2:1 came again unto Jerusalem. Although chronological data are somewhat ambiguous, they seem to indicate that this initial return to Jerusalem took place just seventy years after Nebuchadnezzar’s initial capture of Jerusalem (II Chronicles 36:5-7), when he took Daniel and his three friends away into Babylon (Daniel 1:1-3). This return was in fulfillment of Jeremiah’s prophecy (II Chronicles 36:20,21).
2:2 Zerubbabel. This verse lists the leaders of the returning exiles. Zerubbabel was governor and Jeshua high priest. The Nehemiah and Mordecai included in this list are not the same as the Nehemiah who became governor many years later (Nehemiah 1:1) or the Mordecai who was Jewish leader in Persia during the days of Queen Esther (Esther 2:5).
2:43 Nethinims. The Nethinim were an order of servants established by David for the more lowly aspects of the Levitical ministries (Ezra 8:20).
2:63 Tirshatha. The “Tirshatha” was the governor appointed by Cyrus, presumably Zerubbabel (Ezra 2:2).
2:63 Thummim. Evidently, since certain of the returning priests could not verify their right to the office through the remaining genealogies (Ezra 2:61,62), they were not allowed to function as such until they could demonstrate their divine calling spiritually, through the prophetic gifts associated with the Urim and Thummim. See note on Exodus 28:30.
2:64 forty and two thousand. This number evidently includes the women and children, and so is larger than the total of the numbers in the preceding verses of the chapter.
2:65 Beside their servants. The returning Jewish exiles were not impoverished, having many servants as well as animals (Ezra 2:66-67), and money (Ezra 2:69). Many had prospered while in Babylon. They evidently had much freedom in Babylon, even though technically they were a captive people.