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©Kris Gerbrandt

Chapter 2:1-2, 64-70

Posted on October 07, 2023  - By Chris LaBelle  

Chapter 2:1-2, 64-70 (ESV) - Now these were the people of the province who came up out of the captivity of those exiles whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried captive to Babylonia. They returned to Jerusalem and Judah, each to his own town. They came with Zerubbabel, Jeshua, Nehemiah, Seraiah, Reelaiah, Mordecai, Bilshan, Mispar, Bigvai, Rehum, and Baanah.

The number of the men of the people of Israel…

The whole assembly together was 42,360, besides their male and female servants, of whom there were 7,337, and they had 200 male and female singers. Their horses were 736, their mules were 245, their camels were 435, and their donkeys were 6,720.

Some of the heads of families, when they came to the house of the Lord that is in Jerusalem, made freewill offerings for the house of God, to erect it on its site. According to their ability they gave to the treasury of the work 61,000 darics of gold, 5,000 minas of silver, and 100 priests' garments.

Now the priests, the Levites, some of the people, the singers, the gatekeepers, and the temple servants lived in their towns, and all the rest of Israel in their towns.

Question to consider: Why do you think there is such a detailed list of those who came out of captivity?

While I am thankful that the original text contained a detailed accounting of the number of the men of the people of Israel that were in the group of exiles returning to Jerusalem, I chose to skip over them for the sake of this study. If someone were writing a fable about how to live or a fiction adventure, he would not include this sort of detail. However, if someone wanted to record the faithful remnant who were a part of this important event orchestrated by God, this is exactly what he would do. I even like that the author was hesitant to include the sons of Barzillai since their father had identified himself with the Gileadites.

Among this assembly were people who were able to serve as priests and servants in the temple, and workers who would do the physical labor of rebuilding the city and temple. We also see a list of singers, work animals, and freewill offerings. One of the signs that this was blessed by God was that there were more than enough people with the skills, talents and resources to complete the task. Even today, God supplies a congregation with the people, skills, and resources to make a church thrive. The great struggle among churches today (at least in the United States) is that only a handful of people in a congregation actually recognize that God has given them their skills and resources to serve in the church and do so with joy.

The rest treat the church as a business which is there to cater to them, and there are enough churches around to compete for their allegiance if a church fails to live up to a member’s expectations. If every individual in a congregation were excited to serve their brothers and sisters in Christ, a church would overflow with resources to the point where it could generously support missions and community outreach.

The ones mentioned by name were those who led the assembly. Zerubbabel, who was in the ancestral line of Christ, would be the king overseeing the rebuilding of the city and temple, and Jeshua would be the high priest who would be the mediator between the people and God. The prophet, Zechariah, had a vision about Jeshua standing before the Lord in filthy garments being accused by Satan. The Lord rebuked Satan and gave Jeshua holy garments by grace in order for him to properly intercede for the people of Israel. In this, he would be a type and shadow pointing to the Jeshua who would come hundreds of years later to be our permanent high priest of an everlasting covenant in the heavenly temple.


Dear heavenly Father, thank You for providing for our needs and for those in our congregations. Help us to be generous in serving our brothers and sisters in Christ and making sure the good news of our salvation in Him can go out into the world around us. Please give us joy in our serving and in seeing its fruit. Amen.