Bible Commentaries

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

1 Chronicles 9

Verse 3

IX.

(3) And in Jerusalem dwelt (some) of the children of Judah, and (some) of the children of Benjamin.—This sentence is word for word the same with Nehemiah 11:4 a. The next clause, “and some of the children of Ephraim, and Manasseh,” is not found in Nehemiah, and nothing further is said in the present chapter concerning these two tribes. But so far from proving the clause to be a figment of the chronicler’s, this fact only indicates that he has chosen to use the ordinary freedom of a compiler in transcribing from the fuller document which supplied him with materials here and in Nehemiah 11. His source dealt with the neighbouring townships as well as Jerusalem; the latter is the sole subject of the chronicler’s extracts here.

Verse 4

(4) Uthai the son of Ammihud, the son of Omri, the son of Imri, the son of Bani.—Nehemiah 11:4 traces this line thus: “Athaiah son of Uzjiah, son of Zechariah, son of Amariah, son of Shephatiah, son of Mahalaleel, of the children of Perez.” Uthai is equivalent to Athaiah, and Imri to Amariah, by a common contraction. The other intermediate names in the two series do not coincide; but this does not prove that Uthai and Athaiah are different clans. Many more than five or six members would obviously be required to constitute a complete genealogical stem, reaching from post-exilic times to the age of the tribal patriarchs. We may therefore conclude that the compiler has chosen to select different names in each case from a longer list, which comprised both series.

Verse 5

(5) And of the Shilonites.—Shilonite means “man of Shiloh,” the ancient capital of Ephraim; whereas 1 Chronicles 9:4-6 have to do with Judah. The three sons of Judah, after whom three great sub-tribal divisions were named, were Pharez, Shelah, and Zarah (Genesis 38). The clan of Shelah was called the Shelanite (Numbers 26:20), and that is doubtless the correct reading here (see 1 Chronicles 2:3; 1 Chronicles 4:21), supported as it is by the LXX. ( σηλωνι) and the Targum.

Asaiah (“Jah hath wrought”) is essentially the same as “Maaseiah” (“Work of Jah”) in Nehemiah 11:5, where six progenitors are enumerated.

The firstborn.—That is, the leading clan.

His sons.—The members of the clan.

Verse 6

(6) Of the sons of Zerah.—The Zarhites are omitted in the parallel passage of Nehemiah, where we read, instead of the present statement, that “all the sons of Perez that dwelt at Jerusalem were four hundred threescore and eight valiant men.” The common source of both the narratives must have contained information about the Zarhites. as well as their brother clansmen, the Parzites and Shelanites. We see from the verse before us that the Zarhites were more numerous in Jerusalem than the Parzites. The chronicler has again exercised his own discretion in the choice and rejection of details.

Jeuel, and their brethren.—The plural pronoun clearly hints that Jeuel is a Zarhite father-house or clan. The passage of Nehemiah just cited shows that six hundred and ninety is the total of the Zarhites only. The number of the Parzites and Shelanites is not here specified.

Verse 7

(7) And of the sons of Benjamin.—The parallel passage (Nehemiah 11:7) starts with “Sallu the son of Me-shullam,” but continues, “the son of Joed, the son of Pedaiah,” and carries the ancestry four generations further back.

The son of Hodaviah, the son of Hasenuah.—Perhaps we should read “and Hodaviah,” instead of “son of Hodaviah.” (See Note on 1 Chronicles 9:9-10.) The name Hodaviah, which occurred 1 Chronicles 5:24, is a peculiar Aramaizing form of Hoduyah (“Thank the Lord”). Perhaps here the true reading is wîhudah. “and Judah.” Comp. Nehemiah 11:9, “Judah the son of Senuali” (Heb. ha-Senuah).

Verse 8

(8) Three other Benjamite houses.

Ibneiah is much the same name as “Ibnijah” at the end of the verse. Both mean “Jah buildeth,” i.e., maketh offspring. (Comp. Assyrian Ea-Ibni, “Ea made,” i.e., a son.)

Son of Jeroham.—The sons of Jeroham dwelt in Jerusalem before the exile as well as after it (1 Chronicles 8:27).

