Those who came with Ezra (Ezra 8:1-8:14)

“These are the family heads. This is the genealogy of those who went up with me from Babylonia, in the reign of King Artaxerxes. There was the descendent of Phinehas, Gershom. There was the descendent of Ithamar, Daniel. There was the descendent of David, Hattush. There were the descendents of Shecaniah. There were the descendents of Parosh, Zechariah with one hundred fifty registered men. There were the descendents of Pahath-moab, Eliehoenai son of Zerahiah with two hundred men. There were the descendents of Zattu, Shecaniah son of Jahaziel with three hundred men. There were the descendents of Adin, Ebed son of Jonathan with fifty men. There were the descendents of Elam, Jeshaiah son of Athaliah with seventy men. There were the descendents of Shephatiah, Zebadiah son of Michael with eighty men. There were the descendents of Joab, Obadiah son of Jehiel with two hundred eighteen men. There were the descendents of Bani, Shelomith son of Josiphiah with one hundred sixty men. There were the descendents of Bebai, Zechariah son of Bebai with twenty-eight men. There were the descendents of Azgad, Johanan son of Hakkatan with one hundred ten men. There were the descendents of Adonikam, those who came later, their names being Eliphelet, Jeuel, and Shemaiah with sixty men. There were the descendents of Bigvai, Uthai and Zaccur with seventy men.”

Once again, we have the use of the singular personal pronoun “with me.” This no longer is a story about someone else but a personal eye witness account. It is the story of Ezra himself, or someone pretending to be him. These are the people who were with him, about 1,500 men. If you count women and children then this would be about 5,000, about a 10% the size of the group that set out under King Cyrus in 537 BCE, under the leadership of Zerubbabel and Jeshua. A number of these families seem to have only 1 person since there is no number given unlike the others with specific numbers. Thus the descendents of Phinehas, Ithamar, David, and Shecaniah have either one or no one listed. Phinehas and Ithamar were the son and grandson of Aaron. This Shecaniah is virtually unknown since a lot of biblical people had that name. Most of these people were the descendents of those who had come to Jerusalem in chapter 2 of this book 80 years earlier. Thus the descendents of Parosh only had 150 men instead of 2,172 men 80 years earlier. The descendents of Pahath-moab are only 200 instead of 2,800. The descendents of Zattu were 300 instead of 945. The descendents of Adin were 50 instead of 445. The descendents of Elam were 70 instead of 1,294. The descendents of Shephatiah were 80 instead of 372. The descendents of Bani were 160 instead of 642. The descendents of Bebai were 28 instead of 623. The descendents of Azgad were 110 instead of 1,222. The descendents of Adonikam were 60 instead of 666. The descendents of Bigvai were 70 instead of 2,256. There was no mention of the descendents of Arah, Zaccai, Ater, Bezai, Hashum, or Jorah that were in chapter 2. The only new group here was Joab with 218 men.

The list of the men returning by towns (Ezra 2:20-2:35)

“There were the descendents of Gibbar, ninety-five. There were the descendents of Bethlehem, one hundred twenty-three. There were the descendents of Netophah, fifty-six. There were the descendents of Anathoth, one hundred twenty-eight. There were the descendents of Azmaveth, forty-two. There were the descendents of Kiriatharim, Chephirah, and Beeroth, seven hundred forty-three. There were the descendents of Ramah and Geba, six hundred twenty-one. There were the descendents of Michmas, one hundred twenty-two. There were the descendents of Bethel and Ai, two hundred twenty-three. There were the descendents of Nebo, fifty-two. There were the descendents of Magbish, one hundred fifty-six. There were the descendents of the other Elam, one thousand two hundred fifty-four. There were the descendents of Harim, three hundred twenty. There were the descendents of Lod, Hadid, and Ono, seven hundred twenty-five. There were the descendents of Jericho, three hundred forty-five. There were the descendents of Senaah, three thousand six hundred thirty.”

