All Israel reckoned by genealogies, 1. The first inhabitants of Jerusalem, after their return from their captivity, who were chiefs of the fathers, 2-9. Of the priests, 10-13; Levites, 14-16; porters, their work, lodgings, , 17-29; other officers, 30-32; the singers, 33,34. A repetition of the genealogy of Saul and his sons, 35-44.
Notes on Chapter 9
Were reckoned by genealogies
Jarchi considers these as the words of Ezra, the compiler of the book; as if he had said: I have given the genealogies of the Israelites as I have found them in a book which was carried into Babylon, when the people were carried thither for their transgressions; and this book which I found is that which I have transcribed in the preceding chapters.
Now the first inhabitants
This is spoken of those who returned from the Babylonish captivity, and of the time in which they returned; for it is insinuated here that other persons afterwards settled at Jerusalem, though these mentioned here were the first on the return from the captivity. Properly speaking, the divisions mentioned in this verse constituted the whole of the Israelitish people, who were, ever since the days of Joshua, divided into the four following classes: 1. The priests. 2. The Levites. 3. The common people, or simple Israelites. 4. The Nethinim, or slaves of the temple, the remains of the Gibeonites, who, having deceived Joshua, were condemned to this service Joshua 9:21, conquered people were added, as the successors of the Gibeonites were not sufficient to perform all the drudgery of the temple service.
And in Jerusalem dwelt
Several of the tribes of Judah, Benjamin, Ephraim, and Manasseh, took advantage of the proclamation of Cyrus to return to Jerusalem, and so mingled with the Israelites, and those to whom Jerusalem had previously appertained; and this was necessary in order to provide a sufficient population for so large a city.
Uthai the son of Ammihud
The list here is nearly the same with those found in Ezra and Nehemiah, and contains those who returned to Jerusalem with Zerubbabel; but the list in Nehemiah is more ample, probably because it contains those who came afterwards. The object of the sacred writer here was to give the list of those who came first. Now the first inhabitants, .
The ruler of the house of God.
The high priest at this time was Jeshua the son of Jozadak, 3:8,) and Seraiah, 11:11,) called here Azariah, was the ruler of the house; the person next in authority to the high priest, and who probably had the guard of the temple and command of the priests, Levites, that the person here was the same as is called the second priest, 2 Kings 25:18, who was the sagan or high priest's deputy. See Clarke on 2 Kings 25:18.
And their brethren
What a prodigious number of ecclesiastics to perform the Divine service of one temple! no less than one thousand seven hundred and eighty able-bodied men! and this number is reckoned independently of the two hundred and twelve porters who served at the gates of the house of the Lord, 1 Chronicles 9:22.
The king's gate
That by which the kings of Judah went to the temple; see on 2 Kings 16:18.
Keepers of the entry.
Whose business it was to suffer no person to come to the tabernacle but the priests, during the performance of the sacred service; see Jarchi.
The Targum says, "And Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, was ruler over them from ancient times, from the day in which the tabernacle was set up in the wilderness; and the WORD of the Lord was his assistant."
The sons of the priests made the ointment
Only the priests were permitted to make this ointment; all others were forbidden to do it on pain of death; see Exodus 30:34-38, and the notes there.
Whose wife's name was Maachah
Here our translators have departed from the original, for the word is achotho, his SISTER; but the Vulgate, Septuagint, Syriac, Arabic, and Chaldee, have WIFE; to which may be added 1 Chronicles 8:29, the parallel place. Almost all the early editions, as well as the MS. editions, have the same reading. Of all the Polyglots the Complutensian alone has ishto, his WIFE. His wife is the reading also of Vatablus's Polyglot, but in the margin he observes that other copies have his sister. There is most certainly a fault somewhere, for Maachah could not be both the sister and wife of Jehiel. Whether, therefore, 1 Chronicles 8:29has been altered from this, or this altered from that, who can tell? A single letter makes the whole difference: if the word be written with cheth, it is SISTER; if with shin, it is WIFE. The latter is most probably the true reading. It is so in three very ancient MSS. in my own possession.
This is added by our translators from 1 Chronicles 8:35, but such liberties should only be taken in a note; for although the words are now sufficiently distinguished from the text by being printed in Italics, yet it is too much to expect that every editor of a Bible will attend to such distinctions, and in process of time the words will be found incorporated with the text.
Ver. 35, and the following verses, are a repetition of what we find in 1 Chronicles 8:29-38. where see the notes.