Michri should perhaps be Zichri. (Comp. 1 Chronicles 8:19; 1 Chronicles 8:23; 1 Chronicles 8:27.)

1 Chronicles 9:7-9 correspond to Nehemiah 11:7-9; but after tracing the ascending line of Sallu son of Meshullam (1 Chronicles 9:7) through six degrees, the latter account continues (Nehemiah 11:8): “And after him Gabbai, Sallai, nine hundred twenty and eight.” This apparently is quite a different statement from that of our 1 Chronicles 9:8. Gabbai, Sallai, however (note the absence of a conjunction), may be corrupt. Gabbai perhaps conceals Bani or Ibni, a contracted form of lbneiah; and Sallai might have originated out of Shallum or Meshullam, under the influence of the preceding Sallu (1 Chronicles 9:7). Nehemiah 11:9 continues, “And Joel son of Zikri was their overseer, and Judah son of Hasenuah was over the second part of the city.” “Joel son of Zikri” may be our “Elah son of Uzzi son of Michri” (1 Chronicles 9:8); for Joel (“Jah is El”) may be compared with Elah, which is perhaps a disguise of Elijah (“El is Jah;” only yod, the smallest Hebrew letter, is wanting). “Judah son of Hasenuah,” may be the equivalent of “Hodaviah son of Hasenuah.” If these combinations be accepted, the list here is brought into strict harmony with its parallel—five Benjamite clans being named in each, viz., Sallu, Hodaviah (Judah), Ibneiah (Bani), Joel (Elah), and Meshullam.

And their brethren, according to their generations.—The members of the five Benjamite clans amounted to nine hundred and fifty-six, according to their family registers. Nehemiah 11:8 gives a total of nine hundred and twenty-eight. If the numbers are both genuine, our text may refer to a date a little subsequent to the time intended in Nehemiah.

All these men.—Translate, all these men were chiefs of their respective clans. This appears to be the subscription to 1 Chronicles 9:4-9. It states that the proper names are representatives of clans, and, so to speak, collective personalities.

Verse 10

(10) And of the priests; Jedaiah, and Jehoiarib, and Jaehin.—These three names do not designate persons, but three of the priestly courses, or classes, instituted by David according to 1 Chronicles 24, of which Jehoiarib was the first, Jedaiah the second, and Jachin the twenty-first. Nehemiah 11:10 has “Jehoiarib son of Jedaiah,” a mistake of the scribe. (Comp. 1 Chronicles 9:7 and Note; cf. also Ezra 2:36; Nehemiah 12:6.)

Verses 10-13

(10-13) The priests resident in Jerusalem. (Comp. Nehemiah 11:10-14.)

Verse 11

(11) And Azariah the son of Hilkiah, the son of Meshullam.—See 1 Chronicles 6:12-13. The names coincide so far as Zadok; but either Meraioth and Ahitub have been transposed (see 1 Chronicles 6:7), or perhaps Meraioth has been omitted in 1 Chronicles 6:12. Instead of Azariah, the parallel in Nehemiah 11:11 has Seraiah, the rest of the verse being verbatim the same as here. A list of priests who went up with Zerubbabel and Joshua begins with Seraiah (Nehemiah 12:1), and in Nehemiah 10:2 Seraiah and Azariah are priests who sealed the covenant with Nehemiah the Tirshatha, about seventy years later. Nehemiah 12:12 shows that Seraiah was the name of a priestly clan. Perhaps the name Seraiah should be read in the present passage before, or instead of, Azariah. (Comp. 1 Chronicles 6:13-14.) If, however, the name is official, not personal, like the names in the preceding verse, this supposition is hardly necessary. Either Azariah or Seraiah might equally represent the priestly house intended.

Verse 12

(12) And Adaiah the son of Jeroham.—Nehemiah 11:12 runs: “And their brethren, doers of the work of the house, 822; and Adaiah son of Jeroham, son of Pelaliah, son of Amzi, son of Zechariah, son of Pashur, son of Malchijah.” Thus the line of Adaiah as given there exactly corresponds with the present passage, save that it inserts three names here wanting between Jerobam and Pashur: another illustration of the freedom of the compiler in dealing with these lists.

