1 Chronicles 9:1-3 form the transition from the genealogies to the enumeration of the former inhabitants of Jerusalem in vv. 4-34.
1 Chronicles 9:1-2
“And all the Israelites were registered; and, behold, they were written in the book of the kings of Israel, and Judah was led away to Babylon for her transgressions.” The lxx and Vulg. have erroneously connected ויהוּדה with the preceding words, and render, “in the book of the kings of Israel and Judah,” and then have translated the following words וגו הגלוּ arbitrarily. Not less incorrect is Bertheau's opinion, that Israel here denotes only the tribes of the northern kingdom, because Israel is contrasted with Judah, and kings of Israel are spoken of, for both reasons are quite worthless. “The book of the kings of Israel” is cited in 2 Chronicles 20:34 (cf. 2 Chronicles 33:18), and is declared by Bertheau himself to be identical with the historical work cited as the “book of the kings of Israel and Judah” (2 Chronicles 27:7; 2 Chronicles 35:27; 2 Chronicles 36:8), or as the “book of the kings of Judah and Israel” (2 Chronicles 16:11; 2 Chronicles 25:26, and elsewhere). How then can it be inferred from the shortened title, “book of the kings of Israel,” that kings of the northern kingdom are spoken of? Then, as to the contrast between Israel and Judah, it might, when looked at by itself, be adduced in favour of taking the name in its narrower sense; but when we consider the grouping together in 1 Chronicles 9:10 of “Israel, the priests, the Levites, and the Nethinim,” we see clearly that Israel in 1 Chronicles 9:2 incontrovertibly denotes the whole Israel of the twelve tribes. In 1 Chronicles 9:1, Israel is used in the same sense as in 1 Chronicles 9:2; and the contrast between Israel and Judah, therefore, is analogous to the contrast “Judah and Jerusalem,” i.e., Israel is a designation of the whole covenant people, Judah that of one section of it. The position of our verse also at the end of the genealogies of all the tribes of Israel, and not merely of the ten tribes of the northern kingdom, requires that the name Israel should be understood to denote the whole covenant people. That 1 Chronicles 9:1 forms the transition from the genealogies to the enumeration of the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and so is properly the conclusion of the genealogies in 1 Chron 2-8, is so manifest that Bertheau cannot adduce a single tenable ground for his assertion to the contrary, that “the verse forms clearly quite a new beginning.” For the assertion, “We recognise in it a short introduction to the historical statements regarding the tribe of Judah or the Israelites after the exile,” cannot be adduced in support of his view, since it not only contradicts his former assertion that Israel here denotes the northern kingdom, but is also irreconcilable with the words of the verse.
(Note: Bertheau ' s further remark, “ 1 Chronicles 9:1 cannot have been written by our historian, because he did not consider it sufficient to refer his readers to the work he quotes from, but thought himself bound to communicate genealogical registers of the tribes of the northern kingdom (1 Chron 5-7), which he must have extracted from older registers prepared in the time of the kings (cf. 1 Chronicles 6:1), perhaps even out of the work here named, ” is quite incomprehensible by me. Notwithstanding repeated consideration of it clause by clause, I have not succeeded in comprehending the logic of this argument.)
The statement, “Judah was led captive to Babylon for her transgressions,” corresponds to the statement 1 Chronicles 5:25., 1 Chronicles 6:15. But when, after this statement, our writer continues, “And the former inhabitants which (lived) in their possessions in their cities were Israel, the priests, the Levites, and the Nethinim; and in Jerusalem there dwelt of the sons of Judah,” etc., the “former inhabitants” can only be those who dwelt in their possessions before Judah was led captive into Babylon. This could hardly be misunderstood by any commentator, if the right interpretation of our passage were not obscured by the similarity of the register of the inhabitants of Jerusalem which follows to that contained in Neh 11, - a similarity which has led some to believe that both registers treat of the post-exilic inhabitants of Jerusalem. Bertheau, e.g., comes to the following decision as to the relation of our register, vv. 2-34, to that in Neh 11:3-24: “As the result of the comparison, we have found that both registers correspond exactly in their plan, and agree as to all the main points in their contents.” The first point in this result has some foundation; for if we turn our attention only to the enumeration of chiefs dwelling in Jerusalem, then the registers in 1 Chronicles 9:4-17 of our chapter and in Neh 11:3-19 are identical in plan. But if we consider the whole of the registers, as found in 1 Chron 9:2-34 and Neh 11:3-24, we see that they do differ in plan; for in ours, the enumeration of the inhabitants of Jerusalem is introduced by the remark, 1 Chronicles 9:2, “The former inhabitants in their possessions in their cities, were Israel, the priests,” etc., according to which the following words, 1 Chronicles 9:3, “And in Jerusalem there dwelt of the sons of Judah,” etc., can only be understood of the pre-exilic inhabitants. When Bertheau refers, in opposition to this, to Nehemiah 5:15, where the time between Zerubbabel and