Ezra 2 (Good News Translation)
The List of Those Who Returned from Exile
1 Many of the exiles left the province of Babylon and returned to Jerusalem and Judah, all to their own hometowns.
The caravan would have followed the “Fertile Crescent” — north along the Euphrates River up to point east of Aleppo, crossing west to the Orontes River valley and then south, perhaps through Damascus, until they came to Jerusalem.
Their families had been living in exile in Babylonia ever since King Nebuchadnezzar had taken them there as prisoners. 2 Their leaders were Zerubbabel,
Zerubbabel was the son of Shealtiel and the grandson of Jehoiachin (1 Chronicles 3:17), the next-to-the-last king of Judah. With this leadership position given to him from Cyrus, he is the last one of David’s line to have political authority among the Israelites. He is also listed as an ancestor of Christ in Matthew 1.
Joshua, Nehemiah, Seraiah, Reelaiah, Mordecai, Bilshan, Mispar, Bigvai, Rehum, and Baanah.
HERE is “We’re Marching to Zion” — quite literally, for these pilgrims! Listen as you breeze through the many names listed below . . .
This is the list of the clans of Israel, with the number of those from each clan who returned from exile:
3-20Parosh – 2,172
Shephatiah – 372
Arah – 775
Pahath Moab (descendants of Jeshua and Joab) – 2,812
Elam – 1,254
Zattu – 945
Zaccai – 760
Bani – 642
Bebai – 623
Azgad – 1,222
Adonikam – 666
Bigvai – 2,056
Adin – 454
Ater (also called Hezekiah) – 98
Bezai – 323
Jorah – 112
Hashum – 223
Gibbar – 95
“The thousands of homecomers are not lumped together, but (in characteristic biblical fashion) related to those local and family circles which humanize a society and orientate an individual. Such is God’s way, who ‘setteth the solitary in families’ (Psalm 68:6).”
21-35People whose ancestors had lived in the following towns also returned:
Bethlehem – 123
Netophah – 56
Anathoth – 128
Azmaveth – 42
Kiriath Jearim, Chephirah, and Beeroth – 743
Ramah and Geba – 621
Michmash – 122
Bethel and Ai – 223
Nebo – 52
Magbish – 156
The other Elam – 1,254
Harim – 320
Lod, Hadid, and Ono – 725
Jericho – 345
Senaah – 3,630
36-39This is the list of the priestly clans that returned from exile:
Jedaiah (descendants of Jeshua) – 973
Immer – 1,052
Pashhur – 1,247
Harim – 1,017
These families represent only four of the twenty-four divisions of the priesthood established by King David in 1 Chronicles 24:8. Most of the priests stayed behind in Babylon.
40-42Clans of Levites who returned from exile:
Jeshua and Kadmiel (descendants of Hodaviah) – 74
Temple musicians (descendants of Asaph) – 128
Temple guards (descendants of Shallum, Ater, Talmon, Akkub, Hatita, and Shobai) – 139
43-54Clans of Temple workers who returned from exile:
Ziha, Hasupha, Tabbaoth,
Keros, Siaha, Padon,
Lebanah, Hagabah, Akkub,
Hagab, Shamlai, Hanan,
Giddel, Gahar, Reaiah,
Rezin, Nekoda, Gazzam,
Uzza, Paseah, Besai,
Asnah, Meunim, Nephisim,
Bakbuk, Hakupha, Harhur,
Bazluth, Mehida, Harsha,
Barkos, Sisera, Temah,
Neziah, and Hatipha
55-57Clans of Solomon’s servants who returned from exile:
Sotai, Hassophereth, Peruda,
Jaalah, Darkon, Giddel,
Shephatiah, Hattil, Pochereth-Hazzebaim,
58 The total number of descendants of the Temple workers and of Solomon’s servants who returned from exile was 392.
59-60There were 652 belonging to the clans of Delaiah, Tobiah, and Nekoda who returned from the towns of Tel Melah, Tel Harsha, Cherub, Addan, and Immer; but they could not prove that they were descendants of Israelites.
61-62The following priestly clans could find no record to prove their ancestry: Habaiah, Hakkoz, and Barzillai. (The ancestor of the priestly clan of Barzillai had married a woman from the clan of Barzillai of Gilead and had taken the name of his father-in-law’s clan.) Since they were unable to prove who their ancestors were, they were not accepted as priests.63 The Jewish governor told them that they could not eat the food offered to God
until there was a priest who could use the Urim and Thummim (that is, a priest who could make the final decision).
The Urim and Thummim are also among the precious Jewish treasures that were never recovered.
64-67Total number of exiles who returned – 42,360
Their male and female servants – 7,337
Male and female musicians – 200
Horses – 736
Mules – 245
Camels – 435
Donkeys – 6,720
The size of this entire group is here stated to be about 50,000. However, this was only the first wave of repatriation to Israel from the Babylonian captivity and includes only the heads of families. The approximate total of the returned exiles was probably somewhere between 100,000 and 150,000. This was only a small percentage of those who had been exiled and their descendants; the great majority stayed behind in Babylon.
Indeed, Josephus wrote, “many remained in Babylon, being unwilling to leave their possessions.”
One should not think that there was no spiritual life among the Jewish exiles; Ezekiel (who went into exile after 597 or 586 b.c.) describes what we might call a “home Bible study” at his home with the elders of Judah (Ezekiel 8:1). “Deprived of the temple, the exiles laid great stress on the observation of the Sabbath, on the laws of purity, and on prayer and fasting. It has often been suggested that the development of synagogues began in Mesopotamia during the Exile.” (Yamauchi) Indeed, “In the Talmud it is said that only the chaff returned, while the wheat remained behind.” (Adeney)
68 When the exiles arrived at the Lord’s Temple in Jerusalem, some of the leaders of the clans gave freewill offerings to help rebuild the Temple on its old site.69 They gave as much as they could for this work, and the total came to 1,030 pounds of gold, 5,740 pounds of silver, and 100 robes for priests.
70 The priests, the Levites, and some of the people settled in or near Jerusalem; the musicians, the Temple guards, and the Temple workers settled in nearby towns; and the rest of the Israelites settled in the towns where their ancestors had lived.