2 Esdras xii.

Notes & Commentary:

Ver. 1. Priests. But not all, as some are omitted. See ver. 7, 22, &c. — Josue, or Jesus, the high priest. — Esdras, the famous scribe, who is supposed to have returned to Babylon, and to have been living under Nehemias, who came to Jerusalem 81 years after Zorobabel. If, therefore, Esdras was only 20 years old at the former period, he must have lived above 100 years, (Calmet) which is not improbable. (Lyranus; Tirinus, &c.) — He returned again with many of his countrymen, by the king’s leave. (Worthington)

Ver. 7. Chief. Heads of the 24 great families, 1 Paralipomenon xxiv. 18.

Ver. 8. Hymns. To preside over the bands, chap. xi. 17. (Calmet)

Ver. 9. Office. Hebrew, “in the watches,” each in his turn, (Vatable) “daily.” (Septuagint) (Menochius)

Ver. 10. Joacim. These are some of the successors of Josue, (Menochius) who were high priests till the time of Jeddoa, or Jaddus. (Worthington)

Ver. 11. Jonathan, is called Johanan by St. Jerome, (in Daniel) Josephus, &c. — Jeddoa. The Jaddus, who went to meet Alexander, in his pontifical attire, and was graciously received by him; as the monarch revered in his person the God of the Hebrews, who had formerly appeared to him in this manner, to encourage him to undertake the conquests of Asia. (Josephus, [Antiquities?] xi. 8.) — Some think that the names of Jonathan and Jeddoa, and the ver. 22, 23, and 24, have been inserted since the time of Nehemias; as he must have lived 140 years, to see the conquests of Alexander. (Tirinus; Petau; N. Alex. T. 2 Dis. 7.) — He could not be less than 20, when he returned in [the year of the world] 3550. Jaddus met Alexander in 3672; consequently, at that time, Nehemias was 142 years old. But if he died at the commencement of the reign of Darius Codomannus 3668, he would still be 138. (Calmet) — Yet this longevity is by no means incredible, ver. 1., and chap. xiii. 28. (Haydock) — Usher (the year of the world 3602) maintains that Johanan was pontiff under Memnon.

Ver. 12. Saraia had given his name to one of the principal families, at the head of which was Maraia, at this time. The Latin manuscripts, Septuagint, and Syriac style him Amaria.

Ver. 17. Phelti was chief of two families, (Calmet) or perhaps the name of the head of Miamin (Haydock) is lost. (Vatable) — And, is not in Hebrew, “of Miniamin, of Moadiah, Pittai,” (Protestants) (Haydock)

Ver. 19. Jodaia. The same name is written Idaia, ver. 6, and 21.

Ver. 22. Persian. Surnamed Codomannus, (Haydock) Condomanus, (Grotius; Calmet) or Natus, under whom Jaddus was born, though he was pontiff under the former. (Usher, the year of the world 3553.)

Ver. 23. Chronicles. Not those which are now extant: but some records which regarded the families of the priests. See 1 Esdras ii. 61. — The son, or grandson of Eliasib. The author refers to others records, ver. 26. (Calmet)

Ver. 24. Order. Hebrew, “ward over-against ward.” One company kept guard while another retired. (Menochius)

Ver. 25. Entrances. These are not distinctly mentioned before. See 1 Paralipomenon xxvi. 15, 17., and Ezechiel xl. 8. (Calmet) — Septuagint have only, after order, or him, ver. 25. “When I assembled the door-keepers, (ver. 26,) in the days of Joakeim.” (Haydock)

Ver. 26. Scribe. Could these records have any greater authority than Nehemias himself? It seems, therefore, that this had been added by a later hand, whose testimony is perfectly authentic and inspired. (Calmet) — Nehemias might also refer to some records which he, or some other, had drawn up. (Haydock)

Ver. 27. Wall. Some time before, (Usher; Calmet) or now, when the houses were completed. (Ven. Bede) (Tirinus) — Places, for greater solemnity. The ancients deemed “the walls and gates sacred things, the property of no man.” (Justinian, l. sacra loca.) — Ovid describes the superstitious rites, with which the Romans laid the foundations of their cities, on some lucky day.

