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Now these are the divisions of the sons of Aaron. The sons of Aaron; Nadab, and Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar.
Now these are the divisions of the sons of Aaron - (see the note at 1 Chronicles 23:6.)
But Nadab and Abihu died before their father, and had no children: therefore Eleazar and Ithamar executed the priest's office.
Nadab and Abihu died before their father - i:e., not in his presence, but during his lifetime (see marginal reference).
Therefore Eleazar and Ithamar executed the priest's office. In consequence of the death of his two oldest sons without issue, the descendants of Aaron were comprised in the families of Eleazar and Ithamar. Both of these sons discharged the priestly functions as assistants to their father. Eleazar succeeded him, and in his line the high priesthood continued until it was transferred to the family of Ithamar, in the person of Eli.
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.
Zadok ... and Ahimelech of the sons of Ithamar. This statement, taken in connection with 1 Chronicles 24:6 is not a little perplexing, since (2 Samuel 15:24; 2 Samuel 15:35; 2 Samuel 20:25) Abiathar is mentioned as the person conjoined, in David's time, with Zadok in the collegiate exercise of the high priesthood. Some think that the words have been transposed, reading, Abiathar the son of Ahimelech. But there is no ground for regarding the text as faulty. The high priests of the line of Ithamar were the following: Ahiah or Ahimelech, his son Abiathar, his son Ahimelech. We frequently find the grandfather and grandson called by the same name (see list of high priests of the line of Eleazar, 1 Chr. 5:30-41 ). Hence, the author of the Chronicles was acquainted with Ahimelech, son of Abiathar, who, for some reason, discharged the duties of high priest in David's reign, and during the lifetime of his father (for Abiathar was living in the time of Solomon, 1 Kings 2:27) (Keil).
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.
There were more chief men found. The Hebrew may be translated, 'there were more men as to heads of the sons of Eleazar.' It is true, in point of fact, that by the census the number of individuals belonging to the family of Eleazar was found greater than in that of Ithamar. And this, of necessity, led to there being more fathers' houses, and consequently more chiefs or presidents of courses in the former.
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.
Thus were they divided by lot. This method of allocation was adopted manifestly to remove all cause of jealousy as to precedence and the right of performing particular duties.
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.
One principal household. The marginal readings is preferable, 'one house of the father.' The lot was cast in a deliberate and solemn manner, in presence of the king, the princes, the two high priests, and the chiefs of the priestly and Levitical families; the heads of the families belonging to Eleazar and Ithamar were alternately brought forward to draw, and the name of each individual, as called, registered by an attendant secretary. To accommodate the casting of the lots to the inequality of the numbers-there being 16 fathers' houses of Eleazar and only 8 of Ithamar-it was arranged that every house of Ithamar should reckon as two lots; or, what is the same thing, that every two houses of Eleazar should be followed by one of Ithamar. If, then, we suppose a commencement to have been made by Eleazar, the order would be as follows: One and two, Eleazar; three, Ithamar; four and five, Eleazar; six, Ithamar; seven and eight, Eleazar; nine, Ithamar; and so forth (Bertheau). The lot determined also the order of the priests' service. That of the Levites was afterward distributed by the same arrangement (1 Chronicles 24:31).
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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 1 Chronicles 24". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Christ the King / Proper 29 / Ordinary 34