Senaah, three thousand six hundred and thirty- 
A relatively large number. We are again faced with the question of why some families and geographical areas responded to the call more than others. The larger cities such as Lachish had apparently not a single one who returned from there.

Ezra 2:36 The priests: the children of Jedaiah, of the house of Jeshua, nine hundred and seventy-three-
As noted on :3, in :36-39 we have the numbers of the priests, arranged according to families, and then according to their localities (:40-42). They were not particularly faithful for by the time Ezra came, many of them had married Gentile women.

Ezra 2:37 The children of Immer, one thousand and fifty-two-
Only four courses of priests returned, when there were supposed to be 24 of them , namely Pashhur, Jedaiah, Immer, and Hardin (1 Chron. 24:7, 8,14). The priesthood had been deeply corrupt at the time of the exile, and it seems most of them preferred to remain in Babylon.

Ezra 2:38 The children of Pashhur, one thousand two hundred and forty-seven- Perhaps descendants of the unfaithful Pashur the priest of Jer. 20:1-3.

Ezra 2:39 The children of Harim, one thousand and seventeen-
"Harim" means 'snubnosed'; the priest in whom there was a physical defect, such as to exclude him from priestly service. For this is the word used of how a 'flat nosed' man was excluded from priestly service (Lev. 21:18). Perhaps they were eager at the chance to serve in the restored temple, guessing that the regulations would be relaxed due to the relative lack of priests and Levites returning. Or the idea could simply be that the requirements of the law were not followed by the priests who returned.

Ezra 2:40 The Levites: the children of Jeshua and Kadmiel, of the children of Hodaviah, seventy-four-
As noted on :3, in :36-39 we have the numbers of the priests, arranged according to families, and then according to their localities (:40-42). These Levites of :40 are the ordinary Levites; :41 refers to the Levites who sung, and :42 to those who kept the gates. But only two families of the ordinary mass of Levites returned- a pathetic response.

Ezra 2:41 The singers: the children of Asaph, one hundred and twenty-eight-
This was very poor response. We note that apparently the famous singing families of Heman and Jeduthin didn't return (1 Chron. 25:1).

Ezra 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 one hundred and thirty-nine-
This is a very small number for the families of the gate keepers. The number of ordinary Levites compared to priests is very low (4289 priests, and 341 Levites). There were far more Levites than there were priests, but it seems the Levites didn't want to return and do the dirty work; everyone wanted to be religious leaders. Hence Ezra's problem in finding Levites to return (Ezra 8:15). We can note that it was this tension between Levites and priests which resulted in Korah's rebellion (Num. 16:1-10).

Ezra 2:43 The Nethinim: the children of Ziha, the children of Hasupha, the children of Tabbaoth-
The Nethinim were grouped beneath the Levites but above "the servants of Solomon" (Ezra 2:55). "Nethinim" is literally 'those who are given' and many presume they were originally the Gibeonites, who were 'given' by Joshua to the Levites to do their more menial work (Josh. 9:3-27). Whenever Gentiles were captured in war, some of them would have been devoted to Yahweh in that they were given to His service through joining the Nethinim (Num. 31:28). Thus in Ezra 8:20 we find  mention of some "whom David and the princes had appointed (Heb. ‘given’) for the service of the Levites".

Ezra 2:44 the children of Keros, the children of Siaha, the children of Padon-
These names could well be Persian and not Hebrew. The Nethinim were Gentiles (see on :43), and had unsurprisingly adopted Persian names in the exile. But they wanted to return to rebuild Judah. It's hard to guess whether the push or pull factor was strongest. Perhaps they felt they had never been accepted in Persian society just as they hadn't been in Jewish society and therefore felt a 'push' from exile; or perhaps they were truly faithful to the God of Israel they served, and were thereby 'pulled' by that back to His service.

Ezra 2:45 the children of Lebanah, the children of Hagabah, the children of Akkub-
"Lebanah" is "the moon"; "Hagabah" is "the locust". These names suggest a high level of assimilation into Persian society.

Ezra 2:46 the children of Hagab, the children of Shamlai, the children of Hanan-
We note the lack of the 'Yah' prefix or suffix in these names. Those who responded were apparently secular people, not known for their devotion to Yahweh. That may explain why the records of Ezra, Nehemiah, Haggai and Malachi complain that they were not well motivated and were largely only looking for personal benefit and advantage through returning to Judah. See on Ezra 2:19.

