So all Israel were reckoned by genealogies; and, behold, they were written in the book of the kings of Israel and Judah, who were carried away to Babylon for their transgression.
Verse 1. - So all Israel were reckoned by genealogies. The Hebrew verb (חִתְיַחְשׂי) is sufficiently satisfied by the rendering were enrolled, or were registered. The book of the kings of Israel and Judah. The book referred to is often styled "The book of the kings of Israel" (2 Chronicles 20:34; 2 Chronicles 33:18); and it is more probable that that is the intended title here, and that the words should follow thus: And Judah were carried captive to Babylon because of their transgressions. This the Masoretic accenting dictates, though the Septuagint, Vulgate, and Luther have our Authorized Version order. The inconvenience to certain of not being able to find their registers is alluded to in Ezra 2:59.
Now the first inhabitants that dwelt in their possessions in their cities were, the Israelites, the priests, Levites, and the Nethinims.
Verse 2. - Now the first inhabitants that dwelt in their possessions, in their cities. Authorities are very divided as to whether this expression describes inhabitants of the land before the Captivity or subsequent to it. Almost all the older authorities, and Keil amongst those of more modern date, take the former position; Movers, Bertheau, and others take the latter, as also Canon Rawlinson ('Speaker's Commentary,' 3:157, 211). It must be admitted that there is some obscurity, and which accounts for the contrariety of opinion. But obscurity and contrariety notwithstanding, a comparison of vers. 2 and 3 with Nehemiah 11:1-4: produces two impressions almost irresistible, viz. that the difficulty is occasioned by some comparatively slight corruption or mutilation in our ver. 2; and that, whatever the reference is in Nehemiah 11:1-4 (and there is no ambiguity there), that it is in the present passage. The fourfold classification intends the Israel people (Isaiah 24:2; Hosea 4:9), the priests, the Levites, the Nethinims, i.e. those given as helpers of the priests, bond-men of the temple (Numbers 8:18, 19; Numbers 31:47; Ezra 2:40-48; Ezra 8:17, 20). Not before the time of the return does the name Nethinim seem to have crystallized upon this class of helpers, the explanation of which may possibly be that their numbers and their services then became so much more necessary. To this classification is added in Nehemiah 11:3, "And the children of Solomon's servants" (Ezra 2:55).
And in Jerusalem dwelt of the children of Judah, and of the children of Benjamin, and of the children of Ephraim, and Manasseh;
Verse 3. - And of the children of Ephraim, and Manasseh. These words are not found in Nehemiah 11:4.
Uthai the son of Ammihud, the son of Omri, the son of Imri, the son of Bani, of the children of Pharez the son of Judah.
Verse 4. - This verse contains a short list, with many links wanting, of descendants of Judah through Pharez, six in number, and in reverse order. .4. similar list as regards its extreme terms is that which we find in Nehemiah 11:4, but only three (Uthai, Imri, Pharez) of the six names here can be considered identical with a like number (Athaiah, Amariah, Perez) out of the seven found there. Nehemiah 11:6 adds, "The number of the sons of Perez that dwelt at Jerusalem four hundred three score and eight valiant men."
And of the Shilonites; Asaiah the firstborn, and his sons.
Verse 5. - The Shilonites. These are the descendants of Shelah, youngest son of Judah. In place of the one name Asaiah here, Nehemiah (Nehemiah 11:7) gives a list of seven, among which Maassiah is found, answering to our Asaiah.
And of the sons of Zerah; Jeuel, and their brethren, six hundred and ninety.
Verse 6. - No corresponding list whatever is found in Nehemiah, but in Nehemiah 11:24 mention is made of "Pethahiah the son of Meshezabeel, of the children of Zerah." Zeta was twin brother of Pharez (Genesis 38:30).
