(32 verses, 4:15 to read)
What I am about to READ
A list of those who returned to Judah from Babylon
MARK and LEARN
Chapter 2 contains a list of the exiles who returned to Jerusalem after the proclamation of Cyrus (ch. 1). It marks them either by family or by vocation. Zerubbabel is mentioned in verse 2, who was responsible for rebuilding the temple in Jerusalem after the return of the exiles.
Interestingly, verse 40 indicates that there were a disproportionate number of priests to Levitical servers who returned from Babylonia. Of the exiles, only 341 Levites were among them, while there were 4,289 priests. The Levites were tasked with serving and assisting the priests in their service to the temple, so the numbers would have worked better if they were switched. It is likely that many of the Levites stayed in Babylon, because they didn’t like the idea of becoming an assistant, even if they were to be free.
In all, there were 42, 360 people who returned to their homeland (vs 64). The family lists do not add up to this number, but this probably means that many people were not counted in the lists due to unverifiable family heritage.
Vs. 65 indicates that there were “singers” who came back with the exiles, though these are not the liturgical singers indicated in verse 41. These were likely musicians of a more secular nature.
The temple needed to be rebuilt, so many of the head of the families contributed to the re-building and supplied garments for the priests (vs. 68-69). The worship of their God and the ministrations of his temple were of utmost importance to the returning exiles.
God provided for his people to return to their homeland, so that in the fullness of time his Son would be born in Bethlehem (vs. 21). In the meantime, God’s liturgy would be restored in his temple and his word would continue to proclaim his saving works and the promises to come in the Messiah.
Pr. Brandon Ross
Faith Lutheran Church