Ezra 2:36
The priests: the children of Jedaiah, of the house of Jeshua, nine hundred seventy and three.
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(36) The priests: the children of Jedaiah.—The priests are then given by family names, their numbers being very large in proportion to each of the other classes. Three only of David’s priestly courses are represented (1Chronicles 24:7-8; 1Chronicles 24:14); Pashur, a name mentioned elsewhere as the name of a priestly race, not being among the twenty-four in the Chronicles.

Of the house of Jeshua.—A peculiar expression, seeming to indicate merely that the present high priest belonged to the race of Jedaiah, who, in that case, is not the same as the head of the second order in the Chronicles, unless indeed he sprang from the high-priestly family of Eleazar.

Ezra 2:36. The priests — Having numbered the people that went of Judah and Benjamin, he proceeds now to the tribe of Levi, and first mentions the priests.

2:36-63 Those who undervalue their relation to the Lord in times of reproach, persecution, or distress, will have no benefit from it when it becomes honourable or profitable. Those who have no evidence that they are, by the new birth, spiritual priests unto God, through Jesus Christ, have no right to the comforts and privileges of Christians.The province - Judaea was no longer a kingdom, but a mere "province" of Persia. "The children of the province" are the Israelites who returned to Palestine, as distinct from those who remained in Babylonia and Persia.

Every one unto his city - That is, to the city whereto his forefathers had belonged. Of course, in the few cases where this was not known Ezra 2:59-62, the plan could not be carried out.

Two other copies of the following list have come down to us - one in Nehemiah 7:7-69, and the other in 1 Esdras 5:8-43. All seem to have been taken from the same original document, and to have suffered more or less from corruption. Where two out of the three agree, the reading should prevail over that of the third.

36-39. The priests—Each of their families was ranged under its prince or head, like those of the other tribes. It will be remembered that the whole body was divided into twenty-four courses, one of which, in rotation, discharged the sacerdotal duties every week, and each division was called after the name of its first prince or chief. It appears from this passage that only four of the courses of the priests returned from the Babylonish captivity; but these four courses were afterwards, as the families increased, divided into twenty-four, which were distinguished by the names of the original courses appointed by David [1Ch 23:6-13]. Hence we find the course of Abijah or Abia (1Ch 24:10) subsisting at the commencement of the Christian era (Lu 1:5). No text from Poole on this verse.

The priests,.... An account of them is given in this and the three following verses, and only four families are mentioned, those of Jedaiah, Immer, Pashur, and Harim, and the number of them amounted to 4289; these, according to the Jews, were heads of four courses, which were all that returned from Babylon (u).

(u) T. Hieros. Taanioth, fol. 68. 1.

The {g} priests: the children of Jedaiah, of the house of Jeshua, nine hundred seventy and three.

(g) Before he has declared the two tribes of Judah and Benjamin, and now comes to the tribe of Levi and begins at the priests.

36. the children of Jedaiah, of the house of Jeshua] In the 24 Priestly houses enumerated in 1 Chronicles 24:7-18, the house of Jedaiah stands second.

The words ‘of the house of Jeshua’ have been differently explained. (a) It has been considered to refer to a very ancient house from which sprang two branches, the family of Jedaiah mentioned here and 1 Chronicles 24:7, and the family of Jeshua mentioned as the ninth priestly house in 1 Chronicles 24:11. (b) The Jeshua here spoken of is considered to be the High-priest; ‘the sons of Jedaiah were a portion of the house to which J. the high-priest belonged … Jedaiah is not the name of the second order of priests, but of the head of a family of the high-priestly race (Keil).

(c) But as the name of Jedaiah is followed by that of Immer, the sixteenth priestly house (1 Chronicles 24:14), it is more natural to suppose that ‘the children of Jedaiah’ were members of the second priestly house. The explanation of the passage is supplied by the similar twofold genealogical reference given in Ezra 2:6; Ezra 2:16. The house is mentioned first and then follows its limitation to a special branch or family.

Here the house is the priestly house of Jedaiah; the branch or family is that of Jeshua. This Jeshua belonged probably to some former generation, but gave his name to a particular branch of the house of Jedaiah.

The difficulty occasioned by this verse has arisen from the desire to identify this Jeshua with the High-priest and from the mistake of supposing that the names of the heads of families were necessarily the companions of Zerubbabel instead of being rather the distinctive names of clans.

36–39. The names and numbers of the houses of the priests correspond exactly in the three registers.

Verse 36. - The priests. Four priestly families went up with Zerubbabel. Of these, three traced their descent to persons who had been heads of the priestly courses in the reign of David, viz., Jedaiah, Immer, and Hardin (1 Chronicles 24:7, 8, 14). The other family had for founder a priest named Pashur, who was not otherwise distinguished. The numbers assigned to the priests by Ezra are identical with those in Nehemiah (Nehemiah 7:39-42). Jedaiah, of the house of Jeshua. To whose house, that is, Jeshua, the existing high priest, belonged. Hence, no doubt, the precedency given to the house of Jedaiah, which numerically was the least important. Ezra 2:36The list of the priests is identical, both in names and numbers, with that of Nehemiah 7:39-42. These are:

The sons of Jedaiah, of the house of Jeshua 973 The sons of Immer 1052 The sons of Pashur 1247 The sons of Harim 1017 Total 4289

Jedaiah is the head of the second order of priests in 1 Chronicles 24:7. If, then, Jedaiah here represents this order, the words "of the house of Jeshua" must not be applied to Jeshua the high priest; the second order belonging in all probability to the line of Ithamar, and the high-priestly race, on the contrary, to that of Eleazar. We also meet the name Jeshua in other priestly families, e.g., as the name of the ninth order of priests in 1 Chronicles 24:11, so that it may be the old name of another priestly house. Since, however, it is unlikely that no priest of the order from which the high priest descended should return, the view that by Joshua the high priest is intended, and that the sons of Jedaiah were a portion of the house to which Joshua the high priest belonged, is the more probable one. In this case Jedaiah is not the name of the second order of priests, but of the head of a family of the high-priestly race. Immer is the name of the sixteenth order of priests, 1 Chronicles 24:14. Pashur does not occur among the orders of priests in 1 Chronicles 24; but we find the name, 1 Chronicles 9:12, and Nehemiah 11:12, among the ancestors of Adaiah, a priest of the order of Malchijah; the Pashur of Jeremiah 20 and Jeremiah 21:1-14 being, on the contrary, called the son of Immer, i.e., a member of the order of Immer. Hence Bertheau considers Pashur to have been the name of a priestly race, which first became extensive, and took the place of an older and perhaps extinct order, after the time of David. Gershom of the sons of Phinehas, and Daniel of the sons of Ithamar, are said, Daniel 8:2, to have gone up to Jerusalem with Ezra, while the order to which they belonged is not specified. Among the priests who had married strange wives (Ezra 10:18-22) are named, sons of Jeshua, Immer, Harim, Pashur; whence it has been inferred "that, till the time of Ezra, only the four divisions of priests here enumerated had the charge of divine worship in the new congregation" (Bertheau). On the relation of the names in Ezra 2:36-39 to those in Nehemiah 10:3-9 and Nehemiah 12:1-22, see remarks on these passages.

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