Ezra is called the time of the former governors ( הראשׁנים הפּחות ), with whom Nehemiah contrasts himself, the later governor, to prove that according to that the former inhabitants in our passage may very well denote the inhabitants of the land in the first century of the restored community, he forgets that the governors were changed within short periods, so that Nehemiah might readily call his predecessors in the office “former governors;” while the inhabitants of the cities of Judah, on the contrary, had not changed during the period from Zerubbabel to Ezra, so as to allow of earlier and later inhabitants being distinguished. From the fact that the inhabitants “of their cities” are not contrasted as the earlier, with the inhabitants of Jerusalem as the later, but that both are placed together in such a way as to exclude such a contrast, it is manifest that the conclusion drawn by Movers and Bertheau from Nehemiah 11:1, that the “former inhabitants in their possessions in their cities” are those who dwelt in Jerusalem before it was peopled by the inhabitants of the surrounding district, is not tenable. In Neh 11, on the contrary, the register is introduced by the remark, 1 Chronicles 9:3, “These are the heads of the province who dwelt in Jerusalem; and they dwelt in the cities of Judah, each in his possession in their cities, Israel, the priests,” etc. This introduction, therefore, announces a register of the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and of the other cities of Judah, at that time, i.e., at the time of Ezra and Nehemiah. To this corresponds the manner in which the register has been made out, as in vv. 3-24 the inhabitants of Jerusalem are enumerated, and in 1 Chronicles 9:25-36 the inhabitants of the other cities. The register in our chapter, on the contrary, deals only with the inhabitants of Jerusalem (vv. 3-19 a ), while in vv. 19 b -34 there follow remarks as to the duties devolving upon the Levites. No mention is made in the register of the inhabitants of other cities, or of Israelites, priests, and Levites, who dwelt in their cities outside of Jerusalem (1 Chronicles 9:2), because all that was necessary had been already communicated in the preceding genealogies (1 Chron 2-8).
1 Chronicles 9:3
1 Chronicles 9:3, too, is not, as Bertheau and others think, “the superscription of the register of those dwelling in Jerusalem;” for were it that, mention must have been made in it of the priests and Levites, the enumeration of whom fills up the greater part of the following register, vv. 10-33. 1 Chronicles 9:3 corresponds rather to 1 Chronicles 9:35, and serves to introduce the contents of the whole chapter, and with it commences the enumeration itself. In Neh 11, consequently, we have a register of the inhabitants of Jerusalem and the cities of Judah, while our chapter contains only a register of the former inhabitants of Jerusalem. Only in so far as it treats of the inhabitants of Jerusalem does Nehemiah's register resemble ours in plan; that is, to this extent, that the sons of Judah, the sons of Benjamin, priests and Levites, are enumerated seriatim as dwelling in Jerusalem, that is, that heads of the fathers'-houses of these inhabitants, as is stated by Nehemiah in the superscription 1 Chronicles 11:3, and in our chapter, at the end of the respective paragraphs, 1 Chronicles 9:9, 1 Chronicles 9:13, and in the subscription, 1 Chronicles 9:33 and 1 Chronicles 9:34.
But if we examine the contents of the two catalogues more minutely, their agreement is shown by the identity of several of the names of these heads. On this point Bertheau thus speaks: “Of the three heads of Judah, Uthai, Asaiah, and Jeuel, 1 Chronicles 9:4-6, we recognise the first two in Athaiah and Maaseiah, Nehemiah 11:4-5; only the third name, Jeuel, is omitted. Of the five heads of Benjamin, 1 Chronicles 9:5-7, it is true, we meet with only two, Sallu and Hodaviah, in Nehemiah 11:7-9; but it is manifest that there was no intention to communicate in that place a complete enumeration of the hereditary chiefs of Benjamin. The names of the six heads of the divisions of the priests, Jedaiah and Jehoiarib, Jachin, Azariah (Seriah occupies his place in the book of Nehemiah), Adaiah and Maasiai (represented in Nehemiah by Amashai), are enumerated in both places in the same order. Among the Levites there occur the names of Shemaiah and Mattaniah as representatives of the great Levitic divisions of Merari and Gershon-Asaph, and we easily recognise our עבדיה in the עבדּא of the book of Nehemiah. Only the two first of the four chiefs of the doorkeepers, Shallum, Akkub, Talmon, and Ahiman, are named in the abridged enumeration of the book of Nehemiah, while the two others are only referred to in the added ואחיהם .” Now, even according to this statement of the matter, the difference is seen to be almost as great as the agreement; but in reality, as a more exact comparison of the catalogues shows, the true state of the case is very different. According to 1 Chronicles 9:3, there dwelt in Jerusalem also sons of Ephraim and Manasseh; but the catalogue from 1 Chronicles 9:4 onwards contains only sons of Judah and Benjamin, and not a single Ephraimite or Manassite. The reason of that is probably this, that only single families and individuals from among the latter dwelt there, while the register only makes mention of the heads of the larger family groups in the population of Jerusalem.
