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Bible Commentaries
1 Chronicles 24

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New TestamentsSutcliffe's Commentary

Verses 1-31

1 Chronicles 24:5 . They were divided by lot, into twenty four courses. David might perhaps have interfered, and promoted one of each course to be the overseer of the other priests; but he did more wisely in leaving it to the lot. So, according to Eusebius, all christian bishops in the early ages were chosen by the whole congregation, and by apostolical sanction. We find in Cicero, that the Athenians also divided their priests into courses.

1 Chronicles 24:10 . Abijah, or Abia, of whose line John the Baptist descended.


The house of God is the throne of his glory. There he presides as Father and Lord. In his presence all things should be done decently and in order. The sons of Aaron might contend for precedency, and claims of birth. In God’s presence the princes of the earth, and of the church, are but as the small dust of the balance. The sons of Ithamar, and of Eleazar, inherited the altar by birth; for Nadab and Abihu had died before the Lord, for their presumption in burning incense with common fire. Of the former two there were now twenty four families; and the king following an ancient custom, caused them to ballot for their weekly course, during which space one of these venerable men burnt incense and presided at the altar, as a prince in the house of God. This wise regulation gave bread to all the families. So while their heart was in the work, and while righteousness and truth reigned among them, they worshipped the Lord in the beauty of holiness. But in the christian ministry we inherit by grace, and not by birth. The typical glory of the Jewish priesthood refers to Christ, and to him alone. He honours indeed his ministers with a glorious participation of his prophetic office; but the high atonement, and the cloud of incense, belong exclusively to the Lord of all, the angel of the covenant. May we then be thankful, that he has counted us faithful, and entrusted us with the ministry of his glorious gospel.

While the sons of Aaron officiated in course, as princes at the altar, the sons of Moses officiated as judges and levitical princes over the gates, the stores, and dwellings round the tabernacle. What a mercy that those two families had not by apostasy forfeited their high calling, but inherited the mercies promised to the fathers. May these considerations comfort and encourage christian parents to hope for their children. The Lord is able to keep them, and to make them heirs together with the Lord Christ of the grace of life.

Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on 1 Chronicles 24". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jsc/1-chronicles-24.html. 1835.
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