Synopsis of the Books of the Bible, by John Nelson Darby, [1857-62], at sacred-texts.com
Nevertheless, God still gives the people-guilty under the law-an opportunity for the exercise of faith. Let us examine the principles that characterise the energy of the Holy Ghost in the people at the time of their return. The first thing to be observed is that, having felt what it was to have to do with the Gentiles, and having experienced the power and wickedness of those whose help they had formerly sought (the unclean spirit was, in this respect, gone out of them), the children of the captivity resolve that Israel shall be an unmingled Israel, and proved to be so. They are most careful in verifying the genealogies of the people, and of the priests, in order that none but Israel should be engaged in the work. Formerly one priest succeeded another without previous examination; genealogy was not verified, and children came into their father's place in the enjoyment of the privileges which God had granted them. But Israel now, through the great grace of God, had to recover their position. This was neither the beginning of their history, nor the power suited to the beginning; it was a return, and the disorder that sin had brought in was not henceforth to be endured. They were escaping from the fruits of it, at least in part. What had any but Israel to do there? To mark out the family of God was now the essential thing. Deliverance from Babylon was their deliverance. It was this family, or a small remnant of it, which God had brought, or was bringing, out from thence. Thus, even amongst those who had come back to Judea, whoever could not produce his genealogy was set aside; and every priest with whom this was the case was put away from the priesthood as polluted, whatever, as it appears, might be the reality of his qualification. Divine discernment might, perhaps, recognise them and their rights another day; but the people who had returned from captivity could not do so. They were a numbered and recognised people. They dwelt each in his own city. It was weakness, no priest with Urim and Thummim, but it was faithfulness.