|<< 1 Chron 22|
I Chronicles 23-25 Listen
1 So when David was old and full of days, he made Solomon his son king over Israel.
2 And he gathered together all the princes of Israel, with the priests and the Levites.
3 Now the Levites were numbered from the age of thirty years and upward: and their number by their polls, man by man, was thirty and eight thousand.
4 Of which, twenty and four thousand were to set forward the work of the house of the LORD; and six thousand were officers and judges:
5 Moreover four thousand were porters; and four thousand praised the LORD with the instruments which I made, said David, to praise therewith.
6 And David divided them into courses among the sons of Levi, namely, Gershon, Kohath, and Merari.
7 Of the Gershonites were, Laadan, and Shimei.
8 The sons of Laadan; the chief was Jehiel, and Zetham, and Joel, three.
9 The sons of Shimei; Shelomith, and Haziel, and Haran, three. These were the chief of the fathers of Laadan.
10 And the sons of Shimei were, Jahath, Zina, and Jeush, and Beriah. These four were the sons of Shimei.
11 And Jahath was the chief, and Zizah the second: but Jeush and Beriah had not many sons; therefore they were in one reckoning, according to their father’s house.
12 The sons of Kohath; Amram, Izhar, Hebron, and Uzziel, four.
13 The sons of Amram; Aaron and Moses: and Aaron was separated, that he should sanctify the most holy things, he and his sons for ever, to burn incense before the LORD, to minister unto him, and to bless in his name for ever.
14 Now concerning Moses the man of God, his sons were named of the tribe of Levi.
15 The sons of Moses were, Gershom, and Eliezer.
16 Of the sons of Gershom, Shebuel was the chief.
17 And the sons of Eliezer were, Rehabiah the chief. And Eliezer had none other sons; but the sons of Rehabiah were very many.
18 Of the sons of Izhar; Shelomith the chief.
19 Of the sons of Hebron; Jeriah the first, Amariah the second, Jahaziel the third, and Jekameam the fourth.
20 Of the sons of Uzziel; Michah the first, and Jesiah the second.
21 The sons of Merari; Mahli, and Mushi. The sons of Mahli; Eleazar, and Kish.
22 And Eleazar died, and had no sons, but daughters: and their brethren the sons of Kish took them.
23 The sons of Mushi; Mahli, and Eder, and Jeremoth, three.
24 These were the sons of Levi after the house of their fathers; even the chief of the fathers, as they were counted by number of names by their polls, that did the work for the service of the house of the LORD, from the age of twenty years and upward.
25 For David said, The LORD God of Israel hath given rest unto his people, that they may dwell in Jerusalem for ever:
26 And also unto the Levites; they shall no more carry the tabernacle, nor any vessels of it for the service thereof.
27 For by the last words of David the Levites were numbered from twenty years old and above:
28 Because their office was to wait on the sons of Aaron for the service of the house of the LORD, in the courts, and in the chambers, and in the purifying of all holy things, and the work of the service of the house of God;
29 Both for the shewbread, and for the fine flour for meat offering, and for the unleavened cakes, and for that which is baked in the pan, and for that which is fried, and for all manner of measure and size;
30 And to stand every morning to thank and praise the LORD, and likewise at even;
31 And to offer all burnt sacrifices unto the LORD in the sabbaths, in the new moons, and on the set feasts, by number, according to the order commanded unto them, continually before the LORD:
32 And that they should keep the charge of the tabernacle of the congregation, and the charge of the holy place, and the charge of the sons of Aaron their brethren, in the service of the house of the LORD.
Back in I Chronicles 22 (see notes) David assigns his son, Solomon, the task of building the temple. There is no mention in Chronicles made of the attempted hijacking of the throne by Adonijah that took place while David was on his death bed found in I Kings 1 (see notes).
Levites (descendants of Levi) were consecrated to God in place of Israel's firstborn and given tabernacle tasks back in Numbers 3 (see notes). While they had tabernacle/temple duties, all Levites were not priests; only descendants of Aaron fulfilled that role. For the newly-built temple in Jerusalem, the Levites are organized and placed in their positions of responsibility for the purpose of maintaining temple worship in Jerusalem for all of Israel.
