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Bible Commentaries

Bridgeway Bible Commentary
1 Chronicles 23

 

 

Verses 1-32

Arrangements for the Levites (23:1-26:32)

Having appointed Solomon to be his successor, David made further arrangements for the service of the temple. First, he set out a plan to distribute duties among the Levites. A census showed that there were 38,000 Levites eligible for temple service. Of these, 14,000 were official record-keepers, judges, guards, singers and musicians. The remainder were to help in the general service of the temple (23:1-6). Clearly, there were far too many Levites to work in the temple all at the same time. David therefore divided them into groups according to their families, the total number of groups coming to twenty-four (7-23).

Each Levitical group was to serve in the temple two weeks each year. (This accounted for forty-eight weeks. The remaining four weeks would be taken up with the festivals of Passover, Pentecost and Tabernacles, when all the men of Israel were to assemble at the central place of worship. On these occasions all Levites would be on duty; see Exodus 23:14-17.) The work of the Levites included assisting the priests, keeping the temple clean, providing the music and singing for worship, and attending to the many practical matters connected with the sacrifices and ceremonies (24-32).

The priests also were divided into twenty-four groups, each of which served in the temple for two weeks per year as outlined above. The service alternated between the Eleazar branch and the Ithamar branch of the Aaronic family. Each priest's turn for service was decided by drawing lots (24:1-6). The names of the twenty-four priestly groups are then given (7-19), followed by a further list of some Levitical families (20-31).

Among the temple singers (a total of 4,000; see 23:5) were 288 specially skilled musicians. Included in these were twenty-four leaders (25:1-7). These 288 musicians were also divided into twenty-four groups that served in rotation. Their job was apparently to train and lead the section to which they were assigned (8-31).

There were also 4,000 gate-keepers, or temple guards (see 23:5). They too were probably divided into twenty-four groups who took turns to go on duty. The number of positions to be guarded was twenty-four (26:1-19). The wealth that David and others won for Israel through their conquests was administered by a group of treasurers, whose names are listed (20-28). The 6,000 judges (see 23:4) were most likely organized on a rotation system for their service. Some of them were concerned with the central administration, some worked only in the area west of Jordan, and some worked only among the two and a half tribes that were located east of Jordan (29-32).

 


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Bibliography Information
Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on 1 Chronicles 23:4". "Brideway Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bbc/1-chronicles-23.html. 2005.

Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, October 17th, 2019
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28
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