calc01I received the following questions:

EZRA CHAPTER TWO
NEHEMIAH CHAPTER SEVEN
ARE THOSE TWO CHAPTERS TALKING ABOUT THE SAME STORY THE SAME EVENT THE SAME THING THE SAME TIME THE SAME PERIOD OR TWO EVENTS THAT TOOK PLACE AT TWO DIFFERENT TIMES

PLUS

Does the ORIGINAL say the sons of Arah 775 OR 652 What does the original say
 
Does the ORIGINLAL say the sons of Zattu 945 OR 845 what does the original say
 
Does the ORIGINLA say the sons of Adin 454 OR 655 what does the original say
 
Does the ORIGINAL say the sons of Bani 645 OR 648 what does the original say
 
etc

Thank you for this great question.

These two chapters are indeed talking about the same event. The events of Ezra and Nehemiah overlap in many cases. In this case, they are both recording the same return under Zerubbabel. In the Hebrew Bible, these two books actually formed one, single book by two authors. In our modern Bibles, they have been divided. This probably took place with the translation of the Hebrew Bible into Greek, known at the Septuagint. The original, combined book deals with the return from captivity, the building of the temple first (as the most important thing) and the building of the walls after (as less important in God’s sight, though crucial for the protection of the city and the temple.)

The original of Ezra and Nehemiah both say as they currently read. The group of people being numbered is the same. Notice that the TOTAL number of those who returned is the same in both cases: 42,360. Of these, only 31,583 are named in either book. Ezra names 29,818. Nehemiah names 31,089. There are 1,765 named in Nehemiah who are not named in Ezra. 29,818+1,765=31,583. There are 494 named in Ezra who are not named in Nehemiah. 31,089+494=31,583. The numbers all work out the same.

Notice that this means that those who are listed in a family in one book but not in another are not being taken from another family, but rather are being taken from the pool of those who are not named in any family. Obviously, the two lists are using two different criteria for who is counted in which family. One set of criteria ends up being more inclusive in many cases, but less inclusive in a few. Unfortunately, without access to the logic or criteria used for making the lists, we cannot say what the criteria were that were used in the two lists. We can only really guess.

There may be multiple ways of determining which family line a person belongs to. This was especially true in Israel, where if a man died without sons, his daughter was to marry a close relative. Then, her husband is counted as her own father’s son, and her first child by her husband would count as her father’s heir. However, he could also count as his own father’s heir. This could result in a person representing two different though related families. This is just one idea as to why the same individual may have been counted as representing a family in one of the accounts, but not in the other. This is the very same reason why Joseph is counted as the son of Jacob in Matthew and the son of Levi in Luke.

The unnamed families may have been minor ones, to list which would have made the list much, much longer than it is. It could be that some of these could be considered as “sub-families” of one of the named families, which sub-families are included in one list, but not in the other.

All this is speculation, because, as I said, without our being told what the criteria were that were used to decide who belongs to which family, we cannot say what the difference was, or why one person was included in a family group in Nehemiah but not in Ezra.

I hope this helps. Thanks again for the great question.

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