Notes on the Bible, by Albert Barnes, , at sacred-texts.com
Punctuate as follows:
Ezr 8:2. ... of the sons of David, Hattush of the sons of Shechaniah.
Ezr 8:3. Of the sons of Pharosh, Zechariah ....
Hattush, the descendant of David, was the grandson of Shechaniah (see marginal reference).
Most of these names Ezr 8:2-14 occur also as those of heads of families in the list of the Jews who returned with Zerubbabel Ezr 2:3-15. The Septuagint and Syriac versions supply omissions in Ezr 8:5, Ezr 8:10.
Ahava was both a town and a river Ezr 8:21. The modern name of the place is Hit. It is famous for its bitumen springs, and is situated on the Euphrates, at a distance of about 80 miles from Babylon, toward the northwest.
None of the sons of Levi - The Levites appear to have been disinclined to return to Jerusalem (see Ezr 3:8 note).
Casiphia - Its situation is wholly unknown; but it cannot have been far from Ahava.
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).
What "enemy" menaced Ezra, and on what account, is wholly uncertain (compare Ezr 8:31). Perhaps robber-tribes, Arab or Syrian, were his opponents.
Twenty basons of gold, of a thousand drams - Not of a thousand drams (i. e., darics) each, but worth altogether a thousand darics. As the value of the daric was about 22 shillings of British money, each basin, or saucer, would have been worth (apart from the fashioning) 55 British pounds.
Of fine copper - The word translated "fine," which occurs here only, is thought to mean either "yellow" or "glittering" (see the margin). Probably the vessels were of orichalcum, an amalgam which was either brass or something nearly approaching to brass, but which was very rarely produced in the ancient world, and, when produced, was regarded as highly valuable.
The Jews with Ezra left Babylon on the first day of the first month Ezr 7:9. They reached Ahava in nine days, and, having remained there three Ezr 8:15, quitted it, and resumed their journey on the twelfth. They reached Jerusalem on the first day of the fifth month Ezr 7:9, four months after the departure from Babylon.
Compare the marginal reference. The idea of offerings for all Israel pervades in this case the entire sacrifice, with the exception of the lambs, whose number (77) is unique, and has not been accounted for.
The kings commissions - i. e., the orders issued to all governors of provinces near Judaea by Artaxerxes, given in Ezr 7:21-24.
The kings lieutenants - literally, "the king's satraps." The word is used in its strict sense, referring to the chief rulers of Persian provinces, from which the "governors" or rulers of smaller districts are distinguished.