The list of the guilty priests (Ezra 10:18-10:22)

“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.

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 rulers in Jerusalem (2 Chr 19:11-19:11)

“See! Amariah the chief priest is over you in all matters of Yahweh. Zebadiah son of Ishmael is the governor of the house of Judah, in all the king’s matters. The Levites will serve you as officers. Deal courageously! May Yahweh be with the upright!”

Amariah as the chief priest was in charge of all things about Yahweh. He probably helped with many of the religious reforms. It is not clear whether Zebadiah was a Levite or not. However, he was the man in charge of the house of Judah concerning all the king’s affairs. The Levites were the officers. They were to be courageous and upright.

King Jehoshaphat sends missionaries to instruct the people (2 Chr 17:7-17:9)

“In the third year of his reign King Jehoshaphat sent his officials, Ben-hail, Obadiah, Zechariah, Nethanel, and Micaiah, to teach in the cities of Judah. With them were the Levites, Shemaiah, Nethaniah, Zebadiah, Asahel, Shemiramoth, Jehonathan, Adonijah, Tobijah, and Tob-adonijah. With these Levites were the priests Elishama and Jehoram. They taught in Judah, having the book of the law of Yahweh with them. They went around through all the cities of Judah. They taught among the people.”

This was a special mission of what we might call evangelization today. King Jehoshaphat sent his officials and Levites out to teach the people about the law of Yahweh in the major cities of Judah. This was a different approach than that of his father, King Asa, who wanted everyone killed who was not a Yahweh worshipper. There were 5 officials named, 9 Levites, and 2 priests. Of the 5 officials, this is the only mention of (1) Ben-hail. Although there are 12 different people with the name of (2) Obadiah including the prophetic book of the same name, this Obadiah only appears here. There was a (3) Zechariah who was a son of King Jehoshaphat, one who was king of Israel (743 BCE) and a later prophet of the 6th century BCE, but this Zechariah is not one of these, unless possibly the son of the king. Although there are 10 biblical people with the name of (4) Nethanel, this one could be the trumpet blower or the son of Obed-edom. I wonder if this (5) Micaiah is the same prophet who King Jehoshaphat wanted later in this chapter. As for the 9 Levites, (1) Shemaiah was a common name among Levites, but this one is only mentioned here. This (2) Nethaniah might be one of the sons of Asaph or his descendents. (3) Zebadiah was a common name, but this one is not mentioned elsewhere. (4) Asahel was the name of a nephew of David who died, but this is not him. (5) Shemiramoth was at the time of David, but this is a different Shemiramoth. (6) Jehonathan is only mentioned here. (7) Adonijah was the name of a son of David, but this is not him. There was a later prophet with the name of (8) Tobijah. (9)Tob-adonijah appears only here. The 2 priests were Elishama and Jehoram. (1) Elishama was the name of a son of David, but this one is a priest. (2) Jehoram is a complicated name since two kings had that same name, one was the son of King Jehoshaphat who ruled from (848-840 BCE) and that other was the king of Israel (852-842 BCE). This priest could possibly be the son of King Jehoshaphat.

The twelve monthly military leaders (1 Chr 27:2-27:15)

“Jashobeam son of Zabdiel was in charge of the first division in the first month. In his division were twenty-four thousand. He was a descendant of Perez. He was chief of all the commanders of the army for the first month.

Dodai the Ahohite was in charge of the division of the second month. In his division were twenty-four thousand.

The third commander, for the third month, was Benaiah son of Jehoiada the priest, as chief. In his division were twenty-four thousand. This is the Benaiah who was a mighty man of the Thirty and in command of the Thirty. His son Ammizabad was in charge of his division.

Asahel brother of Joab was fourth, for the fourth month, and his son Zebadiah after him. In his division were twenty-four thousand.

The fifth commander, for the fifth month, was Shamhuth, the Izrahite. In his division were twenty-four thousand.

Sixth, for the sixth month, was Ira son of Ikkesh the Tekoite. In his division were twenty-four thousand.

