The Tirshatha - This is generally supposed to be Nehemiah, or the person who was the commandant; see Nehemiah 8:9; Nehemiah 10:1, for the word appears to be the name of an office. The Vulgate and Septuagint write it Atershatha, the Syriac and Arabic render it the princes of Judah. Some suppose the word to be Persian, but nothing like it of the same import occurs in that language at present. If, as Castel supposed, it signifies austerity, or that fear which is unpressed by the authority of a governor, it may come from ters, Fear, or tersh, Acid, the former from tarsidan, to Fear or Dread.
Should not eat of the most holy things - There was a high priest then, but no Urim and Thummim, these having been lost in the captivity.
The Tirshatha - i. e., Zerubbabel. See margin. The word is probably old Persian, though it does not occur in the cuneiform inscriptions. Some derive it from a root “to fear.” See the introduction to the Book of Ezra, first note.
A priest with Urim and with Thummim - See Exodus 28:30 note. According to the rabbinical writers, the second temple permanently lacked this glory of the first. Zerubbabel, it would seem by the present passage (compare Nehemiah 7:65), expected that the loss would be only temporary.