In the same place there dwelt, of the sons of Judah, three chiefs of the three most important families of Judah, that of Pharez, that of Shelah, and that of Zerah; cf. 1 Chronicles 2:3-4. Of the family of Pharez was Uthai, whose descent is traced back in 1 Chronicles 9:4 to Bani, of the children of Pharez. The Kethibh בן־בנימן־בּני is clearly to be read according to the Keri מן־בּני בן־בּני . The name Bani occurs, 1 Chronicles 6:31, among the Merarites; while in the genealogies of Judah, 1 Chron 2-4, neither Bani nor Uthai, nor any one of his ancestors who are here named, is mentioned. In Nehemiah 11:4, on the contrary, there is named of the sons of Pharez, Athaiah ( עתיה, perhaps only another form of עוּתי ), with quite other ancestors; while not a single one of the five names of the persons through whom his race is traced back to Mahalaleel, of the sons of Pharez, coincides with the ancestors of Uthai.
1 Chronicles 9:5
Of the family of Shelah, Asaiah the first-born, and his other) sons. בּנין, after הבּכור, can only be understood of the other sons or descendants. But the epithet give to Asaiah, השּׁילני, is surprising, for it is a formation from שׁילה or שׁילן, and appears to denote a native of Shiloh, a well-known city of Ephraim. This derivation, however, is not suitable, since here the sons (descendants) of Judah are enumerated; and no connection between the inhabitants of Judah and the Ephraimite city Shiloh can either be proved or is at all likely. The older commentators, therefore, have suggested the reading השּׁלני, as in Numbers 26:20, where the family of Shelah, the third sons of Judah, is so called. This suggestion is doubtless correct, and the erroneous punctuation השּׁילני has probably arisen only from the scriptio plena of the word שׁילה instead of שׁלה . This supposition is confirmed by the fact that the form השּׁלני is found in Nehemiah 11:5, although it also is pointed השּׁלני . In Neh. loc. cit., instead of Asaiah, Maaseiah is introduced as בּן־השּׁלני in the seventh generation, while no ancestors whatever of our Asaiah are mentioned. The name עשׂיה, moreover, is not unfrequent, and occurs in 1 Chronicles 4:36 among the Simeonites; in 1 Chronicles 6:15; 1 Chronicles 15:6, 1 Chronicles 15:11, among the Levites; in 2 Kings 22:12, 2 Kings 22:14 and 2 Chronicles 34:20, as עבד of the King Josiah. מעשׁיה is the name of many persons, e.g., in 1 Chronicles 15:18, 1 Chronicles 15:20, and likewise in 2 Chronicles 23:1; Jeremiah 21:1; Jeremiah 29:21; Jeremiah 35:4; and elsewhere it is used of men of other tribes: so that even should Maaseiah have been written instead of Asaiah merely by an error of transcription, we are not warranted in identifying our Asaiah with the Maaseiah of Nehemiah.
1 Chronicles 9:6
“Of the sons of Zerah, Jeuel;” also the name of various persons; cf. 1 Chronicles 5:7; 2 Chronicles 26:11 : the register in Neh 11 notices no descendants of Zerah. “And their brethren, 690 (men).” The plural suffix in אחיהם cannot be referred, as Bertheau thinks, to Jeuel, for that name, as being that of the head of a father's-house, cannot be a collective. The suffix most consequently refer to the three heads mentioned in 1 Chronicles 9:4-6, Uthai, Asaiah, and Jeuel, whose brethren are the other heads of fathers'-houses of the three families descended from Judah; cf. 1 Chronicles 9:9, where the number of the אחים mentioned refers to all the heads who had formerly been spoken of.
