whole congregation together

Nehemiah 7:66

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.

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