7:2 my brother Hanani. Hanani was the one who had first stirred up his brother Nehemiah to rebuild Jerusalem; when he brought back to him the sad report of the state of the city and the returned exiles there. See Nehemiah l:2-3.
7:5 register of the genealogy. This genealogical register (Nehemiah 7:6-73) is essentially the same as that earlier recorded by Ezra (Ezra 2:1-70), though with some interesting differences. One reason for this repetition may be the importance in God’s sight of maintaining true records of the twelve tribes. Twelve thousand from each tribe are to be specially sealed as His witnesses during the coming period of great tribulation on earth (Revelation 7:4-8). Whether or not accurate genealogical records have been kept by Israel here on earth, we can be sure God has them in heaven.
7:32 Ai. Joshua 8:28 indicates that Ai had been destroyed “forever.” However, the Hebrew word can also mean simply “for a long time.” Evidently it had been rebuilt by Nehemiah’s time.
7:66 whole congregation together. The total number coming back to Jerusalem in the first wave of emigrants from Babylon, given here as 42,360, is the same as given in Ezra 2:64. However, the total of the individual numbers given by Ezra is 29,818 and of those given by Nehemiah is 31,089. Nehemiah mentions 1,765 persons not cataloged by Ezra, and Ezra mentions 494 not mentioned by Nehemiah. Adding the appropriate omitted numbers to each yields a total of 31,583 individuals in both cases. This, of course, leaves a total of 10,777 individuals who were not specially listed by either Ezra or Nehemiah, but who nevertheless were with the returning exiles. Possibly their individual genealogical records had been lost. Another intriguing possibility is that this group consisted of people from the ten northern tribes, carried into Assyrian captivity long before the Babylonian captivity of Judah, Benjamin and Levi. These from the Assyrian captivity most likely would not have genealogical records but were still descendants of the original children of Israel. This inference would give still further support to the concept that all the tribes of Israel were included in the post-exilic nation that existed in Palestine until after the first coming of their Messiah. This may also be implied by the specific phrase: “the number of the men of the people of Israel” used by both writers (Ezra 2:2; Nehemiah 7:7), rather than referring specifically to Judah and Benjamin.
7:70 thousand drams of gold. The “dram” was actually the Greek “drachma,” coinage which has been shown archaeologically already to have been in use in Palestine during this Persian period.