When Nebuchadnezzar conquered any nation, he plundered the temples of the local gods and took their treasures as trophies. Judah was no exception. He plundered the Lord’s temple and put the treasures in the Babylonian gods’ temple along with the treasures of the conquered pagan gods. By returning the temple treasures to Jerusalem, Cyrus recognizes and supports the development of the Jews’ renewed government while maintaining governmental control over the nation.
2 1-2 These leaders of Israel followed Zerubbabel, Jeshua, Nehemiah, Seraiah, Reelaiah, Mordecai, Bilshan, Mispar, Bigvai, Rehum, and Baanah back to the province of Judah, to their ancestral cities or the city of Jerusalem, from their Babylonian exile at the hand of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon: 3 The descendants of Parosh (2,172), 4 Shephatiah (372), 5 Arah (775), 6 Pahath-moab of the families of Jeshua and Joab (2,812), 7 Elam (1,254), 8 Zattu (945), 9 Zaccai (760), 10 Bani (642), 11 Bebai (623), 12 Azgad (1,222), 13 Adonikam (666), 14 Bigvai (2,056), 15 Adin (454), 16 Ater of Hezekiah (98), 17 Bezai (323), 18 Jorah (112), 19 Hashum (223), and 20 Gibbar (95); 21 the citizens of Bethlehem (123), 22 Netophah (56), and 23 Anathoth (128); 24 the descendants of Azmaveth (42); 25 Kiriath-arim, Chephirah, and Beeroth (743); and 26 Ramah and Geba (621); 27 the citizens of Michmas (122) and 28 Bethel and Ai (223); 29 the descendants of Nebo (52), 30 Magbish (156), 31 the other Elam (1,254), 32 Harim (320), and 33 Lod, Hadid, and Ono (725); 34 the citizens of Jericho (345); 35 The descendants of Senaah (3,630).
36 These priests returned to Jerusalem: the descendants of Jedaiah the Jeshuite (973), 37 Immer (1,052), 38 Pashhur (1,247), 39 and Harim (1,017).
40 These Levites returned to Jerusalem: the descendants of Jeshua and Kadmiel the Hodaviahites (74).
41 These singers returned to Jerusalem: the descendants of Asaph (128).
42 These sons of the gatekeepers: the descendants Shallum, Ater, Talmon, Akkub, Hatita, and Shobai (139).
43 These temple servants returned to Jerusalem: the descendants of Ziha, Hasupha, Tabbaoth, 44 Keros, Siaha, Padon, 45 Lebanah, Hagabah, Akkub, 46 Hagab, Shalmai, Hanan, 47 Giddel, Gahar, Reaiah, 48 Rezin, Nekoda, Gazzam, 49 Uzza, Paseah, Besai, 50 Asnah, Meunim, Nephisim, 51 Bakbuk, Hakupha, Harhur, 52 Bazluth, Mehida, Harsha, 53 Barkos, Sisera, Temah, 54 Neziah, and Hatipha.
55 These descendants of Solomon’s servants returned to Jerusalem: the descendants of Sotai, Hassophereth, Peruda, 56 Jaalah, Darkon, Giddel, 57 Shephatiah, Hattil, Pochereth-hazzebaim, and Ami. 58 All the temple servants and the descendants of Solomon’s servants totaled 392.
59-60 But not everyone was readily accepted into Jerusalem. These people returned to Jerusalem from the Babylonian provinces of Tel-melah, Tel-harsha, Cherub, Addan, and Immer: the descendants of Delaiah, Tobiah, and Nekoda (652). These people could not produce genealogies to prove their identities as Israelites.
61 Three priestly lines—the descendants of Habaiah, Hakkoz, and Barzillai (so called because he married a daughter of Barzillai the Gileadite)— 62 could not be located in their genealogies. Therefore they were considered ritually impure and excluded from the priesthood in case they should taint the Lord’s new temple. 63 The governor decided they should abstain from eating the most holy things until the high priest could divine answers using the Urim and Thummim. 64 This decision affected 42,360 people, 65 in addition to 7,337 male and female servants, 200 male and female singers, 66 736 horses, 245 mules, 67 435 camels, and 6,720 donkeys.
68 When some of the tribal leaders arrived at the Eternal’s temple in Jerusalem, they gave their offerings willingly, hoping to rebuild the True God’s house on the same site Solomon had used. 69 Their gifts, which the treasury used to finance the construction of the new temple, amounted to about 1,000 pounds[a] of gold, 3 tons[b] of silver, and 100 priestly garments.
70 From that time forward, the priests, the Levites, some of the people, the singers, the gatekeepers, the temple servants, and all Israel lived in their ancestral cities.