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Monday, June 24th, 2024
the Week of Proper 7 / Ordinary 12
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Bible Commentaries
1 Chronicles 23

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - UnabridgedCommentary Critical Unabridged

Verse 1

So when David was old and full of days, he made Solomon his son king over Israel.

When David was old ... he made Solomon ... king. This brief statement, which comprises the substance of 1 Kings 1:32-48, is made here solely to introduce an account of the preparations carried on by David during the latter years of his life for providing a national place of worship.

Verse 2

And he gathered together all the princes of Israel, with the priests and the Levites.

He gathered together all the princes of Israel. All important measures relating to the public interest were submitted for consideration to a general assembly of the representatives of the tribes, (1 Chronicles 13:1; 1 Chronicles 15:25; 1 Chronicles 22:17; 1 Chronicles 26:1-32)

Verse 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.

The Levites were numbered ... thirty and eight thousand - four times their number at the early census taken by Moses, (see the notes at Numbers 4:1-49; Numbers 26:1-65.) It was in all likelihood this vast increase that suggested and rendered expedient that classification, made in the lest year of David's reign, which the present and three subsequent chapters describe.

By their polls, man by man - women and children were not included.

Verse 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:

Twenty and four thousand were to set forward the work of the house of the Lord. They were not to preside over all the services of the temple. The Levites were subject to the priests, and they were superior to the Nethinims and other servants, who were not of the race of Levi. But they had certain departments of duty assigned, some of which are here specified.

Verse 5

Moreover four thousand were porters; and four thousand praised the LORD with the instruments which I made, said David, to praise therewith.

Praised the Lord with the instruments which I made. David seems to have been an inventor of many of the musical instruments used in the temple (Amos 6:5).

Verse 6

And David divided them into courses among the sons of Levi, namely, Gershon, Kohath, and Merari.

David divided them into courses among the sons of Levi. These are enumerated according to their fathers' houses, but no more of these are mentioned here than the 24,000 who were engaged in the work connected with the Lord's house. The fathers' houses of those Levites corresponded with the classes into which they (Josephus, 'Antiquities') as well as the priests were divided (see the notes at 1 Chronicles 24:20-31; 1 Chronicles 26:20-28).

Verse 7

Of the Gershonites were, Laadan, and Shimei.

The Gershonites. They had nine fathers' houses, six descended from Laadan and three from Shimei.

Verses 8-11

The sons of Laadan; the chief was Jehiel, and Zetham, and Joel, three.

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 12

The sons of Kohath; Amram, Izhar, Hebron, and Uzziel, four. The sons of Kohath. He was the founder of nine Levitical fathers' houses.

Verse 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.

Aaron was separated, that he should sanctify the most holy things - i:e., according to Hitzig Wieseler, and others, to the altar of burnt offering (Exodus 29:37) [ lªhaqdiyshow (H6942) qodesh (H6944) qaadaashiym (H6944), to sanctify him as a most holy person]. This we believe to be the true meaning. Aaron could not sanctify the vessels and furniture of the sanctuary, which, having been already dedicated to God, were already sanctified as far as they could be: neither can the word here denote 'the holy of holies,' 'the most holy place;' for it is difficult to perceive how Aaron should sanctify the innermost crypt and not the whole sacred edifice which (Numbers 18:10) is called "the most holy place." Besides, these words, when they signify the holy of holies, have always the article prefixed (see this subject fully discussed, Hengstenberg, 'Christology,' 3:, pp. 120-123).

He and his sons for ever - himself and his oldest sons as the high priests in succession, as well as all his male descendants as the priests; for the works which, it specified, they were to do-namely, to burn incense (2 Chronicles 29:11; Luke 1:9), and to minister in the temple, and to invoke the blessing of God on the people (Num. 6:32; Deuteronomy 10:8) -were common to all the priests.

Verse 14

Now concerning Moses the man of God, his sons were named of the tribe of Levi.

Concerning Moses. His sons were ranked with the Levites generally, but not introduced into the distinctive portion of the descendants of Levi, who were appointed to the special functions of the priesthood.

Verses 15-20

The sons of Moses were, Gershom, and Eliezer. No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 21

The sons of Merari; Mahli, and Mushi. The sons of Mahli; Eleazar, and Kish.

The sons of Merari. They comprised six fathers' houses. Summing them together, Getshon founded nine fathers' houses, Kohath nine, and Merari six-total, twenty-four.

Verses 22-23

And Eleazar died, and had no sons, but daughters: and their brethren the sons of Kish took them.

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 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.

These were the sons of Levi ... that did the work ... from ... twenty years and upward. The enumeration of the Levites was made by David (1 Chronicles 23:3) on the same rule as that followed by Moses (Numbers 4:3) - namely, from thirty years. But he saw afterward that this rule might be beneficially relaxed, and that the enrollment of Levites for their proper duties might be made from 20 years of age. The ark and tabernacle being now stationary at Jerusalem, the labour of the Levites was greatly diminished, as they were no longer obliged to transport its heavy furniture from place to place.

Verses 25-27

For David said, The LORD God of Israel hath given rest unto his people, that they may dwell in Jerusalem for ever:

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 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;

Their office was to wait on the sons of Aaron - i:e., the priests for the time being.

Verse 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;

For all manner of measure and size - i:e., to see that all things used in the Lord's house should be according to the standard of the sanctuary.

Verse 30

And to stand every morning to thank and praise the LORD, and likewise at even;

And to stand every morning ... to perform all the requisite functions of sacred officials. The number of 38,000 Levites, exclusive of priests, was doubtless more than sufficient for the ordinary service of the tabernacle. But this pious king thought that it would contribute to the glory of the Lord to employ as many officers in His divine service as possible. These first rules, however, which David instituted, were temporary, as very different arrangements were made after the ark had been deposited in the tabernacle of Zion.

Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 1 Chronicles 23". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jfu/1-chronicles-23.html. 1871-8.
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