Nehemiah 7:7-73a – Community Renewal
SummaryThis list, virtually identical with Ezra 2:1-70, consists of those exiles who returned from Babylon with Zerubbabel.
AnalysisWe have seen that most of the lists in Ezra-Nehemiah have been constructed from other lists and serve the practical purpose of providing a running commentary on the status of the community in relation to the developing situation of reform. This list was used in Ezra 2 as a legitimating list that vouched for the authenticity of the returning exiles. Here, in its original setting, it is used as a census list that provides the demographic data needed for the relocation of the population, a tithing of the people, to live in Jerusalem that will take place in chapters 11 and 12. This list in Ezra 2 had emphasized the community's continuity with the past. Here, that continuity is extended to the holy city of Jerusalem as well, as the city is inhabited by those who had experienced God's redemption in the return from Babylon.