Of the sons of Benjamin, i.e., of the Benjamites, four heads are named, Sallu, Ibneiah, Elah, and Meshullam; and of the first and fourth of these, three generations of ancestors are mentioned, of the second only the father, of the third the father and grandfather. “And their brethren according to their generations, 956;” cf. on 1 Chronicles 9:6. “All these men” are not the brethren whose number is given, but the heads who have been mentioned by name. Now, if we compare this with Neh 11, we meet in 1 Chronicles 9:7-9 with only one of the four heads of Benjamin, Sallu, and that too, as in the Chronicle, as a son of Meshullam, while the ancestors of both are different. Instead of the three others in 1 Chronicles 9:8, we have סלּי גּבּי, 928; and in 1 Chronicles 9:9, as overseer (prefect), and Jehudah as ruler over the city.
The priests. - The three names Jedaiah, Jehoiarib, and Jachin (1 Chronicles 9:10) denote three classes of priests (cf. 1 Chronicles 24:7, 1 Chronicles 24:17), who accordingly dwelt in Jerusalem. There also dwelt there (1 Chronicles 9:11) Azariah the son of Hilkiah, etc., the prince of the house of God; cf. 2 Chronicles 31:13. This is the Azariah mentioned in 1 Chronicles 6:13, the son of Hilkiah, etc., the grandfather of the Jehozadak who was led captive into Babylon. then in 1 Chronicles 9:12 we have two other heads of the priestly fathers'-houses, with an enumeration of their ancestors, through whom they are traced back to the classes of priests to which they belonged respectively, viz., Adaiah to the class Malchijah ( 1 Chronicles 24:9), and Maasiai to the class Immer (1 Chronicles 24:14). According to this, therefore, there dwelt at Jerusalem, of the priesthood, the three classes Jedaiah, Jehoiarib, and Jachin, Azariah the prince of the temple, and of the classes Malchijah and Immer, the fathers'-houses Adaiah and Maasiai. In 1 Chronicles 9:13 the whole number is estimated at 1760. A difficulty is raised by the first words of this verse, “And their brethren, heads of their fathers'-houses, 1760,” which can hardly be taken in any other sense than as denoting that the number of the heads of the fathers'-houses amounted to 1760. This, however, is not conceivable, as “fathers'-houses” are not single households, but larger groups of related families. Moreover, אחיהם, which is co-ordinate with the heads of the fathers'-houses, can only denote, as in 1 Chronicles 9:6, 1 Chronicles 9:9, the heads of the families which belonged to or constituted the fathers'-houses. To arrive at this meaning, however, we must transpose the words ואחיהם and לבית־אבותם ראשׁים, connecting לבית־אבותם ר with 1 Chronicles 9:12, and אחיהם with the number, thus: heads of fathers'-houses, etc., were those mentioned in 1 Chronicles 9:12, and their brethren 1760 (men), valiant heroes in the work of the service of the house of God. Before מלאכת one would expect the word עשׁי, as in 1 Chronicles 23:24 and Nehemiah 11:12, but its presence is not so absolutely necessary as to warrant us in supposing that it has been dropped out, and in inserting it. מלאכת may be also taken as an accusative of relation, “valiant heroes in reference to the work;” or at most a ל a tso may be supplied before מלאכת, as it might easily have been omitted by a clerical error after the immediately preceding חיל . On comparing our passage with Nehemiah 11:10-14, we find there, if בּן־יויריב in 1 Chronicles 9:10 be altered into יהויריב, the same three classes of priests; but instead of Azariah, Seraiah is prince of the house of God, 1 Chronicles 9:11 : thereafter we have 822 brethren, performing the work of the house (of God). Then follows Adaiah of the class Malchijah (as in the Chronicles), but with the addition, “his brethren 242;” and then Amashai of the class Immer, but with other ancestors than those of the Maasiai of the Chronicles, and with the addition, “and their brethren, valiant heroes, 128;” and finally, Zabdiel Ben Hagdolim as overseer (president over them).
The sum of the three numbers is 1192, as contrasted with the 1760 of the Chronicle.
