The list of the men returning by ancestral leaders (Ezra 2:3-2:19)

“Here is the number of the Israelite people returning. There were the descendents of Parosh, two thousand one hundred seventy-two. There were the descendents of Shephatiah, three hundred seventy-two. There were the descendents of Arah, seven hundred seventy-five. There were the descendents of Pahath-moab, namely the descendents of Jeshua and Joab, two thousand eight hundred twelve. There were the descendents of Elam, one thousand two hundred fifty-four. There were the descendents of Zattu, nine hundred forty-five. There were the descendents of Zaccai, seven hundred sixty. There were the descendents of Bani, six hundred forty-two. There were the descendents of Bebai, six hundred twenty-three. There were the descendents of Azgad, one thousand two hundred twenty-two. There were the descendents of Adonikam, six hundred sixty-six. There were the descendents of Bigvai, two thousand fifty-six. There were the descendents of Adin, four hundred fifty-four. There were the descendents of Ater, namely of Hezekiah, ninety-eight. There were the descendents of Bezai, three hundred twenty-three. There were the descendents of Jorah, one hundred twelve.  There were the descendents of Hashum, two hundred twenty-three.”

Here we have a listing of the heads of the families with the number of people that were returning with them. There is a similar list in Nehemiah, chapter 7. Once again, these were the well to do leaders, not the poor who had stayed. They were listed by their important ancestors with very exact numbers, not rounded off. These groupings were large enough to form small towns or at least neighborhoods in cities. There must have been a recording of these names and people as they left. The Parosh folks had 2,172 people. Shephatiah was the name of one of King David’s son, but I do not think that this is him since there were only 372 of them. The Arah folks had 775 people. Pahath-moab literally means a sheik of Moab with 2,812 people. Elam here, one group had 1,254 people. There also was a territory name Elam, but that was over by Persia. Zattu had 945 people. There were 760 of the Zaccai people. There were a lot of Levites with the name of Bani, as they had 642 people. The Bebai people had 623. There were 1,222 Azgad people. Adonikam had the infamous number 666 people. There were a lot of Bigvai people, 2,056, but there were only 454 Adin people. The Ater group was only 98 gatekeepers. 323 Bezai people returned. Jorah had only 112 people, while Hashum had 223 people.

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The Levite cantor Ethan the Merarite (1 Chr 6:44-6:48)

“On the left hand were their kindred the sons of Merari, Ethan son of Kishi, son of Abdi, son of Malluch, son of Hashabiah, son of Amaziah, son of Hilkiah, son of Amzi, son of Bani, son of Shemer, son of Mahli, son of Mushi, son of Merari, son of Levi. Their kindred the Levites were appointed for all the service of the tabernacle of the house of God.”

To balance the singers, (15) Ethan a Merari Levite was on the left. Thus all 3 clans of the Levites were represented as cantors or singers, during the time of David with Heman from Kohath in the center and Asaph from Gershom on the right. This genealogy goes back 15 generations. The names of (4) Mahli, (3) Mushi, (2) Merari, and (1) Levi are the classical patriarchs of this clan of Merarites. (5) Shemer may be the same as Shimei. (6) Bani appears as the name for 11 different people. The name (7) Amzi only appears once elsewhere. There were 7 people with the name of (8) Hilkiah, the most famous being the priest at the time of Josiah who found the lost book of the Law, in 2 Kings, chapter 22. There were 3 others with the name of (9) Amaziah, with the most famous of these the 8th king of Judah, King Amaziah (796-781 BCE) in 2 Kings, chapter 14. There were 5 other people with the name of (11) Malluch and 11 with the name of (10) Hashabiah. There were 2 other people with the name of (12) Abdi. There was a group called the “Kishaiah” of the Merari branch of the Levites, although this is the only mention of (13) Kishi. This (14) Ethan was not a Gershonite as in the preceding verses. Only the Levites could perform the service at the tabernacle in the temple, the house of Yahweh.