Ezra 2:47 the children of Giddel, the children of Gahar, the children of Reaiah-
"Reaiah", 'Yah has seen', is one of the few names which has the 'Yah' suffix. And he was of the Nethinim, a Gentile, who had retained his devotion to Yahweh despite being made a servant of Yahweh's apostate people.

Ezra 2:48 the children of Rezin, the children of Nekoda, the children of Gazzam-
"Nekoda" is a female name. This female head of house, a Gentile of the Nethinim, meaning literally "speckled" (s.w. Gen. 30:33,35), led her family back to Judah when many Jews wouldn't respond.

Ezra 2:49 the children of Uzza, the children of Paseah, the children of Besai-
We note that "Uzza" and not "Uzziah" is mentioned; as noted on :46, the 'Yah' suffix or prefix is notably missing in these names. "Paseah" means 'limping', suggesting as noted on :32,48,51,52 that it was those who had some physical infirmity who returned. Thus was fulfilled Jeremiah's prophecy of limping Jacob returning from Babylon to Zion. And today likewise, it is those who are marginalized for whatever reason who are more likely to respond to the Gospel of the restored Kingdom.

Ezra 2:50 the children of Asnah, the children of Meunim, the children of Nephisim-
"Meunim" is literally 'from Maon', a location in the desert where Nabal and Abigail were from (1 Sam. 25:2). Perhaps some of their Gentile servants became Nethinim and remained faithful- despite all the bad examples they saw from God's ethnic people.

Ezra 2:51 the children of Bakbuk, the children of Hakupha, the children of Harhur-
"Hakupha" means bent or crooked; "Harhur" means 'inflamed'- suggesting as noted on :32,48,52 that it was those who had some physical infirmity who returned.

Ezra 2:52 the children of Bazluth, the children of Mehida, the children of Harsha-
"Bazluth" means 'peeled skin'; see on :32. "Harsha" is 'magician', confirming the impression that those who returned weren't the religious zealous but generally very secular people. 

Ezra 2:53 the children of Barkos, the children of Sisera, the children of Temah-
These names are all non-Hebrew; the Nethinim were originally Gentile, and these ones appear to have retained that despite returning to the land. The question is whether they were as it were pushed or pulled to return to the land; see on :44.

Ezra 2:54 the children of Neziah, the children of Hatipha-
These names could arguably include the 'Yah' suffix, although most of the Nethinim and even the Jews listed here don't have 'Yah' within them. They were of the Nethinim,  Gentiles, who had retained  their devotion to Yahweh despite being made servants of Yahweh's apostate people.

Ezra 2:55 The children of Solomon’s servants: the children of Sotai, the children of Hassophereth, the children of Peruda-
As noted on :43, these appear to have been reckoned beneath the Nethinim. "They have been traditionally understood to be the descendants of those inhabitants of the land ‘that were left of the Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Hivites and the Jebusites’ of whom Solomon had hired ‘bondservants’ for the work of building his temple (1 Kings 5:13)". It was therefore the most despised classes who responded to the call of the Kingdom. And it is the same today.

Ezra 2:56 the children of Jaalah, the children of Darkon, the children of Giddel- "
Jaalah" is the word for "profit" used of the idols whom Israel believed would profit them (Is. 44:9,10; 47:12; Jer. 2:8,11; 16:19 etc.). This again rather suggests that the majority of those who returned were secular folks who were not doing so from religious, spiritual motives but for secular reasons.

Ezra 2:57 the children of Shephatiah, the children of Hattil, the children of Pochereth Hazzebaim, the children of Ami-
Shephatiah, "Yah has judged", is one of the few names in these lists which includes 'Yah'. Amongst these largely secular people who returned (judging by their names) there were some who were doing so from spiritual reasons. But they were a minority. And that impression accords with the historical information about their later behaviour in the land as found in Ezra, Nehemiah, Haggai and Malachi.

Ezra 2:58 All the Nethinim, and the children of Solomon’s servants, were three hundred and ninety-two-
This figure is exactly the same as that given in Neh. 7:60, whereas the numbers in the parallel record in Neh. 7 are often higher when it comes to the Jews who returned. I suggest that that was a list of those who began the journey, or expressed interest in it; whereas Ezra 2 is the list of those who completed it. And there was far more interest in starting the journey than actually finishing it, as we see in response to the Gospel of the Kingdom today. But the despised Gentile classes of the Nethinim and Solomon's servants were actually more committed.

