The Names of Ezra 2
This study deals only with the genealogies in the second chapter of Ezra. More genealogical information in later chaptersand in Nehemiah warrants investigation.
(much personal opinion)Ezra 1:5 says, “Then rose up the chief of the fathers of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests, and the Levites, withall
whose spirit God had raised, to go up to build the house of the L
in Jerusalem.”The second chapter of Ezra proceeds with a litany of names who “rose up” to return to Judah to rebuild Yahveh’shouse that call for close examination. Many of Judah, Benjamin, and Levi did indeed return. Mixed in with them,however, were a number of unsavory characters such as Nethinims, non-priests who could nevertheless not proveIsraelite genealogy, and false priests who could not prove Levitical genealogy.The table below attempts to sort out peoples and places. Given the fact that Nebuchadnezzar gave Daniel himself a Babylonian name, it would come as no surprise that some true Israelites bore foreign names. Some wordsidentified as people or places can double as both, and educated guesses are given from context. Many instances of “person” refer to a family patriarch.Jeremiah gives few concrete clues as to how many children of Judah, Benjamin, and Levi, as well as the ever-present “inhabitants of Jerusalem,” went into captivity.Jeremiah 52:15 says, “Then Nebuzar-adan the captain of the guard carried away captive
of the poor of thepeople, and the residue of the people that remained in the city, and those that fell away, that fell to the king of Babylon, and the rest of the multitude.” A total of 4,600 more were carried off in subsequent sieges per verses 28-30 of the same chapter.Per Ezra 2:64-65, 49,697 named and unnamed people returned to the then province of Judah in the Persiankingdom. A hodge-podge mix seems to have gone into captivity, and a hodge-podge mix came out. Given theambiguity of the numbers who went into captivity, one’s mind might ponder the possibilities of some who did notreturn to Judah and migrated elsewhere.Name meanings come primarily from
The Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible
, but when it provided nodefinition, sometimes
Smith’s Bible Dictionary
did. Names from Smith’s are only included if Strong’s had nodefinition.Finally, some interesting trivia gleaned from this study:*The porters’ name meanings are, on the whole, particularly morose*The number of the children of Adonikam who returned was 666*The Nethinims, combined with Solomon’s servants, numbered only 392. That was a small percentage of thegroup that returned, but their names are given in great detail. Other non-Israelites are not called out in suchextensive detail.*There are two “Elams” mentioned, one in verse 7, and “the other Elam” in verse 31. Both list identical numbers of 1,254 returning.
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