And of the sons of Benjamin; Sallu the son of Meshullam, the son of Hodaviah, the son of Hasenuah,
Verses 7-9. - The corresponding passage (Nehemiah 11:7, 8) varies much in the names given, and adds up the number of Benjamite chief men to nine hundred and twenty-eight, instead of nine hundred and fifty-six.
And Ibneiah the son of Jeroham, and Elah the son of Uzzi, the son of Michri, and Meshullam the son of Shephathiah, the son of Reuel, the son of Ibnijah;
And their brethren, according to their generations, nine hundred and fifty and six. All these men were chief of the fathers in the house of their fathers.
And of the priests; Jedaiah, and Jehoiarib, and Jachin,
Verse 10. - This verse is correct in not calling (as does Nehemiah 11:10) Jedaiah the son of Jehoiarib, or as it is there written Joiarib. The origin of the names of these three priest families is found in 1 Chronicles 24:7, 17.
And Azariah the son of Hilkiah, the son of Meshullam, the son of Zadok, the son of Meraioth, the son of Ahitub, the ruler of the house of God;
Verses 11-13. - This list resembles much more closely that of Nehemiah 11:11-14. The one thousand and seven hundred and three score of this passage is not reached by five hundred and sixty-eight, when the numbers of Nehemiah 11:12-14 are all added together. The name Azariah (in Nehemiah appearing, probably simply by copyist's error, as Seraiah), here described as ruler of the house of God, probably points to the high priest Eliashib, who held that office in the time of Nehemiah, and was descended from Seraiah (1 Chronicles 6:14). The ins and outs of the lists of these verses confirm the supposition that the way in which differences in the other lists occur are easily to be accounted for, in one compiler having selected some of the names of the whole line of genealogy, and another others, though in each several case according to reasons often unknown by us. Thus, between Jeroham and Pashur the table of Nehemiah supplies three additional links in the names Pelaliah, Amzi, Zechariah; while in our very next verse, for the three between Maasiai (Amashai) and Meshillemith, Nehemiah has only two names, and neither of those two (Azareel, Ahasai) the same as found here.
And Adaiah the son of Jeroham, the son of Pashur, the son of Malchijah, and Maasiai the son of Adiel, the son of Jahzerah, the son of Meshullam, the son of Meshillemith, the son of Immer;
And their brethren, heads of the house of their fathers, a thousand and seven hundred and threescore; very able men for the work of the service of the house of God.
And of the Levites; Shemaiah the son of Hasshub, the son of Azrikam, the son of Hashabiah, of the sons of Merari;
Verses 14-16. - The corresponding account of these Levites (Nehemiah 11:15-18) has some additional details - as, for instance, that the number of "the Levites in the holy city were two hundred four score and four;" that two "of the chief of the Levites, Shabbethai and Jozabad," not given here, "had the oversight of the outward business of the house of God;" that "Mattaniah... was the principal to begin the thanksgiving in prayer;" and that Bakbukiah (hero called Bakbakkar) was "the second among his brethren." Hashabiah is also stated to be "the son of Bunni." The Netophathites. The town Netophah was either locally near Bethlehem, or in some way closely related to it (1 Chronicles 2:54; Nehemiah 7:26). It is not directly mentioned, though existing long before, till the accounts of those who returned from Babylon with Zerubbabel (Ezra 2:22). Interesting facts, respecting its people are found in 1 Chronicles 27:13, 15; Nehemiah 12:28. Though our Authorized Version has the name here in the plural, it is not so in the Hebrew, nor is it there accompanied by the article.
And Bakbakkar, Heresh, and Galal, and Mattaniah the son of Micah, the son of Zichri, the son of Asaph;
And Obadiah the son of Shemaiah, the son of Galal, the son of Jeduthun, and Berechiah the son of Asa, the son of Elkanah, that dwelt in the villages of the Netophathites.