Ezra 2:59 These were those who went up from Tel Melah, Tel Harsha, Cherub, Addan, and Immer; but they could not show their fathers’ houses, and their genealogy, whether they were of Israel-
These people may have included Gentiles; for it is unlikely that many Jews apart from the Levites could prove their descent, and that is why those who returned are not listed according to their tribes. Indeed it would appear that the genealogical records were destroyed when the temple was burnt. So the reference here may be to those who lived near to the original encampments of the exiles who wanted to return with them. This had been the prophetic vision- that Judah and Israel would repent, Babylon would be judged and fall, and the repentant remnant of the Gentiles would return with the repentant ones of God's people to form a new, multiethnic people of God in His restored Kingdom. But the impenitence of God's people meant that things didn't work out like that. Babylon didn't "fall" in the way that was potentially possible, the majority of God's people chose to remain in exile. And only a handful of Gentiles returned, probably the poorest of the land, perhaps captives from other nations who had been grouped along with the Jews, and likely motivated by the chance of a better life.

Ezra 2:60 the children of Delaiah, the children of Tobiah, the children of Nekoda, six hundred and fifty-two-
As explained on :59, these were likely Gentiles, and their names suggest that. However, "Delaiah" means 'Yah has delivered', so perhaps this was a Gentile who wished to share in Yahweh's deliverance from Babylon / Persia.

Ezra 2:61 Of the children of the priests: the children of Habaiah, the children of Hakkoz, the children of Barzillai, who took a wife of the daughters of Barzillai the Gileadite, and was called after their name-
Barzillai was famous in Israel from the times of David. This priestly family had taken the name of this family, seeking for kudos and prestige; and thereby had lost their priestly lineage.

Ezra 2:62 These sought their place among those who were registered by genealogy-
Ezra 2:62 records Judah being ‘reckoned by genealogies’, using the same Hebrew word which is the hallmark of the Chronicles genealogies (1 Chron. 4:33; 5:1,7,17; 7:5,7,9,40; 9:1,22). And in this context, Is. 40:26 compares God’s ‘bringing out’ of Judah from Babylon with His ‘bringing out’ the stars by their individual names, all wonderfully known to Him. Ps. 87:6 had prophesied something similar about the restoration of Zion’s fortunes: “The LORD shall count, when he writeth up the people, that this man was born there”. The Kingdom of God was to be the restoration of Israel’s Kingdom- but they had to actually get on and restore it rather than wait for it to come.

But they were not found: therefore were they deemed polluted and put from the priesthood- There is a clear connection here with Is. 43:28: "Therefore I will profane the princes of the sanctuary; and I will make Jacob a curse, and Israel an insult". They were put forth "as polluted from the priesthood" (Ezra 2:62). This is tacit proof enough that the restoration from Babylon failed to be the potential restoration prophesied. Indeed, the behaviour of the Jews at that time attracted further curses and judgment.

Ezra 2:63 The governor told them that they should not eat of the most holy things, until there stood up a priest with Urim and Thummim-
This situation precluded the fulfilment of the restoration prophecy of Ezekiel 42:13: “Then said he unto me, The north chambers and the south chambers, which are before the separate place, they be holy chambers, where the priests that approach unto the LORD shall eat the most holy things”. The same words are found in Ezra 2:63 and Nehemiah 7:65- it wasn’t possible for the priests to eat of the holy things [signifying God’s acceptance of His people], because there was no record of their genealogy. Their names were not written in the “register” in fulfilment of Ezekiel 13:9: “neither shall they be written in the writing [s.w. ‘register’, Ezra 2:62] of the house of Israel”. Only if a priest stood up with urim and thummim could they eat of the holy things. And this never happened. These were two engraven stones carried in a pouch in the breastplate which flashed out Divine decisions (see H.A. Whittaker, Samuel, Saul And David for an excellent study of this). Zechariah 3:9 prophesies that Joshua the High Priest would have the engraven stone with seven eyes- the urim and thummim. It would thereby have been possible for a priesthood who had lost their genealogy record during the sacking of the first temple to eat the holy things, and thus fulfill Ezekiel 42:13. In a restoration context, Is. 66:21 had prophesied that Yahweh would regather Judah, “And I will also take of them for priests and for Levites, saith the LORD”. This implies, surely, that He would accept some as Levites who could not otherwise prove they were. Zechariah 6:11,13 speaks of Joshua being crowned with the High Priestly mitre and ‘bearing the glory’, i.e. carrying the urim and thummim in the breastplate. But all this was conditional on Joshua’s obedience: “This shall come to pass, if ye will diligently obey” (Zech. 6:15). Because Joshua failed, he didn’t have urim and thummim, therefore no decision could be given about who was an acceptable priest, and therefore the ‘Kingdom’ prophecy of Ezekiel 42:13 was left unfulfilled. So much depended upon that man. And likewise, the eternal destiny of many others depends on us. Isaiah’s prophecies of the restoration feature “the servant”- who was a symbol of both the people and a Messianic individual. His success was bound up with theirs. Thus Is. 65:9: “And I will bring forth a seed [singular] out of Jacob, and out of Judah an inheritor [singular] of my mountains: and mine elect [plural] shall inherit it, and my servants [plural] shall dwell there”. His obedience would enable the peoples’ establishment as the Kingdom.

