Commentary on the Bible, by Adam Clarke, , at sacred-texts.com
An account of those who returned from Babylon, vv. 1-35. The children of the priests who returned, Ezr 2:36-39. Of the Levites, Ezr 2:40. Of the singers, Ezr 2:41. Of the porters, Ezr 2:42. Of the Nethinim, and the children of Solomon's servants, vv. 43-58. Others who could not find out their registers, Ezr 2:59-62. The number of the whole congregation, Ezr 2:63, Ezr 2:64. Of their servants, maids, and singers, Ezr 2:65. Their horses and mules, Ezr 2:66. Their camels and asses, Ezr 2:67. The offerings of the chief men when they came to Jerusalem, Ezr 2:68, Ezr 2:69. The priests, Levites, singers, porters, and Nethinim, betake themselves to their respective cities, Ezr 2:70.
These are the children of the province - That is, of Judea; once a kingdom, and a flourishing nation; now a province, subdued, tributary, and ruined! Behold the goodness and severity of God! Some think Babylon is meant by the province; and that the children of the province means those Jews who were born in Babylon. But the first is most likely to be the meaning, for thus we find Judea styled, Ezr 5:8. Besides, the province is contradistinguished from Babylon even in this first verse, The children of the province - that had been carried away unto Babylon.
Which came with Zerubbabel - There are many difficulties in this table of names; but as we have no less than three copies of it, that contained here from Ezra 2:1-67, a second in Nehemiah 7:6-69, and a third in 1 Esdras 5:7-43, on a careful examination they will be found to correct each other. The versions also, and the Variae Lectiones of Kennicott and De Rossi, do much toward harmonizing the names.
Though the sum total at the end of each of these enumerations is equal, namely 42,360, yet the particulars reckoned up make in Ezra only 29,818, and in Nehemiah 31,089. We find that Nehemiah mentions 1765 persons which are not in Ezra, and Ezra has 494 not mentioned by Nehemiah. Mr. Alting thinks that this circumstance, which appears to render all hope of reconciling them impossible, is precisely the very point by which they can be reconciled; for if we add Ezra's surplus to the sum in Nehemiah, and the surplus of Nehemiah to the number in Ezra, the numbers will be equal.
The number in Ezra 29,818 Surplus in Nehemiah. 1,765 Sum total 31,583
The number in Nehemiah 31,089 The surplus in Ezra 494 Sum total 31,583
If we subtract this sum 31,583 from 42,360, we shall have a deficiency of 10,777 from the numbers as summed up in the text; and these are not named here, either because their registers were not found, or they were not of Judah and Benjamin, the tribes particularly concerned, but of the other Israelitish tribes; see Ezr 2:36.
The children of Parosh - Where the word children is found in this table, prefixed to the name of a man, it signifies the descendants of that person, as from Ezra 2:3-21. Where it is found prefixed to a place, town, etc., it signifies the inhabitants of that place, as from Ezr 2:21-35.
The children of Beth-lehem - The inhabitants: see before.
The children of Lod, Hadid, and Ono - These were cities in the tribe of Benjamin; see on Ch1 8:12 (note).
The priests - The preceding list takes in the census of Judah and Benjamin.
The children of Solomon's servants - The Nethinim, and others appointed to do the meaner services of the holy house.
The Tirshatha - This is generally supposed to be Nehemiah, or the person who was the commandant; see Neh 8:9; Neh 10:1, for the word appears to be the name of an office. The Vulgate and Septuagint write it Atershatha, the Syriac and Arabic render it the princes of Judah. Some suppose the word to be Persian, but nothing like it of the same import occurs in that language at present. If, as Castel supposed, it signifies austerity, or that fear which is unpressed by the authority of a governor, it may come from ters, Fear, or tersh, Acid, the former from tarsidan, to Fear or Dread.
Should not eat of the most holy things - There was a high priest then, but no Urim and Thummim, these having been lost in the captivity.
Their horses - seven hundred, etc. - They went into captivity, stripped of every thing; they now return from it, abounding in the most substantial riches, viz., horses 736, or, according to Esdras, 7036; mules, 245; camels, 435; asses, 6720; besides gold, and silver, and rich stuffs. See below.
Threescore and one thousand drams of gold - דרכמונים darkemonim, drakmons or darics; a Persian coin, always of gold, and worth about 1. 5s., not less than 76,250 sterling in gold.
Five thousand pounds of silver - מנים manim, manehs or minas. As a weight, the maneh was 100 shekels; as a coin, 60 shekels in value, or about 9.; 5000 of these manehs therefore will amount to 45,000, making in the whole a sum of about 120,000; and in this are not included the 100 garments for priests.
Thus we find that God, in the midst of judgment, remembered mercy, and gave them favor in the land of their captivity.
Dwelt in their cities - They all went to those cities which belonged originally to their respective families.