Malchijah was the fifth of the twenty-four priestly classes.

Maasiai the son of Adiel . . . son of Immer.—Immer was the sixteenth course of the priests. The parallel (Nehemiah 11:13) reads: “And his brethren, heads of clans, 242; and Amashsai son of Azareel, son of Ahzai, son of Meshillemoth, son of Immer, and their brethren, mighty men of valour, 128; and their overseer was Zabdiel son of Haggedolim.” Amashsai and Maasiai are variants of the same name, and perhaps both bad spellings of Amasai (1 Chronicles 6:35; 1 Chronicles 12:18). Adiel may well be a mistake for Azareel. Jahzerah and Ahzai are evidently two forms of one name, Ahzai,—Ahaziah being perhaps more correct. Meshullam in our line is either an additional link, or a copyist’s anticipation of part of the following name. The line in Nehemiah is therefore originally identical with the present. 1 Chronicles 9:10-12 show that at the date of the present register three entire courses of the priests, and two clans representing two other courses, as well as the ruler or president of the Temple, dwelt in Jerusalem.

Verse 13

(13) And their brethren, heads of the house of their fathers.—We can hardly suppose so many as 1,760 priestly clans dwelling in the holy city. Either the phrase “heads of their father-houses” belongs to the last verse, and has been accidentally brought into its present position; or in this instance it means simply “heads of single families;” or “their brethren, heads of their (respective) clans,” refers to other father-houses not mentioned by name, and the number 1,760 refers to all the guilds and clans of 1 Chronicles 9:10-13, and should be separated from the preceding phrase by a semicolon. This last explanation is probably right. The total number given in Nehemiah 11:10-14 for the priests is 1,192. (See Note on 1 Chronicles 9:9.)

Very able men.—See Margin, and 1 Chronicles 7:9.

For the work.—“For” is wanting in the Hebrew. Perhaps “doers of” (Nehemiah 11:13) has Mien out.

Verse 14

(14–17) The Levites resident in Jerusalem (Nehemiah 11:15-19).

(14) Word for word the same with Neh. i.e., save that here Shemaiah is ultimately deduced from the clan of the Merarites, whereas there one more ancestor (Banni) follows Hashabiah, and the phrase “of the sons of Merari” is omitted.

Verse 15-16

(15, 16) The chronicler here omits the verse Nehemiah 11:16, after which follows, “And Mattaniah son of Micha son of Zabdi son of Asaph, the leader of praise, who used to give thanks after the prayer; and Bakbukiah the second among his brethren, and Abda son of Shammua, son of Galal, son of Jeduthun.”

Bakbakkar and Bakbukiah are clearly variants of the same name, the latter being probably right.

Heresh, and Galal are omitted in Nehemiah 11

Zichri here is doubtless “Zabdi” there: a confusion of similar letters, k, b, r, d.

Obadiah the son of Shemaiah is the same as “Abda son of Shammua.”

Berechiah the son of Asa, the son of Elkanah.—Unmentioned in Nehemiah 11 As the name Elkanah appears in the pedigree of Heman (1 Chronicles 6:34), it is supposed that Berechiah represents the Hemanite guild, which is otherwise conspicuous here by its omission. Perhaps “son of Heman” has dropped out of the text, as there are two names between Mattaniah and Asaph, Obadiah and Jeduthun. It thus appears that 1 Chronicles 9:15-16 are concerned with the Levitieal choirs; comp. 1 Chronicles 9:33.

Villages of the Netophathites.—Netophah was near Bethlehem (Nehemiah 7:26; 1 Chronicles 2:54).

Verse 17

(17) And the porters were, Shallum, and Akkub, and Talmon, and Ahiman.—Comp. Nehemiah 11:18-19, which sums up thus: “All the Levites in the holy city were two hundred fourscore and four. Moreover the porters, Akkub, Talmon, and their brethren that kept the gates, were an hundred seventy and two.” Shallum does not appear.

