Skeptics Annotated Bible A Response

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#10 - How many of Adin's offspring returned from Babylon?

Response by Wendell Leahy

How many of Adin's offspring returned from Babylon, 454 or 655?

Ezra 2:15: The children of Adin, four hundred fifty and four.
Nehemiah 7:20: The children of Adin, six hundred fifty and five.

Smith's Bible Dictionary
Ancestor of a family who returned form Babylon with Zerubbabel, to the number of 454, (Ezra 2:15) or 655 according to the parallel list in (Nehemiah 7:20) (B.C. 536.) They joined with Nehemiah in a covenant to separate themselves from the heathen. (Nehemiah 10:16) (B.C. 410.)
Jamieson, Fausset, Brown
He (Nehemiah) resolved to prepare a register of the returned exiles, containing an exact record of the family and ancestral abode of every individual. While thus directing his attention, he discovered a register of the first detachment who had come under the care of Zerubbabel. It is transcribed in the following verses, and differs in some few particulars from that given in Ezra 2:1-61. But the discrepancy is sufficiently accounted for from the different circumstances in which the two registers were taken; that of Ezra having been made up at Babylon, while that of Nehemiah was drawn out in Judea, after the walls of Jerusalem had been rebuilt.

The lapse of so many years might well be expected to make a difference appear in the catalogue, through death or other causes; in particular, one person being, according to Jewish custom, called by different names.

Thus Hariph (Nehemiah 7:24) is the same as Jorah (Ezra 2:18), Sia (Nehemiah 7:47) the same as Siaha (Ezra 2:44), &c. Besides other purposes to which this genealogy of the nobles, rulers, and people was subservient, one leading object contemplated by it was to ascertain with accuracy the parties to whom the duty legally belonged of ministering at the altar and conducting the various services of the temple. For guiding to exact information in this important point of enquiry, the possession of the old register of Zerubbabel was invaluable.
Matthew Henry Commentary
He (Nehemiah) reviewed the old register of the genealogy of those who came up at the first, and compared the present accounts with that; and here we have the repetition of that out of Ezra 2. The title is the same here (v. 6, 7) as there (v. 1, 2): These are the children of the province, etc. Two things are here repeated and recorded a second time from thence—the names and numbers of their several families, and their oblations to the service of the temple.

There are many differences in the numbers between this catalogue and that in Ezra. Most of them indeed are exactly the same, and some others within a very few under or over (one or two perhaps); and therefore I cannot think, as some do, that that was the number of these families at their first coming and this as they were now, which was at least forty years after (some make it much more); for we cannot suppose so many families to be not at all, or but little, altered in their numbers in all that time; therefore what differences there are we may suppose to arise either from the mistakes of transcribers, which easily happen in numbers, or from the diversity of the copies from which they were taken. Or perhaps one was the account of them when they set out from Babylon with Zerubbabel, the other when they came to Jerusalem.
Notes and Outlines of Ezra and Nehemiah by Dr. J Vernom McGee
Chapter 7: Nehemiah's register of the people.
verses 5-73 - This is a repitition of the genealogy given in Ezra 2. Unnecessary though this may seem to us, it is repeated because it is important to God and He challenges us to read it. "The righteous shall be in everlasting remembrance" (Psalsm 112:6). God never forgets the faithful. This chapter comes from the book of eternity.

The main spiritual theme presented:
"We already have seen that the Babylonian captivity did not bring the Jews to national repentance, and so lead to national restoration. As the reading of Ezra will disclose, when Cyrus, king of Persia, gave permission to the captives to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the Temple, scarcely 50,000 availed themselves of the privilege, a considerable portion of whom were priests and Levites of the humbler and poorer class." Dr. James M. Gray

"Very few avail themselves of this opportunity. Most of the captives are now settled and satisfied in Babylon. They still their consciences by giving generously to those who do not return" (Ezra 2:64-65).

Nehemiah was a layman; Ezra was a priest.

In the Book of Ezra, the emphasis is upon the rebuilding of the temple; in the Book of Nehemiah, the emphasis is upon the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem.

In Ezra, we have the religious aspect of the return; in Nehemiah, we have the political aspect of the return.

Ezra is a fine representative of the priest and scribe; Nehemiah is a noble repre­sentative of the businessman.

Nehemiah had an important office at the court of the powerful Persian king, Artaxerxes, but his heart was with God's people and God's program in Jerusalem.
re: by Dave Marr
Your answers to Questions 10 and 11 are very, very well researched; I commend you for your efforts. So, I will skip those(I'd probably quote the same sources anyway).

(responding from #11)..
"There is not enough information concerning Adonikam, to claim that the 666 count by Ezra represents the mark of the beast. In my opinion, this is a wild assumption, at best".

To be sure.

(thanks Dave! -W-)