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Bible Commentaries
1 Chronicles 26

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

Verses 1-19

The Portals, 1 Chronicles 26:1-19

The porters were doorkeepers, or gatekeepers, who guarded the entrances to the temple area. This passage shows how they were arranged by orders, similarly to the choristers and musicians in chapter 25. Their chiefs are enumerated in this chapter, but from 1 Chronicles 23:5 it is seen that as many as four thousand were so employed at times. They drew lots for their stations and rotated in service, it seems, on a weekly basis (2 Kings 11:5-7). The position was an honored and respected one (Psalms 84:10).

The porters were divided into four groups, three representing the Levitical family of Kohath, one that of Merari, and none from the family of Gershon. Of these, the three Kohathite groups were all descended from Korah, the infamous rebel against the Lord in the wilderness. He sought to usurp the priesthood, and God opened up the earth and swallowed him, with all his goods, into the ground alive (Numbers 16:23-35). However, the children of Korah did not perish with him (Numbers 26:9-11), and at this time have succeeded to an honorable position in the land. This goes to show the Lord can overcome evil with good in those surrendered to Him (Romans 12:21).

The sons of Meshelemiah consisted of eighteen sons and descendants. One of these sons was Zechariah, who is described as "a wise counselor," and who was allowed a special place among the porters. He was appointed, with his sons, to guard the north gate of the temple. The other sons of Meshelemiah were appointed over the east gate.

Obed-edom was the Levite in whose house the ark was kept after the breach of Uzza (1 Chronicles 13:13-14). The Scriptures here call him a man greatly blessed of the Lord. This alludes also, no doubt, to the large number of his sons and descendants, for he had eight sons and a total of sixty-two descendants serving among the porters. Their appointment was to the south gate and over Asuppim, or the house of collections. This latter probably refers to the storehouses where tithes and votive offerings were kept.

The family of Hosah, who represented the tribal family of Merari, numbered thirteen sons. They were appointed to the west gate and to the gate Shallecheth. This latter was the gate by which the refuse was removed from the temple area and was sometimes referred to as the dung gate. It was by the causeway, going up from the valley below. Hosah was assisted by another Levite, Shuppim (verse 16). An interesting thing is said of Hosah in verse 10, in that he set aside his firstborn son, giving the honor to a younger, Simri. This was contrary to the law of Moses (De 21:15-17), but may have been interpreted only relative to a man with multiple wives. The case with Hosah is not further known, but it seems unusual that one supposedly devoted to the Lord’s service would set aside the law.

Six Levites were appointed to guard the east gate, the main entrance to the temple area; four daily to the north gate; four to the south gate and two and two to Asuppim; four over the west gate, at the causeway, and two more at the Parbar. The Parbar was the area west of the temple and adjacent to it. The Tyropoean valley ran through the city there.

Verses 20-28

Over the Treasury, Verses 20-28

It was noted in the enumeration of the head porters in the foregoing verses the Levitical family of Gershon was not included. However, it is found now that this family headed those who presided over the treasuries, or storehouses. The head officer over the temple was a man named Ahijah, whose family is not specifically noted. The Gershonites were of the family of Laadan, the eldest son of Gershon. They were over the storehouses for the tithes and freewill offerings.

Others associated with the Gershonites included several of the descendents of Kohath, another son of Levi, the patriarchal father. Most interesting among these are those descended from Moses, the great man of God and their lawgiver. One son of Gershom (not Gershon, mentioned above) is named and several descendants of Eliezer, Moses’ younger son. The prominence of Rehabiah was previously noted among the Levites (1 Chronicles 23:17). Here it is found that one of his sons, Shelomith, had the special assignment of guarding the spoils of Israel’s wars, which had been accumulating for several generations, and were dedicated for the house of God.

This dedication of the spoil had begun with Samuel the seer, or prophet. It had been added to by the victories of King Saul, his captain, Abner; of King David, and his captain, Joab, and also included things dedicated for that purpose by various others able to do so. Samuel had led Israel in the defeat of the Philistines; Saul had also defeated the Philistines on several occasions, as well as a number of other kingdoms, including notably the Amalekites. Of course, David and his heroic captain, Joab, had subjugated many nations, by which they had accumulated a great amount of spoil.

Verses 29-32

Other officials, verses 29-32

The outward business over which these Levites were made officials pertained to things outside of Jerusalem, away from the temple. In fact, this was in keeping with one of the responsibilities of the Levites, who had their homes scattered throughout the cities of Israel. In those cities where they dwelt they were to be leaders of the people in example and to serve as their judges in religious and secular affairs.

Both the chief families over the outside business, the 1zharites and the Hebronites, were of the Levitical tribal family of Kohath. They were particularly answerable to the king, and may have been employed by him to see that his will was imposed in their jurisdiction. Chenaniah of the 1zharites and Hashabiah of the Hebronites had charge of these affairs of the king on the west side of the Jordan, in the nine and a half tribes of Israel in Canaan. They numbered seventeen hundred valorous men.

In the last year of David’s reign another family of the Hebronites was appointed to the business of the king on the east side of Jordan, in the two and a half tribes of Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh. For some reason unknown a group of the Kohathites had settled in Gilead of Gad, though that Levite family had been assigned no cities in that tribe. These Hebronites, under their chief, Jerijah, were sought out by David and found to number twenty-seven hundred men of valor. They became David’s representatives in all matters pertaining to God and the king.

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on 1 Chronicles 26". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/1-chronicles-26.html. 1985.
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