In chapters 23-26 we see David's division of the Levites into specific duties - all 38,000 of the men.
These folks, all Levites, were assigned duties based upon their clans within the Tribe of Levi. There were no tryouts; all 38,000 Levites were assigned duties working for the government.
So, how old do you have to be to serve as a priest or assume the duties of a Levite? That age had been established at 30 back in Numbers 4 (see notes) by Moses...and you got to retire at age 50. Now 30 was the age minimum for moving the Tabernacle back then. The minimum age of 25 was established later in Numbers 8 (see notes) when the Tabernacle was being dedicated as the required age for Levite service. David decrees a change in this age requirement right here in I Chronicles 23:24, 27. It would appear from context that the difference between wilderness service and temple service made it feasible for younger men to serve. Since the age of manhood in Israel began at 20, these Levites were now able to serve at that age also in the new temple. Incidentally, this is the age of service observed by the Levites who returned from Babylonian exile in Ezra 3:8 (see notes) as well.
1 Now these are the divisions of the sons of Aaron. The sons of Aaron; Nadab, and Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar.
2 But Nadab and Abihu died before their father, and had no children: therefore Eleazar and Ithamar executed the priest’s office.
3 And David distributed them, both Zadok of the sons of Eleazar, and Ahimelech of the sons of Ithamar, according to their offices in their service.
4 And there were more chief men found of the sons of Eleazar than of the sons of Ithamar; and thus were they divided. Among the sons of Eleazar there were sixteen chief men of the house of their fathers, and eight among the sons of Ithamar according to the house of their fathers.
5 Thus were they divided by lot, one sort with another; for the governors of the sanctuary, and governors of the house of God, were of the sons of Eleazar, and of the sons of Ithamar.
6 And Shemaiah the son of Nethaneel the scribe, one of the Levites, wrote them before the king, and the princes, and Zadok the priest, and Ahimelech the son of Abiathar, and before the chief of the fathers of the priests and Levites: one principal household being taken for Eleazar, and one taken for Ithamar.
7 Now the first lot came forth to Jehoiarib, the second to Jedaiah,
8 The third to Harim, the fourth to Seorim,
9 The fifth to Malchijah, the sixth to Mijamin,
10 The seventh to Hakkoz, the eighth to Abijah,
11 The ninth to Jeshua, the tenth to Shecaniah,
12 The eleventh to Eliashib, the twelfth to Jakim,
13 The thirteenth to Huppah, the fourteenth to Jeshebeab,
14 The fifteenth to Bilgah, the sixteenth to Immer,
15 The seventeenth to Hezir, the eighteenth to Aphses,
16 The nineteenth to Pethahiah, the twentieth to Jehezekel,
17 The one and twentieth to Jachin, the two and twentieth to Gamul,
18 The three and twentieth to Delaiah, the four and twentieth to Maaziah.
19 These were the orderings of them in their service to come into the house of the LORD, according to their manner, under Aaron their father, as the LORD God of Israel had commanded him.
20 And the rest of the sons of Levi were these: Of the sons of Amram; Shubael: of the sons of Shubael; Jehdeiah.
21 Concerning Rehabiah: of the sons of Rehabiah, the first was Isshiah.
22 Of the Izharites; Shelomoth: of the sons of Shelomoth; Jahath.
23 And the sons of Hebron; Jeriah the first, Amariah the second, Jahaziel the third, Jekameam the fourth.
24 Of the sons of Uzziel; Michah: of the sons of Michah; Shamir.
25 The brother of Michah was Isshiah: of the sons of Isshiah; Zechariah.
26 The sons of Merari were Mahli and Mushi: the sons of Jaaziah; Beno.
27 The sons of Merari by Jaaziah; Beno, and Shoham, and Zaccur, and Ibri.
28 Of Mahli came Eleazar, who had no sons.
29 Concerning Kish: the son of Kish was Jerahmeel.
30 The sons also of Mushi; Mahli, and Eder, and Jerimoth. These were the sons of the Levites after the house of their fathers.
31 These likewise cast lots over against their brethren the sons of Aaron in the presence of David the king, and Zadok, and Ahimelech, and the chief of the fathers of the priests and Levites, even the principal fathers over against their younger brethren.
