Notes on the Bible, by Albert Barnes, , at sacred-texts.com
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 Ezr 2:59-62, the plan could not be carried out.
Two other copies of the following list have come down to us - one in Neh. 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.
The Nethinims - The hieroduli or sacred slaves, "given" to the Levites to assist them in their work (see Ch1 9:2 note).
Tel-melah, Tel-harsa, Cherub, Addan, and Immer, were probably cities, or villages, of Babylonia, at which the Jews here spoken of had been settled. The first and third have been reasonably identified with the Thelme and Chiripha of Ptolemy. Of the rest, nothing is known at present.
The Tirshatha - i. e., Zerubbabel. See margin. The word is probably old Persian, though it does not occur in the cuneiform inscriptions. Some derive it from a root "to fear." See the introduction to the Book of Ezra, first note.
A priest with Urim and with Thummim - See Exo 28:30 note. According to the rabbinical writers, the second temple permanently lacked this glory of the first. Zerubbabel, it would seem by the present passage (compare Neh 7:65), expected that the loss would be only temporary.
The sum total is given without any variation by Ezra, by Nehemiah (see the marginal reference), and by Esdras (1 Esdras 5:41), who adds, that in this reckoning only those of twelve years of age and upward were counted.
It is curious that the total 42,360, is so greatly in excess of the items. Ezra's items make the number 29,818; Nehemiah's 31,089, Esdras, 33,950. The original document was probably illegible in places, and the writers were forced to make omissions.
The numbers here and in Nehemiah (see the marginal reference) vary.
All Israel - That the Israelites of the ten tribes returned to Palestine with Zerubbabel is apparent:
(1) from Ch1 9:3;
(2) from the enumeration of twelve chiefs (Neh 7:7; 1 Esd. 5:8); and
(3) from various expressions in Ezra Ezr 2:2, Ezr 2:59; Ezr 3:1.