Fossa fit ad solidum, fruges jaciuntur in ima, &c. (Fast. iv.)

Ver. 30. Were purified first, that they might purify the rest. (Haydock) — Priests were obliged to abstain from wine, and from their wives, while they were on duty. See 2 Paralipomenon xxix. 34., and xxxv. 2., &c. Levites were to wash their garments, Leviticus viii. 21. All lepers, &c., required a certain purification, ibid. v. 2. 6.[Leviticus viii. 2, 6.?] and Numbers xix. 16. Care was taken that no dead body was found on the walls. These were probably sprinkled with water, &c., like the tabernacle, Leviticus viii. 11.

Ver. 31. Choirs. This is not expressed in Hebrew and Septuagint, but must be understood. Protestants, “great companies of them that gave thanks. Whereof one went.” (Haydock) — The princes led the way, then the priests sounded the trumpets, (Numbers x. 8.) the Levites sung, and were followed by the people. All were divided into two equal parts, and went round half the city. (Calmet) — They set out from the dunghill-gate, on the west, and proceeded to the watch-gate, on the east, ver. 38. (Menochius)

Ver. 35. Esdras, mentioned [in] ver. 33, was the chief personage, at the head of this company. (Haydock)

Ver. 37. And, &c. Protestants, “And the other company of them that gave thanks.” — And upon. Hebrew, “beyond.” This company (Haydock) proceeded northward. (Calmet)

Ver. 38. Watch-gate. Syriac and Arabic, “great gate,” by which they came down.

Ver. 42. Great. Numerous, or victims of a large size, oxen, &c.

Ver. 43. Thanksgiving. St. Jerome, Septuagint, and Syriac have read in a different manner from the present Hebrew, (Calmet which has, “for the tithes to gather into them, out of the fields of the cities, the portions of (or by) the law assigned to the priests, &c. Tora, “law,” has been read, toda, “thanksgiving,” by St. Jerome; and sarim, “princes,” has been substituted for sadim, “fields.” (Haydock) — The Syriac admits the second reading. (Calmet) — Septuagint omit the first entirely. “For the tithes, and for the collections in them, brought to the princes of the cities, being the portions for the priests,” &c. (Haydock)

Ver. 44. Expiation. Or the legal purifications, (Menochius) when necessary. (Haydock)

Ver. 45. Asaph was master of music in the reign of David. (Menochius)

Ver. 46. Sanctified. That is, they gave them that which by the law was set aside, and sanctified for their use. (Challoner) — The Levites paid a tithe to the priests, (chap. x. 38., and Numbers xviii. 26.; Calmet) as the people did to them. (Worthington)

Bible Text & Cross-references:

The priests, and Levites, that came up with Zorobabel. The succession of high priests: the solemnity of the dedication of the wall.

1 Now these are the priests, and the Levites, that went up with Zorobabel, the son of Salathiel, and Josue: Saraia, Jeremias, Esdras,

2 Amaria, Melluch, Hattus,

3 Sebenias, Rheum, Merimuth,

4 Addo, Genthon, Abia,

5 Miamin, Madia, Belga,

6 Semeia, and Joiarib, Idaia, Sellum, Amoc, Helcias,

7 Idaia. These were the chief of the priests, and of their brethren, in the days of Josue.

8 And the Levites, Jesua, Bennui, Cedmihel, Sarebia, Juda, Mathanias, they and their brethren were over the hymns:

9 And Becbecia, and Hanni, and their brethren, every one in his office.

10 And Josue begot Joacim, and Joacim begot Eliasib, and Eliasib begot Joiada,

11 And Joiada begot Jonathan, and Jonathan begot Jeddoa.

12 And in the days of Joacim, the priests and heads of the families were: Of Saraia, Maraia: of Jeremias, Hanania:

13 Of Esdras, Mosollam: and of Amaria, Johanan:

14 Of Milicho, Jonathan: of Sebenia, Joseph:

15 Of Haram, Edna: of Maraioth, Helci:

16 Of Adaia, Zacharia: of Genthon, Mosollam:

17 Of Abia, Zechri: of Miamin and Moadia, Phelti:

18 Of Belga, Sammua: of Semaia, Jonathan:

19 Of Joiarib, Mathanai: of Jodaia, Azzi:

20 Of Sellai, Celai: of Amoc, Heber:

21 Of Helcias, Hasebia: of Idaia, Nathanael.

22 The Levites, the chiefs of the families, in the days of Eliasib, and Joiada, and Johanan, and Jeddoa, were recorded, and the priests, in the reign of Darius, the Persian.

