This chapter will list the family names of the exiles who returned from Babylon.  Remember that they were slaves in Babylon and after the war were taken to Persia and now are allowed to return to the land of their ancestors.
Three families had lost their genealogical records so until they had God’s approval was not allowed to officiate in priestly duties.  A total of 49,897 people, including servants and singers return to their homeland of Israel.  You are now invited to join with me in a verse by verse exposition.


1 Now these are the people of the province who came up from the captivity of the exiles, whom Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon had taken captive to Babylon (they returned to Jerusalem and Judah, each to his own town,

There are two registers compiled of the captives, one is by Ezra and the other by Nehemiah.  There is a slight difference and probably the following explanation would account for the difference.  I believe that the account by Era was the census taken when he led the contingent from Persia and other census by Nehemiah taken some years later in Jerusalem.  Cf. Neh. 7:4-73 with the list provided by Ezra.

2 in company with Zerubbabel, Jeshua, Nehemiah, Seraiah, Reelaiah, Mordecai, Bilshan, Mispar, Bigvai, Rehum and Baanah):
       The list of the men of the people of Israel:

The eleven men mentioned in this verse 4 were leaders of the expedition.  The fact that Israel is used shows that all twelve tribes were represented and not just the two tribes of Judah.

3 the descendants of Parosh 2,172

4 of Shephatiah 372

5 of Arah 775

6 of Pahath-Moab (through the line of Jeshua and Joab) 2,812

7 of Elam 1,254

8 of Zattu 945

9 of Zaccai 760

10 of Bani 642

11 of Bebai 623

12 of Azgad 1,222

13 of Adonikam 666

14 of Bigvai 2,056

15 of Adin 454

16 of Ater (through Hezekiah) 98

17 of Bezai 323

18 of Jorah 112

19 of Hashum 223

20 of Gibbar 95

The census information collected will serve several sources.  1.  Military draft.  2.  Tax revenue.  3.  Property rights.  4.  To determine who was a priest or Levite.  4.  Collecting of monies for the temple.  5.  To determine who would live in Jerusalem and who would live in nearby cities.

21 the men of Bethlehem 123

22 of Netophah 56

23 of Anathoth 128

24 of Azmaveth 42

25 of Kiriath Jearim,  Kephirah and Beeroth 743

26 of Ramah and Geba 621

27 of Micmash 122

28 of Bethel and Ai 223

29 of Nebo 52

30 of Magbish 156

31 of the other Elam 1,254

32 of Harim 320

33 of Lod, Hadid and Ono 725

34 of Jericho 345

35 of Senaah 3,630

Note that the registry is focused on Bethlehem because as previously stated Jerusalem was in the first registry.

36 The priests:
       the descendants of Jedaiah (through the family of Jeshua) 973

37 of Immer 1,052

38 of Pashhur 1,247

39 of Harim 1,017

The priest that return number 4,289 or about 10% of the total captives to return under Ezra.

40 The Levites:
       the descendants of Jeshua and Kadmiel (through the line of Hodaviah)74

Levites number 74 and are the priest assistants.  Nehemiah tells us what the Levites did in Nehemiah 8:7-9.  The book of I Chr. 2:3,4 tells us that in David’s day there were 38,000 Levites and list a job classification as supervisors over the construction of the temple, government  officials, judges, gatekeepers, and musicians.  The Babylonians had nearly wiped out the Levites in an effort to destroy all the political and religious apparatus of the Jews.

41 The singers:
       the descendants of Asaph 128 

This group of singers number 128 and are from the Asaph clan.  More singers are mentioned in verse 65.  A roster containing 288 sons of Asaph, Heman and Jeduthan for the ministry of prophesying, accompanied with harps, lyres and cymbals is listed in I Chron. 25

42 The gatekeepers of the temple:
       the descendants of
       Shallum, Ater, Talmon,
       Akkub, Hatita and Shobai 139

Gatekeepers number 139 and they are responsible for security of the city gates.  In I Chron. 23:5 we have 4,000 gatekeepers in the days of David and Solomon.


43 The temple servants:
       the descendants of
       Ziha, Hasupha, Tabbaoth,

44 Keros, Siaha, Padon,

45 Lebanah, Hagabah, Akkub,

46 Hagab, Shalmai, Hanan,

47 Giddel, Gahar, Reaiah,

48 Rezin, Nekoda, Gazzam,

49 Uzza, Paseah, Besai,

50 Asnah, Meunim, Nephussim,

51 Bakbuk, Hakupha, Harhur,

52 Bazluth, Mehida, Harsha,

53 Barkos, Sisera, Temah,

54 Neziah and Hatipha

55 The descendants of the servants of Solomon:
       the descendants of
       Sotai, Hassophereth, Peruda,

56 Jaala, Darkon, Giddel,

57 Shephatiah, Hattil,
       Pokereth-Hazzebaim and Ami

58 The temple servants and the descendants of the servants of Solomon 392

Nethinims and descendants of Solomon’s servants number 392.  This group is called temple servants.  I suppose their responsibilities were ground maintenance, cleaning and all menial tasks that servants normally perform.

59 The following came up from the towns of Tel Melah, Tel Harsha, Kerub, Addon and Immer, but they could not show that their families were descended from Israel:

60 The descendants of
       Delaiah, Tobiah and Nekoda 652

61 And from among the priests:
       The descendants of
       Hobaiah, Hakkoz and Barzillai (a man who had married a daughter of Barzillai the Gileadite and was called by that name).

62 These searched for their family records, but they could not find them and so were excluded from the priesthood as unclean.

63 The governor ordered them not to eat any of the most sacred food until there was a priest ministering with the Urim and Thummim.

This group number 652 and returned from captivity but lacked a genealogy record.  They were staking claim to the priesthood without proper identification.  So Governor Zerubbabel orders an investigation that will be confirmed with Urim and Thummin.

64 The whole company numbered 42,360,

The total here in Ezra is 42,360.  Looking back at the various lists and adding up the numbers we come up with 29,818.  I suppose this larger number would include women and children not named in the previous list.

65 besides their 7,337 menservants and maidservants; and they also had 200 men and women singers.

200 singers however verse 41 lists 128 singers.  There is no discrepancy since verse 41 names the descendants of Asaph and this group would also include other singers not of that clan.

66 They had 736 horses, 245 mules,

736 Horses—used to pull wagons, plows, transportation and war.

245 Mules —Used as pack animals and coronation ceremonies.

 67  435 camels and 6,720 donkeys.

The camels were used in caravans as pack animals and for milk.  6720 Donkeys.  These animals were used for beast of burden and riding.

68 When they arrived at the house of the LORD in Jerusalem, some of the heads of the families gave freewill offerings toward the rebuilding of the house of God on its site.

The returnees were so grateful to get back to their homeland that they wanted to contribute to the rebuilding fund.

69 According to their ability they gave to the treasury for this work 61,000 drachmas of gold, 5,000 minas  of silver and 100 priestly garments.

Nehemiah and Ezra have two different amounts of the offering.  I suppose we could account for this as meaning that a contribution was taken up at two different times thus two different amounts.  Compare Nehemiah 7:70-72

70 The priests, the Levites, the singers, the gatekeepers and the temple servants settled in their own towns, along with some of the other people, and the rest of the Israelites settled in their towns.

The re-settling was done according to family origin, that is, where their family had lived before the captivity.