Q&A: A Long List of Unknown People? Ezra 2:3-70 and Nehemiah 7:8-73

A Long List of Unknown People? Ezra 2:3-70 and Nehemiah 7:8-73

Question

Why does the Bible have long lists of otherwise unknown individuals? Ezra 2:3-70 and Nehemiah 7:8-73

Answer

We are ordinary people unified in God's extraordinary grace (Rom. 9:21-24). Though at times we call God's people "ordinary," in Christ all of them are actually "extraordinary" (Acts 4:13). As Peter says, "But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light" (1 Pet. 2:9). God's people have unique gifts, and the entire community of believers are designed to work together for the unity and rebuilding of the kingdom of God (Matt. 28:18-20). Everyone in God's Kingdom is significant; all of us have a purpose. Some are relatively unknown this side of heaven, but all are very well known to God. God knows us all and he has a unique purpose for his sons and daughters in the faith. He has designed his kingdom so each of us is a cog in the wheel of the glory of his Kingdom. (read, Designed for Dignity, by Dr. Richard Pratt)

As the psalmist says in Psalm 8:

O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens. From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise because of your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger. When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. You made him ruler over the works of your hands; you put everything under his feet: all flocks and herds, and the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas. O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!

Answer by Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr.

Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr., D.D., M.Div. is the Theological Editor at Third Millennium Ministries (Thirdmill).