Ezra 2:64 The whole assembly together was forty-two thousand three hundred and sixty-
As noted on :1, this was but a tiny minority of the 1 million or so exiles in Babylon / Persia; and the prophetic intention that the ten tribes returned at the same time was not realized, because they too preferred the life of exile from God rather than returning to Him.

Ezra 2:65 besides their male servants and their female servants, of whom there were seven thousand three hundred and thirty-seven: and they had two hundred singing men and singing women-
7337 servants for 42360 people (:64) suggests that on average each family had a servant. We therefore get the impression that those who returned weren't the poorest of society, although as noted with regards to the meanings of their names above in this chapter, many of them were probably slightly marginalized. They returned seeking material benefit (Hag. 1:9), as lower middle class people often do; rather than seeking to do God's work. See on :67.

Ezra 2:66 Their horses were seven hundred and thirty-six; their mules, two hundred and forty-five-
See on :67. This picture of the Jews returning on various animals is to be connected with the prophecies of the restoration, where the leaders of the nations of their exile were to also make the journey to Zion, carrying the children of the Jews (Is. 49:22,23); and using all the animals here listed in order to bring the Jews back to Zion, and then help them rebuild the walls of Jerusalem (Is. 60:4-10). But this is very different to the scene we have here; of a very few Gentiles returning with a few Jews (see on :59), and those Jews not even having enough animals for each of them to ride on (see on :67). Comparison with the prophecies of what was potentially possible makes for a rather sad impression. So much Divine potential was wasted; just as it is by the millions who refuse the call to the Kingdom today. See on :69.

Ezra 2:67 their camels, four hundred and thirty-five; their donkeys, six thousand seven hundred and twenty-
Haggai's criticism of the returnees is more understandable if we understand that most of them were the lower classes, who hadn't 'made it' in Babylon. It would be fair to infer that only the lower class Jews returned from Babylon. The record in Ezra 2:64-70 speaks of 42,360 people returning, along with 7,337 servants and 200 singers, making a total of 49,837. And yet only 8,100 animals went with them to transport them. This means that many would have walked. They carried 5,400 vessels for use in the temple- so the picture could be that their more wealthy brethren laded them with goods, but only the poor returned. Further, the list of towns of origin in Ezra 2 suggests it was mainly those who had originally lived in peripheral villages who returned, rather than the inhabitants of Jerusalem and larger cities.

Ezra 2:68 Some of the heads of fathers’ households, when they came to the house of Yahweh which is in Jerusalem, offered willingly for God’s house to set it up in its place-
Note the stress on "some"; see on :52. It's stressed twice that only "some" of the returned exiles supported the work of the temple (Ezra 2:68-70)- which was supposed to be the main reason for their return. This hardly sounds like the glorious, positive, confident return of the captives to Zion prophesied in the restoration prophecies.

Ezra 2:69 they gave after their ability into the treasury of the work sixty-one thousand darics of gold, five thousand minas of silver and one hundred priests’ garments-
This may sound significant, but it is nothing compared to the entire wealth of the lands of their exile which was intended to be brought to Jerusalem at the restoration (Is. 60:5-10). See on :66.

Ezra 2:70 So the priests, and the Levites, and some of the people, and the singers, and the porters, and the Nethinim, lived in their cities, and all Israel in their cities-
The priests in the restored Kingdom were to live in one specific area near the temple (Ez. 45:4), whereas under the Mosaic Law, the priests were given land to live on in each of the various tribes of Israel. And yet the record of the restoration stresses that the priests lived not around the temple, but in various cities throughout Judah (Ezra 2:70; Neh. 7:73; 11:3,20; 12:44). Note the word "some"; see on :68.