The entire number of the captives was not more than 11,000. They consisted of three classes:
(1) the "princes" or "mighty of the land," i. e., courtiers, priests, elders, and all who had any position or dignity - in number 3,000 (compare II Kings 24:14, II Kings 24:16).
(2) the "mighty men of valor" or "men of might," i. e., the soldier class, who were 7,000. And
(3) craftsmen or artisans, who numbered 1,000. The word here translated "craftsmen" denotes artisans in stone, wood, or metal, and thus includes our "masons, carpenters, and smiths." The word translated "smiths" means strictly "lock-smiths."
The object of carrying off these persons was twofold:
(1) it deprived the conquered city of those artisans who were of most service in war; and
(2) it gave the conqueror a number of valuable assistants in the construction of his buildings and other great works.
The Assyrian monarchs frequently record their removal of the skilled artisans from a conquered country. The population of the ancient city has been calculated, from its area, at 15,000. The remnant left was therefore about 5000 or 6,000.
Other Barnes' Notes entries containing 2 Kings 24:14:
2 Kings 24:14
2 Kings 24:15
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