Ever wonder where shift work came from? Maybe here. The temple Levites are divided up into 24 shifts in this chapter. Of the Levites, 24 courses of priests (direct descendants of Aaron) were chosen, 16 from the descendants of Aaron's son Eleazar and 8 from the the descendants of Aaron's son Ithamar. They are named in verses 1-19. The phrase "the rest of the descendants of Levi" in verse 20 identifies the remaining Levites, who were not descended from Aaron himself and served as temple assistants. Verses 20-31 describe their allocation into divisions that corresponded to the priestly courses listed in verses 1-19. We're not sure how often these shifts rotated in the beginning, but they had specified periods of responsibilities in the temple itself. However, we do get a little bit of insight into how this worked during the time when John the Baptist and Jesus were born. We see in Luke 1 (see notes) that Zacharias was working shift work as a priest when he received the prophetic news of the birth of his son, John the Baptist.
Incidentally, verse 2 alludes to the death of Aaron's two sons, Nadab and Abihu, back in Leviticus 10 (see notes). That information is given to explain why only descendants from Aaron's other two sons, Eleazar and Ithamar, are named here.
And then the musicians (I Chronicles 25)
1 Moreover David and the captains of the host separated to the service of the sons of Asaph, and of Heman, and of Jeduthun, who should prophesy with harps, with psalteries, and with cymbals: and the number of the workmen according to their service was:
2 Of the sons of Asaph; Zaccur, and Joseph, and Nethaniah, and Asarelah, the sons of Asaph under the hands of Asaph, which prophesied according to the order of the king.
3 Of Jeduthun: the sons of Jeduthun; Gedaliah, and Zeri, and Jeshaiah, Hashabiah, and Mattithiah, six, under the hands of their father Jeduthun, who prophesied with a harp, to give thanks and to praise the LORD.
4 Of Heman: the sons of Heman; Bukkiah, Mattaniah, Uzziel, Shebuel, and Jerimoth, Hananiah, Hanani, Eliathah, Giddalti, and Romamtiezer, Joshbekashah, Mallothi, Hothir, and Mahazioth:
5 All these were the sons of Heman the king’s seer in the words of God, to lift up the horn. And God gave to Heman fourteen sons and three daughters.
6 All these were under the hands of their father for song in the house of the LORD, with cymbals, psalteries, and harps, for the service of the house of God, according to the king’s order to Asaph, Jeduthun, and Heman.
7 So the number of them, with their brethren that were instructed in the songs of the LORD, even all that were cunning, was two hundred fourscore and eight.
8 And they cast lots, ward against ward, as well the small as the great, the teacher as the scholar.
9 Now the first lot came forth for Asaph to Joseph: the second to Gedaliah, who with his brethren and sons were twelve:
10 The third to Zaccur, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve:
11 The fourth to Izri, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve:
12 The fifth to Nethaniah, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve:
13 The sixth to Bukkiah, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve:
14 The seventh to Jesharelah, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve:
15 The eighth to Jeshaiah, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve:
16 The ninth to Mattaniah, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve:
17 The tenth to Shimei, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve:
18 The eleventh to Azareel, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve:
19 The twelfth to Hashabiah, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve:
20 The thirteenth to Shubael, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve:
21 The fourteenth to Mattithiah, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve:
22 The fifteenth to Jeremoth, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve:
23 The sixteenth to Hananiah, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve:
24 The seventeenth to Joshbekashah, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve:
25 The eighteenth to Hanani, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve:
26 The nineteenth to Mallothi, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve:
27 The twentieth to Eliathah, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve:
28 The one and twentieth to Hothir, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve:
29 The two and twentieth to Giddalti, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve:
30 The three and twentieth to Mahazioth, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve:
31 The four and twentieth to Romamtiezer, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve.
These included the prophets. There were 3 categories here, the sons of Asaph, Heman, and Jeduthun. Their names keep showing up in the introductions to the Psalms. The sons of Asaph prophesied under the direction of the king. The sons of Jeduthun "prophesied with a harp, to give thanks and to praise the LORD." Heman's kids (including 3 daughters) provided the music. Keep in mind, 38,000 Levites altogether were actually government officials in Israel supported by Israel. The religious life of Israel was their job.