The second part of this list refers to the towns that they came from in Judah, but also in Benjamin. Thus these were the leaders there that had been taken into captivity. Gibbar or the town of Gibeon had a mere 95 people. Bethlehem had 123 people. Netophah was another small town near Bethlehem that only had 56 people, while Anathoth, another small town in Benjamin, had 128 people. Azmaveth, a town near Jerusalem, had 42 people, the smallest amount. There was a group of 3 towns near Jerusalem in the Benjamin territory of Kiriatharim, Chephirah, and Beeroth with 743 people. Ramah and Geba were northern towns in Benjamin with 621 people. Michmas was another Benjamin town with 122 people. Bethel and Ai were 2 northern Benjaminite towns with about 223 people. Although there are many places with the name of Nebo, this Nebo was a small town near Bethel and Ai with 52 people. Magbish was a small town in Benjamin with 156 people. From the other Elam there were 1,254 people. Harim had 320 people. Lod, Hadid, and Ono were 3 Benjaminite towns with 725 people. Jericho had 345 people. Senaah, a town in northern Benjamin had the largest group of 3,630 people.

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.

The Korahite gatekeepers (1 Chr 26:1-26:3)

“As for the divisions of the gatekeepers, the Korahites had Meshelemiah son of Kore, of the sons of Asaph. Meshelemiah had sons, Zechariah the first-born, Jediael the second, Zebadiah the third, Jathniel the fourth, Elam the fifth, Jehohanan the sixth, and Eliehoenai the seventh.”

The Korahites were the dominate gatekeepers. The most important man was Meshelemiah as we find out about his family. Somehow he is related to Kore and Asaph. Meshelemiah had 7 sons, who were gatekeepers. There were 27 biblical people with the name of (1) Zechariah with the most famous being the prophet and his book, Zechariah. There were 2 other people with the name of (2) Jediael. 8 others had the name of (3) Zebadiah. This is the only mention of (4) Jathniel. There were 5 other people called (5) Elam and (6) Jehohanan, while there was only 1 other person with the name of (7) Eliehoenai.

The sons of Shashak (1 Chr 8:22-8:25)

“Ishpan, Eber, Eliel, Abdon, Zichri, Hanan, Hananiah, Elam, Anthothijah, Iphdeiah, and Penuel were the sons of Shashak.”

This Shashak, who was the son of the Benjaminite Beriah, had 11 sons. (1) Ishpan, (9) Anthothijah, and (10) Iphdeiah appear only here. (2) Eber was the same name as the son of Elpaal, while (3) Eliel is the same name as a son of Shimei. (4) Abdon was the name of one of the judges that preceded Samson in Judges, chapter 12, but there were also a couple of other people with the name of Abdon. There were 12 other people with the name of (5) Zichri with 4 of them being Benjaminites including the son of Shimei just mentioned before this. There were 9 people named (6) Hanan, but none of them Benjaminites besides this one. 13 people had the name of (7) Hananiah, while 5 others were named (8) Elam. There were 2 people with the name of (11) Penuel, but that was a town on the east side of the Jordan River that Gideon had some trouble with in Judges, chapter 8.

The descendents of Shem (1 Chr 1:17-1:17)

“The descendents of Shem were Elam, Asshur, Arpachshad, Lud, Aram, Uz, Hul, Gether, and Meshech.”

Once again, this is based on Genesis, chapter 10. Shem was the oldest son of Noah, the favorite of the biblical authors. The descendents of Shem will become the Semites. Some believe that the word Semite comes from his name Shem. Shem had five sons in Genesis, chapter 10. (1) Elam had a powerful territory in lower Mesopotamia named after him. (2) Asshur was the name of the first capital of Assyria. (3) The Arpachshad lineage became the most important. (4) Lud was supposedly the ancestor of Lydia. There are other people named (5) Aram in the biblical literature. Perhaps this Aram gave the name to the territory northeast of Palestine that became Syria and the people there known as Arameans. There is no mention of the descendents of Elam, Asshur, and Lud. In Genesis, chapter 10, (1) Uz, (2) Hul, (3) Gether, and (4) Meshech are the sons of Aram, but in the biblical literature they only mentioned in the genealogies here and in Genesis, chapter 10. However, Uz was a common name. There was an area called Uz in southern Syria, where Job is said to come from. Hul may be a town in northern Canaan. No one can seem to trace Gether. Meshech, sometimes called Mash, is the same name as the 6th son of Japheth.