“There were found among the descendents of the priests those who had married foreign women. There were Maaseiah, Eliezer, Jarib, and Gedaliah, who were the descendents of Jeshua son of Jozadak and his brothers. They pledged themselves to send away their wives. Their guilt offering was a ram of the flock for their guilt. There were the descendents of Immer, Hanani and Zebadiah. There were the descendents of Harim, Maaseiah, Elijah, Shemaiah, Jehiel, and Uzziah. There were the descendents of Pashhur, Elioenai, Maaseiah, Ishmael, Nethanel, Jozabad, and Elasah.”
These priests had to offer a ram as guilt or sin offering. There were 4 groups of priests consisting of about 16 listed priests who had married foreigners. They pledged to send their wives away to some unknown place.
“I gathered them by the river that runs to Ahava. There we camped three days. As I reviewed the people and the priests, I found there none of the descendents of Levi. Then I sent for Eliezer, Ariel, Shemaiah, Elnathan, Jarib, Elnathan, Nathan, Zechariah, and Meshullam, who were leaders, and for Joiarib and Elnathan, who were wise. I sent them to Iddo, the leader at the place called Casiphia. I told them what to say to Iddo and his colleagues the temple servants at Casiphia. He should send us ministers for the house of our God. Since the gracious hand of our God was upon us, they brought us a man of discretion, of the descendents of Mahli son of Levi, son of Israel, namely Sherebiah, with his sons and kinsmen, eighteen. Also they brought Hashabiah and with him Jeshaiah of the descendents of Merari, with his kinsmen and their sons, twenty. Besides two hundred twenty of the temple servants, whom David and his officials had set apart to attend the Levites, also came. These were all mentioned by name.”
Once again, we have the use of the personal pronoun singular, “I gathered them.” Over and over again “I” appears. This is a personal first person account of what happened. The Ahava River is not known, but probably a tributary of the Euphrates River in Babylon. Ezra realized that he had no Levites. So he sent a group of people to Iddo who was the leader at Casiphia. There 4 or 5 different people with the name of Iddo, including Levites, and prophets. This one was a temple slave leader at Casiphia, which must have been an important place for a group of Israelite exiles because they had so many temple slaves. They may have had their own house of God there in northern Babylon. Interesting enough this Iddo sent 2 Levite families of 19 and 20 people from the Mahli and Merari branch of Levites. He also sent 220 Temple servants who were to help the Levites. There must have been a lot of them there.
“The sons of Simeon were Nemuel, Jamin, Jarib, Zerah, and Shaul.”
Now we switch to the family of Simeon the son of Jacob or Israel that will eventually become part of Judah. The 6 children of Simeon in Genesis, chapter 46, were Jemuel, Jamin, Ohad, Jachin, Zohar, and Shaul. However, there are only 5 sons of Simeon mentioned here. Ohad was listed as the 3rd son of Simeon in both Genesis, chapter 46, and Exodus, chapter 6, but there is no mention of him here. (1) Nemuel was called Jemuel in Genesis. (2) Zerah was called Zohar. There are other instances of Zerah, especially as the son of Judah. (3) Jamin has the same spelling as in the earlier works. Obviously, this list is dependent on Numbers, chapter 26, at the time of the census where Nemuel was the head of the clan of the Nemuelites. Jamin was the head of the clan of the Jaminites. Jachin was the head of the clan of the Jachinites. (4) Jarib has replaced Jachin in this listing. There are 3 others with the same name of Jarib in biblical literature. Zerah was the head of the clan of the Zerahites. Finally (5) Shaul was the head of the clan of the Shaulites.