Ahiman may have originated out of the following:

Their brethren.—Heb., aheihem. Comp. also Nehemiah 12:25-26, where we are told that (Mattaniah and Bakbukiah, Obadiah and) Meshullam (i.e., Shallum), Talmon, and Akkub were porters keeping ward at the storehouses of the Temple gates, in the times of Joiakim son of Jeshua son of Jozadak, and of Nehemiah and Ezra. It is clear that the names of the porters likewise represent families or guilds, which had hereditary charge of the Temple gates. In fact, all the Levitical functions appear to have descended in the same families from father to son, like the various civil offices in the Roman empire; and tradition ascribed the entire arrangement to David, the second founder of the national worship. At this point the correspondence with Nehemiah 11 ceases.

Shallum was the chief.—This really belongs to 1 Chronicles 9:18, and introduces a description of the duties of the Levites, which extends over 1 Chronicles 9:18-34. Translate, Shallum is the chief even unto this day in the king’s gate, on the east side. Shallum (“recompense”) is called “Shelemiah” (1 Chronicles 26:14), which, again, is a curtailment of Meshelemiah (“Jah recompenseth”), 1 Chronicles 26:1; 1 Chronicles 9:21 infra. The fact that Shallum—Meshelemiah—is spoken of as warder in David’s day as well as in the post-exilic age, proves that a guild or clan, not an individual, is in question. The eastern gate was the post of honour (Ezekiel 46:1-2), and the royal entry. The old name of the King’s Gate would naturally be retained in the restored Temple.

Verse 18

(18) They were porters in the companies of the children of Levi.—Rather, They are warders for the camps of the sons of Levi. (Comp. Numbers 3:23 et seq. where it is prescribed that the Levites encamp on the four sides of the tabernacle.) The primitive terminology is used in order to convey the idea that the Levitical wardership of the Temple went back historically to that of the Mosaic sanctuary.

Verse 19

(19) And Shallum the son of Kore, the son of Ebiasaph, the son of Koran.—Comp. 1 Chronicles 26:1, which makes “Meshelemiah son of Kore, of the sons of Asaph” a guild of warders under David.

Ebiasaph—“The Father (i.e., God) gathered,” is a fuller form of Asaph, “He gathered.”

And his brethren, of the house of his father.—That is, the Korahites, as is immediately explained: his kinsmen belonging to his father-house or clan.

The work of the service (of Shallum),—That is, of the guild so called, is defined as that of “wardens of the thresholds of the tent,” that is, of the Temple, which had taken the place of the old Tent of Meeting.

And their fathers, being over the host of the Lord, were keepers of the entry.—“Their fathers” are the ancestors of the Korahite clan of Shallura.

The host of the Lord.—Or, rather, the encampment of Jehovah, means the tabernacle, or Tent of Tryst, which had only one entrance, over which, according to this passage—the Pentateuch is silent—the house of Shallum stood guard. 2 Chronicles 31:2 applies the same archaic nomenclature to the Temple in Hezekiah’s reign, speaking of “the gates of the camps of Iahweh.”

Verse 20

(20) And Phinehas the son of Eleazar was the ruler over them in time past.—Or, of yore. Phinehas may have held this office of president (nagîd, 1 Chronicles 9:11) of the warders before he became high priest, just as Eleazar had held a similar position during the lifetime of Aaron (Numbers 3:32). Nothing is said of it elsewhere.

And the Lord was with him.—Rather, The Lord be with him! a pious ejaculation, such as the Jews of later times were wont to use in speaking of a departed worthy; and of interest to us as indicating a belief in continued existence after death. (Comp. 1 Chronicles 22:11; 1 Chronicles 22:16.)

Verse 21

(21) And.—Omit. The verse returns abruptly from the Mosaic to the Davidic age.

Zechariah the son of Meshelemiah had charge of the north gate under David (1 Chronicles 26:12).

Was porter of the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.—Was a doorkeeper of the tent of meeting. The verse seems to refer the functions of Zechariah to Mosaic antiquity; but comp. Note on 1 Chronicles 9:19. The relation of this company to those mentioned in 1 Chronicles 9:17 is indeterminate.