23 The sons of Levi, heads of the families, were written in the book of Chronicles, even unto the days of Jonathan, the son of Eliasib.

24 Now the chief of the Levites were Hasebia, Serebia, and Josue, the son of Cedmihel: and their brethren, by their courses, to praise, and to give thanks according to the commandment of David, the man of God, and to wait equally in order.

25 Mathania, and Becbecia, Obedia, and Mosollam, Telmon, Accub, were keepers of the gates, and of the entrances before the gates.

26 These were in the days of Joacim, the son of Josue, the son of Josedec, and in the days of Nehemias, the governor, and of Esdras, the priest and scribe.

27 And at the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem, they sought the Levites out of all their places, to bring them to Jerusalem, and to keep the dedication, and to rejoice with thanksgiving, and with singing, and with cymbals, and psalteries, and harps.

28 And the sons of the singing men were gathered together out of the plain country about Jerusalem, and out of the villages of Nethuphati,

29 And from the house of Galgal, and from the countries of Geba, and Azmaveth: for the singing men had built themselves villages round about Jerusalem.

30 And the priests, and the Levites, were purified, and they purified the people, and the gates, and the wall.

31 And I made the princes of Juda go up upon the wall, and I appointed two great choirs to give praise. And they went on the right hand upon the wall toward the dunghill-gate.

32 And after them went Osaias, and half of the princes of Juda,

33 And Azarias, Esdras, and Mosollam, Judas, and Benjamin, and Semeia, and Jeremias.

34 And of the sons of the priests with trumpets, Zacharias, the son of Jonathan, the son of Semeia, the son of Mathania, the son of Michaia, the son of Zechur, the son of Asaph,

35 And his brethren, Semeia, and Azareel, Malalai, Galalai, Maai, Nathanael, and Judas, and Hanani, with the musical instruments of David, the man of God: and Esdras, the scribe, before them at the fountain-gate.

36 And they went up over-against them by the stairs of the city of David, at the going up of the wall of the house of David, and to the water-gate eastward:

37 And the second choir of them that gave thanks went on the opposite side, and I after them, and the half of the people upon the wall, and upon the tower of the furnaces, even to the broad wall,

38 And above the gate of Ephraim, and above the old gate, and above the fish-gate, and the tower of Hananeel, and the tower of Emath, and even to the flock-gate: and they stood still in the watch-gate.

39 And the two choirs of them that gave praise, stood still at the house of God, and I, and the half of the magistrates with me.

40 And the priests, Eliachim, Maasia, Miamin, Michea, Elioenai, Zacharia, Hanania, with trumpets,

41 And Maasia, and Semeia, and Eleazar, and Azzi, and Johanan, and Melchia, and Elam, and Ezer. And the singers sung loud, and Jezraia was their overseer:

42 And they sacrificed, on that day, great sacrifices, and they rejoiced: for God had made them joyful with great joy: their wives, also, and their children rejoiced, and the joy of Jerusalem was heard afar off.

43 They appointed, also, in that day, men over the storehouses of the treasure, for the libations, and for the first-fruits, and for the tithes, that the rulers of the city might bring them in by them in honour of thanksgiving, for the priests and Levites: for Juda was joyful in the priests and Levites that assisted.

44 And they kept the watch of their God, and the observance of expiation, and the singing men, and the porters, according to the commandment of David, and of Solomon, his son.

45 For in the days of David and Asaph, from the beginning, there were chief singers appointed, to praise with canticles, and give thanks to God.

46 And all Israel, in the days of Zorobabel, and in the days of Nehemias, gave portions to the singing men, and to the porters, day by day, and they sanctified the Levites, and the Levites sanctified the sons of Aaron.