Seventh, for the seventh month, was Helez the Pelonite, of the Ephraimites. In his division were twenty-four thousand.

Eighth, for the eighth month, was Sibbecai the Hushathite, of the Zerahites. In his division were twenty-four thousand.

Ninth, for the ninth month, was Abiezer of Anathoth, a Benjaminite. In his division were twenty-four thousand.

Tenth, for the tenth month, was Maharai of Netophah, of the Zerahites. In his division were twenty-four thousand.

Eleventh, for the eleventh month, was Benaiah of Pirathon, of the Ephraimites. In his division were twenty-four thousand.

Twelfth, for the twelfth month, was Heldai the Netophathite, of Othniel. In his division were twenty-four thousand.”

Each monthly group had 24,000 troops. (1) Jashobeam son of Zabdiel was actually one of the first to help David. He was in charge for the first month. He was from the family of Judah via Perez. (2) Dodai the Ahohite had a son who was among mighty Three of King David. (3) Benaiah son of Jehoiada was the leader of the Thirty and the personal body guard of King David. Thus his son Ammizabad was the leader here. (4) Asahel the brother of Joab was the nephew of King David that died. Thus he was succeeded by his son Zebadiah. This is the only mention of (5) Shamhuth, the Izrahite. This (6) Ikkesh the Tekoite had at least 2 sons Ira and (7) Helez the Pelonite, who is mentioned here. (8) Sibbecai the Hushathite, (9) Abiezer of Anathoth, and (10) Maharai of Netophah were mentioned in chapter 11 of this book and 2 Samuel, chapter 23. (11) Benaiah of Pirathon was an Ephraimite. (12) Heldai the Netophathite was somehow related to Othniel.

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 Benjaminite warriors (1 Chr 12:2-12:7)

“They were Benjaminites, Saul’s kinsmen. The chief was Ahiezer, then Joash, both sons of Shemaah of Gibeah. There was Jeziel and Pelet sons of Azmaveth, Beracah, Jehu of Anathoth, Ishmaiah of Gibeon, a mighty man among the Thirty and a leader over the Thirty. They also included Jeremiah, Jahaziel, Johanan, Jozabad of Gederah, Eluzai, Jerimoth, Bealiah, Shemariah, Shephatiah the Haruphite. There was Elkanah, Isshiah, Azarel, Joezer, and Jashobeam, the Korahites. Finally there were Joelah and Zebadiah, sons of Jeroham of Gedor.”

Here David was attracting the relatives of Saul, who was a Benjaminite. There was another Ahiezer that was from the tribe of Dan in Numbers, but this is the only mention of this Benjaminite Ahiezer. Although 2 kings 3 other Benjaminites have this name, this Joash is only mentioned here. There is another officer in David’s army, but it is not clear if they are both the same people. This is the only mention of their father Shemaah. Although this is the only mention of Jeziel and Pelet, their father Azmaveth may have been one of David’s mighty warriors mentioned in the preceding chapter. Beracah was the name of a person and a place not far from Tekoa. This is the only mention of this particular Jehu since the more famous Jehu was king of Israel (841-814 BCE). Interesting enough, this Ishmaiah of Gibeon was not mentioned in the preceding paragraph about the mighty warriors, but is here mentioned as a leader of the Thirty. This Jeremiah is not the prophet Jeremiah. There were a couple of other Levites with the name of Jahaziel. There were a number of Levites called Jozabad, plus a man from Manasseh who helped David. However, Eluzai, Bealiah, and Haruphite are only mentioned here and nowhere else in the biblical literature. There were at least 5 different men with the name Jerimoth. There were 3 other people called Shemariah as well as 8 or 9 people with the name Shephatiah. There were also 5 Korahites, from the family of the rebellious Levite Korah. Elkanah was the name of the son of Korah as well as a number of Levites. Isshiah was also the name of a couple of Levites. There were 5 people with the name of Azarel. Joezer only shows up here. Jashobeam was also the name of one of David’s mighty warriors. This was the only mention of Joelah, but there were 8 other people with the name of Zebadiah.