Verse 22

(22) All these which were chosen to be porters in the gates (Heb., thresholds) were two hundred and twelve.—This seems to assign the number of warders at the epoch of which the chronicler, or, rather, his source, is writing. Nehemiah 11:19 makes the total of the porters one hundred and seventy-two. According to Ezra 2:42, one hundred and thirty-nine returned with Zerubbabel. Under David, the number of warders was ninety-three (1 Chronicles 26:8-11).

These were reckoned by their genealogy in their villages.—Rather, these—in their villages was their registration.

These.—That is, their ancestors. Guilds and corporations do not die.

Whom David and Samuel the seer did ordain in their set office.—These David and Samuel had ordained in their office of trust, or, in permanence. No mention is made elsewhere of Samuel’s part in arranging the Levitical service. He died before David’s accession (1 Samuel 25:1). Tradition doubtless associated him with David in the work of religious reform, and from what is known of his relation to the sovereigns of his day, the statement of the text may be held true in spirit, if not in the letter.

Verse 23

(23) Namely, the house of the tabernacle.—For the Temple was not built in David’s day

By wards.— For Watches.

Verse 24

(24) In four quarters were the porters.—“To the four winds used the warders to stand” (to be), viz., on the four sides of the tent of meeting, and from the age of Solomon on the four sides of the square enclosure of the Temple.

Verse 25

(25) And their brethren, which were in their villages.—The families of the Temple warders, like those of the singers, lived on their farms in the villages round Jerusalem, and came up for their duties in weekly rotation (1 Chronicles 9:16; Nehemiah 12:29).

After seven days.—Every seventh day; that is, on the Sabbath, when each class entered on its duties.

Verse 26

(26) For these Levites, the four chief porters, were in their set office.—The Heb. says, or seems to say, “For in fixed position (or trust) were they, viz., the four heroes of the warders.” (See 1 Chronicles 9:17 which apparently names four chief “porters.”) The temporary chiefs of the warder guilds abode in the Temple; the mass of their members was settled in the neighbouring villages, and occupied with pastoral pursuits.

And were over the chambers and treasuries of the house of God.—This statement belongs to the following verse. The preceding account of the porters or warders seems to terminate with the words. “For in fixed position are they, the four stalwart warders; they are the Levites;” that is, the Levites par excellence. And they were over the cells and over the treasuries of the house of God (viz., the warders); and they used to pass the night (1 Chronicles 9:27) in the places round the house of God, for upon them was the ward, and they were over the opening (key) every morning—a brief recapitulation of the main duty of the Levitical warders. Some have proposed to alter the text of 1 Chronicles 9:26 b, and to read, “And some of the Levites were over the cells,” &c, thus constituting a new paragraph, although 1 Chronicles 9:27 obviously recurs to the warders. Probably the paragraph mark should be transferred to 1 Chronicles 9:28. From this point to 1 Chronicles 9:34 we have a review of the other special charges of the Levites.

Verse 28

(28) The care of the sacred vessels of gold and silver. These were counted when brought out of the store rooms, and when replaced, to make sure that none was purloined. (Comp. Ezra 8:20 et seq.)

Tale.—“Reckoning,” “number.:”—

“ And every shepherd tells his tale

Under the hawthorn in the dale.”

Literally, for by number they used to bring them in (to the sanctuary), and by number they used to take them out.

Verse 29

(29) Care of the ordinary vessels; that is, all those which were used in the daily service of the sanctuary (“vessels . . . instruments:” the same Hebrew term, kélîm, vasa, σκεύη); as also supervision of the stores of flour, wine, oil, incense, and spicery, which were adjuncts of meat offerings and libations, and the holy unguents (Exodus 25:6).

Verse 30

(30) A parenthetic remark. The Levites had charge of the stores of spicery, but only the priests might lawfully prepare the holy ointment and oil wherewith the sacred tent, the ark, the table, &c, were anointed (Exodus 30:23-29).

Verse 31

(31) The narrative returns to the functions of the Levites. “And Mattithiah, one of the Levites (he was the firstborn of Shallum the Korahite), was (or is) in fixed charge over the making of the pancakes.”

Mattithiah . . . firstborn of Shallum the Korahite.—The son of Shallum, or Meshelemiah, is called Zechariah (1 Chronicles 26:2). If Zechariah was the chief branch of Shallum in the days of David, Mattithiah may have been so in the time of the chronicler or of his authority here.

