Ezra 8:18
And by the good hand of our God upon us they brought us a man of understanding, of the sons of Mahli, the son of Levi, the son of Israel; and Sherebiah, with his sons and his brethren, eighteen;
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(18) A man of understanding.—Probably a proper name, Ishsekel. This is required by the “and” before “Sherebiah,” who was a Levite, referred to by Nehemiah (Ezra 8:7).

Ezra 8:18. By the good hand of our God — That is, by the blessing of God upon us, they brought us a man of understanding, &c. — They did not return without their errand; but, though the warning was short, they brought about forty Levites to attend Ezra. By this it appears they were not averse to go, but were slothful, and only wanted to be called upon to go.

8:1-20 Ezra assembles the outcasts of Israel, and the dispersed of Judah. God raised up the spirits of a small remnant to accompany him. What a pity that good men should omit a good work, for want of being spoken to!And Sherebiah - Either a name has fallen out before the words "a man of understanding," or the "and" here has crept into the text by accident. Sherebiah appears among the most earnest of the Levites under Nehemiah (see the marginal references). 16-20. then sent I for Eliezer … with commandment unto Iddo the chief—Ezra sent this deputation, either by virtue of authority which by his priestly character he had over the Levites, or of the royal commission with which he was invested. The deputation was despatched to Iddo, who was a prince or chief of the Nethinims—for the Persian government allowed the Hebrews during their exile to retain their ecclesiastical government by their own chiefs, as well as to enjoy the privilege of free worship. Iddo's influence procured and brought to the camp at Ahava thirty-eight Levites, and two hundred twenty Nethinims, the descendants of the Gibeonites, who performed the servile duties of the temple. No text from Poole on this verse.

And by the good hand of our God upon us,.... Favouring their designs and orders, protecting those that were sent, and inclining those they were sent to use their interest and authority with those that were under them, and making them willing also to agree to what was proposed to them:

they brought us a man of understanding of the sons of Mahli, the son of Levi, the son of Israel; an Israelite, of the tribe of Levi, in the line of Mahli a son of Merari, the third son of Levi:

and Sherebiah; or rather "even Sherebiah"; so Aben Ezra; for he is the understanding man that is meant, and described by his pedigree:

with his sons and his brethren, eighteen; all together made this number.

And by the good hand of our God upon us they brought us a man of understanding, of the sons of Mahli, the son of Levi, the son of Israel; and Sherebiah, with his sons and his brethren, eighteen;
18. And by the good hand] R.V. And according to the good hand. For the phrase see on chap. Ezra 7:6.

a man of understanding] R.V. a man of discretion. Marg. Or Ish-sechel. Discretion (sechel). Cf. 1 Chronicles 22:12; 2 Chronicles 2:12; Proverbs 19:11 : = understanding, Proverbs 3:4; Proverbs 13:15; Proverbs 16:22; Psalm 111:10 : = wisdom Proverbs 12:8; Proverbs 23:9 : = policy Daniel 8:25. The fact that we find in the following clause “And Sherebiah”, &c. favours the supposition that we ought to have the name of the individual mentioned who was “of the sons of Mahli”. Either, as is most probable, this proper name has dropped out of the text before the words “a man of discretion”, or as is possible ‘Ish-sechel’ (LXX. ἀνὴρ Σαχὼν) is a proper name (cf. Ishbosheth, Ish-tob, 2 Samuel 10:6; Ish-hod, 1 Chronicles 7:18). But such names are rare, and the name Ish-sechel does not occur elsewhere. The view that the ‘and’ before Sherebiah has been carelessly inserted, and that Sherebiah himself is the man of discretion, fails to account for the order of the Hebrew words.

Mahli, the son of Levi, &c.] Cf. Exodus 6:16; Exodus 6:19; 1 Chronicles 6:19. Mahli was son of Merari, and therefore a grandson of Levi.

Sherebiah] Cf. Ezra 8:24; Nehemiah 8:7; Nehemiah 9:4; Nehemiah 10:12; Nehemiah 12:24.

Verse 18. - By the good hand of our God upon us. This is Ezra's usual mode of acknowledging the good providence and favour of Almighty God (see Ezra 7:6, 9, 27; and Ezra 8:31). Similar expressions occur also in Nehemiah (Nehemiah 2:8, 18), but not elsewhere in Scripture. A man of understanding. In the Hebrew Ish-sekel, which some take for a proper name, but without any necessity. No such name is known to have existed; and the real name of "the man of understanding" appears to have been "Sherebiah," who is mentioned more than once in Nehemiah (Nehemiah 8:7; Nehemiah 9:4, 5) as a chief Levite. And Sherebiah should be simply "Sherebiah." The preposition "and" (Hebrew ן) has been inserted by a careless copyist. Ezra 8:18The delegates sent to Iddo succeeded, through the gracious assistance of God (אל בּיד, see Ezra 7:6), in inducing forty Levites, and two hundred and twenty Nethinim, by means of Iddo's influence, to join their fellow-countrymen in their journey to Jerusalem. They brought to us ... לנוּ and עלינוּ refer to Ezra and his fellow-travellers. שׂכל אישׁ, a man of understanding, seems to be a proper name, being joined to Sherebiah, the name following, by a ו copulative. He was one of the descendants of Mahli, the son, i.e., grandson, of Levi the son of Israel, i.e., Jacob: comp. Exodus 6:16, Exodus 6:19; 1 Chronicles 6:4. Sherebiah occurs again in Ezra 8:24, and Nehemiah 8:7; Nehemiah 9:4, etc., Ezra 10:13; Ezra 12:24. The Levite Hashabiah, Ezra 10:19, is also named again, Ezra 8:24, Nehemiah 10:2, and Nehemiah 12:24, while the name of the Levite Jeshaiah, on the contrary, is not again met with in the books of either Ezra or Nehemiah.
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