And the porters were, Shallum, and Akkub, and Talmon, and Ahiman, and their brethren: Shallum was the chief;
Verse 17. - The porters here are those who had charge of the entrances to the sanctuary. The word employed (שֹׁעֵר) is used, however, generally of gate or door keepers (2 Samuel 17:26; John 10:3; Mark 13:3, 4; John 18:16). Their number, stated in ver. 22 as two hundred and twelve, is probably corrected in Nehemiah 11:19 to one hundred and seventy-two, made up of twenty-four for every week (1 Chronicles 26:17, 18), "entering on the sabbath" upon their work (2 Kings 11:5; 2 Chronicles 23:4), in rotation for seven weeks, and the four "chief warders." For the five porters here mentioned there are only two mentioned in Nehemiah 11:19, and neither of those Shallum, the chief. But see also Ezra 2:42; Nehemiah 7:45.
Who hitherto waited in the king's gate eastward: they were porters in the companies of the children of Levi.
Verse 18. - Hitherto (so John 5:17). The reference must be to Shallum, for see vers. 24-26 and Ezekiel 46:1-3. The meaning of the remaining sentence of this verse is, "These were the gate-keepers for the Levite encampments side," or what, in later temple times, answered to it.
And Shallum the son of Kore, the son of Ebiasaph, the son of Korah, and his brethren, of the house of his father, the Korahites, were over the work of the service, keepers of the gates of the tabernacle: and their fathers, being over the host of the LORD, were keepers of the entry.
Verse 19. - Shallum. Marked as a different person from the former of the same name, by the description son of Kore, etc. The pedigree here given enables us to identify the person intended as Shelemiah or Moshelemiah. (comp. 1 Chronicles 6:23, 27; 1 Chronicles 26:1, 14). Keepers of the gates of the tabernacle... of the entry. These are descriptions of "service," not synonymous with those of vers. 17 and 18, where the words וְהַשְּׁעַרִים and בְּשַׁעַר are found, in place of those used here, viz. שֹׁמְרֵי הַסִּפִים לָאֹחֶל and שֹׁמְרֵי הַמָּבוא. They designate the care of the inner entrances of the sacred building. Their fathers were keepers of the entrance to the tabernacle, as these to the inner doors (margin, "thresholds") of the temple. So the following verse points the times of "the fathers."
And Phinehas the son of Eleazar was the ruler over them in time past, and the LORD was with him.
And Zechariah the son of Meshelemiah was porter of the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.
Verse 21. - Zechariah (see 1 Chronicles 26:1, 2, 11, 14).
All these which were chosen to be porters in the gates were two hundred and twelve. These were reckoned by their genealogy in their villages, whom David and Samuel the seer did ordain in their set office.
Verse 22. - The seer. It is to be noticed that the compiler of Chronicles uses elsewhere, as here, the "aforetime" name of the prophet, according to 1 Samuel 9:9. Note in this verse the linking together of the names of David and Samuel, to the ignoring of that of Saul. In their set office. Keil would translate, "Upon their fidelity, i.e. because they had been found faithful." But our margin translates happily, "in their trust," which will include, in part, the thought of Keil, and will suit our ver. 26.
So they and their children had the oversight of the gates of the house of the LORD, namely, the house of the tabernacle, by wards.
Verses 23-26. - (See above and 1 Chronicles 26:12-19.) For the chief porters, Bertheau suggests, as an analogous expression, στρατηγοῖ (Luke 22:52). The chambers. We have the account of Solomon's building of these in 1 Kings 6:5-10, 16, 19; it is scarcely likely that the "chamber of mattresses" of 2 Kings 11:2 was one of these, though the language of the following verse looks that way (comp. also Ezekiel 46:5-11). And treasuries. These were store-houses (הָאועְרות) for gold, silver, as pertaining to the temple, though of corn, etc., in other connections (1 Kings 7:51; 2 Kings 12:18; 2 Chronicles 5:1; 1 Chronicles 27:25).
In four quarters were the porters, toward the east, west, north, and south.
