Sunday, March 9, 2014

Zerubbabel's Band

Last week we saw in the Book of Ezra that King Cyrus was releasing the people of Jerusalem to return to their city, to rebuild the walls and the temple.  In chapter two we get a peek at the motley assortment of those inhabitants as they make their way back home.

Statistical rundown:

congregation 42360
servants 7337
singers 200
horses 736
mules 245
camels 435
asses 6720

This suggests that there were 42360 citizens of Israel in the band.  The 7337 "servants" were possibly slaves or indentured workers, not Jewish by birth.  The singers, 200 in number, were an essential element of worship, I mean we expect a choir when we attend services-- or at least we did before the platform was turned into a stage, replete with drum set, amplifiers, and other noisemakers.  (Gaah! I get sidetracked so easily.  Function of my age?)  If you enjoy genealogy, there is a world of it there in Ezra, chapter two.

The balance of the tally is self-explanatory, yet I have often wondered, inasmuch as we are advised that all scripture is given for edification, just exactly what I am to derive by way of spiritual growth in knowing how many camels and equines accompanied this band in its return to their homeland.  In a sentence, if teaching a Sunday school class, I think it close enough to say there were fifty thousand people and 8000 beasts of burden.


Vee said...

Or, even when a choir is present, the band is playing so loudly that the words of the songs can't be understood.

No surprise that wherever there are people there are more asses than servants. Oh, my bad. You wrote that the asses were beasts.

Sharkbytes said...

Well, it sure tells you that they were largely on foot. Even if all the horses and mules were broken to harness, what can a two-horse team pull on a wagon? (Actually, I don't know the average load... that would be interesting), but I'm betting it's not 40 people.

Sharkbytes said...

Actually, I've been on hayrides with maybe 20 kids. But that's not 40 adults, or even 20 kids and 20 adults.

vanilla said...

Vee. thanks for my Sunday morning laugh. I mean, truth can be amusing.

Sharkey, oh,I am sure they walked. The beasts would have been laden with the 5400 vessels of gold and silver that Cyrus bestowed on them, as well as the "goods" mentioned, which one might suppose included some pemmican and jerky, or something with which to sustain themselves on such a long journey.

Vee said...

Rereading and see now that there were more servants. : )

Shelly said...

And I read somewhere these counts only included the men, so it may have been an even larger group.

vanilla said...

Shelly, that is a distinct possibility.