Had the set office.—In other words, the duty of baking the sacred cakes for the meat offerings was hereditary in this branch of the family of Shallum.

Things that were made in the pans—i.e., “pancakes.” The Hebrew term (hăbittim) occurs here only, but its meaning is fixed by the related word “baking-pan” (Ezekiel 4:3; mahăbath).

Verse 32

(32) “Some of the sons of the Kohathites, some of their brethren.” The Korahites, to which house Shallum and Mattithiah belonged, were a subdivision of the great clan of Kohath.

The shewbread.—See Leviticus 24:5-9. Here it is called “Bread of the Pile;” another name was “Bread of the Presence.”

To prepare it every sabbath.—The Levites had to get it ready for the priests to lay it fresh on the golden table, after removing the old bread, every Sabbath.

Verse 33

(33) Refers to the singers treated of in 1 Chronicles 9:14-16 : And these (above mentioned) are the minstrels, heads of Levitical families; in the Temple cells (they lived), exempt from all other charge; for day and night they were over them in the work. The Hebrew is, harsh, and perhaps corrupt, but the meaning seems to be clear. It is hardly meant that the service of song in the Temple was uninterrupted (comp. Revelation 4:8), but only that the choristers were under obligation to perpetually recurring service.

They were employed in that work.—Rather, They were over them in the work. They—that is, the leaders for the time being—lived, like the chief warders, in the Temple cells, presiding continually over the guilds of singers.

Verse 33-34

(33, 34) A general subscription, or concluding statement, with reference to the preceding account of the Levites (1 Chronicles 9:14-32).

Verse 34

(34) These chief . . . generations.—Literally, These are the heads of the Levitical houses, according to their birth-rolls, heads. (Comp. 1 Chronicles 8:28 for the meaning.)

These dwelt in Jerusalem.—A final remark concerning all the Levites of 1 Chronicles 9:14-32. The proper names are regarded as chiefs, under whom their numerous clansmen are subsumed.

Verses 35-44

(35-44) A duplicate of 1 Chronicles 8:29-38. The genealogy of Saul seems to be repeated, according to the chronicler’s habit (comp. 1 Chronicles 6:4 et seq. with 1 Chronicles 6:50 et seq.; 1 Chronicles 7:6 et seq. with 1 Chronicles 8:1 et seq.), as a transition or introduction to something else, viz., the account of that king’s final ruin in 1 Chronicles 10. The present list is identical with the former, so far as it extends (1 Chronicles 8:39-40 is wanting here), but is, on the whole, in better preservation, supplying, as we have seen, several omissions in the other copy. Only the name of Ahaz has fallen out (1 Chronicles 9:41). The correspondence of the two lists appears to be too exact to justify an assumption of different original sources; but the chronicler may have found the repetition already existing in the principal document from which he drew his materials.

Verse 36

(36) Zur.—“Rock,” a Divine title. (Comp. Pedahzur, “the Rock hath ransomed;” Zurishaddai, “the Rock is the Lofty One;” if we may connect the difficult Shaddai with the Assyrian term sadu, “mountain.” But it seems better to explain it from the root shâdâh, “to pour out,” which is found in Aramaic and Arabic; so that Shaddai would signify “giver of rain.” (Comp. Joel 2:23.)

Baal has been compounded with Nadab, to form a single name, Baal-nadab, “Baal is prince.” (Comp. Baal-gad, “Baal is Gad;” Baal-hanan, “Baal is bounteous,” 1 Chronicles 1:49.) In that case Ner is out of place.

Verse 43

(43) Rephaiah appears in the contracted form Rapha in 1 Chronicles 8.

Verse 44

(44) With the omission of the sons of Eshek and Ulam here, comp. the similar abridgment of the list in 1 Chronicles 6:4-15, when repeated in the same 1chron at 1 Chronicles 6:50-53. This suggests that the present omission is not due to inadvertence, but either to the design of the chronicler or to a like omission in his source.

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Bibliographical Information
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on 1 Chronicles 9". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ebc/1-chronicles-9.html. 1905.