And their brethren, which were in their villages, were to come after seven days from time to time with them.
For these Levites, the four chief porters, were in their set office, and were over the chambers and treasuries of the house of God.
And they lodged round about the house of God, because the charge was upon them, and the opening thereof every morning pertained to them.
And certain of them had the charge of the ministering vessels, that they should bring them in and out by tale.
Verse 28. - That they should bring them in by tale and by tale carry them out. That is, that they should scrupulously number them.
Some of them also were appointed to oversee the vessels, and all the instruments of the sanctuary, and the fine flour, and the wine, and the oil, and the frankincense, and the spices.
Verses 29, 30. - The vessels and other things required for the daily sacrificial service are here spoken of; the verses receive abundant illustration from various Old Testament passages (Exodus 25:6; Exodus 30:23-38; Leviticus 2:1-7, etc.).
And some of the sons of the priests made the ointment of the spices.
And Mattithiah, one of the Levites, who was the firstborn of Shallum the Korahite, had the set office over the things that were made in the pans.
Verse 31. - Mattithiah. The ubiquitous Shallum, that designates the family, not the individual, is probably here quoted, Mattithiah being at the time in question the representative son. The things that were made in the pans. The word here employed (הַחֲבִתִּים) is not found elsewhere, but other derivatives of the same root are often found (Leviticus 2:5; Leviticus 6:21; Leviticus 7:9; 1 Chronicles 23:29; Ezekiel 4:3).
And other of their brethren, of the sons of the Kohathites, were over the shewbread, to prepare it every sabbath.
Verse 32. - The shewbread (מַעֲרֶכֶת); literally, a pile, and hence applied to the cakes, which were piled in two rows (Leviticus 24:5-8) "on the pure table before the Lord."
And these are the singers, chief of the fathers of the Levites, who remaining in the chambers were free: for they were employed in that work day and night.
Verse 33. - Translate, And these singers, chief of the fathers of the Levites, in the chambers were free. The word "free" is surely sufficiently explained by the following sentence, in connection with Ezra 7:24; Nehemiah 11:23. It is more doubtful whether the expression, "these singers," refers to names, which now should have been inserted but are lost, or possibly to ver. 16, ante; the idiom would prefer the former. They were employed in that work day and night; literally, for by day and by night on them, in the work. If we were to suppose the cheth before the "work" an error for he, the translation would be easy and free from all doubt, for by day and by night, the work devolved upon them. Anyway, the substance of the sense is obvious.
These chief fathers of the Levites were chief throughout their generations; these dwelt at Jerusalem.
Verse 34. - This verse can scarcely be other than a closing general comment respecting all the chief fathers of the Levites, who have been spoken of (1 Chronicles 8:28); and it purports to say that the same order and principle obtained in the offices referred to from generation to generation of families.
And in Gibeon dwelt the father of Gibeon, Jehiel, whose wife's name was Maachah:
Verses 35-44. - (See last chapter, vers. 29-40.)
And his firstborn son Abdon, then Zur, and Kish, and Baal, and Ner, and Nadab,
And Gedor, and Ahio, and Zechariah, and Mikloth.
And Mikloth begat Shimeam. And they also dwelt with their brethren at Jerusalem, over against their brethren.
And Ner begat Kish; and Kish begat Saul; and Saul begat Jonathan, and Malchishua, and Abinadab, and Eshbaal.
And the son of Jonathan was Meribbaal: and Meribbaal begat Micah.
And the sons of Micah were, Pithon, and Melech, and Tahrea, and Ahaz.
And Ahaz begat Jarah; and Jarah begat Alemeth, and Azmaveth, and Zimri; and Zimri begat Moza;
And Moza begat Binea; and Rephaiah his son, Eleasah his son, Azel his son.
And Azel had six sons, whose names are these, Azrikam, Bocheru, and Ishmael, and Sheariah, and Obadiah, and Hanan: these were the sons of Azel.