The Levites. - Of these there dwelt in Jerusalem, Shemaiah the son of Hasshub, the son of, etc., a Merarite; and (1 Chronicles 9:15) Bakbakkar, Heresh, and Galal; and Mattaniah the son of Micah, a descendant of Asaph, and consequently a Gershonite (1 Chronicles 9:16); and Obadiah the son of Shemaiah, as descendant of Jeduthun, consequently also a Merarite; and Berechiah the son of Asa, the son of Elkanah, who dwelt in the villages of the Netophathite, i.e., of the lord or possessor of Netopha, a locality in the neighbourhood of Bethlehem; cf. Nehemiah 7:26. This remark does not refer to Shemaiah, who cannot have dwelt at the same time in Jerusalem and in the village of the Netophathite, but to his grandfather or ancestor Elkanah, who is thereby to be distinguished from the other men who bore this name, which often occurs in the family of Kohath. All these men are, according to the analogy of the other names in our register, and according to the express statement of the superscription, 1 Chronicles 9:34, to be regarded as heads of Levitic fathers'-houses, and were probably leaders of the music, since those mentioned in 1 Chronicles 9:15, 1 Chronicles 9:16 were descendants of Asaph and Jeduthun, and may therefore with certainty be assumed to have belonged to the Levitic musicians. A confirmation of this supposition is found in the superscription, 1 Chronicles 9:33, inasmuch as the mention of the singers in the first line goes to show that the enumeration of the Levites began with the singers. If we compare Nehemiah 11:15-18 with our passage, we find that these two, Shemaiah and Mattaniah, are mentioned, and on the whole their forefathers have the same names, 1 Chronicles 9:15 and 1 Chronicles 9:17; but between the two we find Shabbethai and Jozabad of the chief of the Levites set over the external service of the house of God. After Mattaniah, who is chief of the Asaphites there also, mention is made of Bakbukiah as the second among his brethren, and Abda the son of Shammua, a descendant of Jeduthun (1 Chronicles 9:17); according to which, even if we identify Bakbakkar with Bakbukiah, and Abda with Obadiah, the Heresh, Galal, and Berechiah of the Chronicles are wanting in Nehemiah, and instead of these three, only Jozabad is mentioned.
“The doorkeepers, Shallum, Akkub, Talmon, Ahiman, and their brethren: Shallum the chief.” The service was so divided among the four just named, that each along with his brethren performed the duty of watching by one of the four sides and chief entrances of the temple (cf. 1 Chronicles 9:24 and 1 Chronicles 9:26), and these four were consequently heads of those divisions of the Levites to whom was committed the duty of the watch. In Nehemiah 11:20, on the contrary, the doorkeepers mentioned are Akkub, Talmon, and their brethren, 172 (men); but the other two chiefs named in the Chronicle are there omitted, while in the Chronicle no number is given. Here the agreement between the two registers ceases. In the Chronicle there follows first of all, in 1 Chronicles 9:18-26, some remarks on the service of the doorkeepers; and then in 1 Chronicles 9:26-32 the duties of the Levites in general are spoken of; and finally, in 1 Chronicles 9:32 and 1 Chronicles 9:34 we have subscriptions. In Nehemiah, on the other hand, we find in 1 Chronicles 9:20 the statement that the remaining Israelites, priests, and Levites dwelt in their cities; and after some statements as to the service of the Levites, the enumeration of these cities is introduced.
In glancing back over the two catalogues, it is seen that the differences are at least as great as the coincidences. But what conclusions are we to deduce from that fact? Bertheau thinks “from this it is certain that both catalogues cannot have been drawn up independently of each other,” and “that both have been derived from one and the same source, which must have been much more complete, and much richer in names, than our present catalogues; cf. Movers, S. 234.” We, however, judge otherwise. The discrepancies are much too great to allow us to refer them to free handling by epitomizers of some hypothetical more detailed catalogue, or to the negligence of copyists. The coincidence, in so far as it actually exists, does not justify us in accepting such far-fetched suppositions, but may be satisfactorily explained in another way. It consists indeed only in this, that in both registers, (1) sons of Judah and Benjamin, priests and Levites, are enumerated; (2) that in each of these four classes of the inhabitants of Jerusalem some names are identical. The first of these coincidences clearly does not in the least prove that the two catalogues are derived from the same source, and treat of the same time; for the four classes enumerated constituted, both before and after the exile, the population of Jerusalem. But neither does the identity of some of the names prove in the slightest degree the identity of the two catalogues, because the names denote, partly classes of inhabitants, and partly heads of fathers'-houses, i.e., of groups of related households, which did not change with each generation, but sometimes continued to exist for centuries; and because, א priori, we should expect that those who returned from exile would, as far as it was possible, seek out again the dwelling-places of their pre-exilic ancestors; and that consequently after the exile, on the whole, the same families who had dwelt at Jerusalem before it would again take up their abode there. In this way the identity of the names Jedaiah, Jehoiarib, and Jachin in the two catalogues may be accounted for, as these names do not denote persons, but classes of priests, which existed both before and after the exile. A similar explanation would also apply to the names of the doorkeepers Akkub and Talmon (1 Chronicles 9:17; Nehemiah 11:19), as not merely the priests, but also the other Levites, were divided for the service according to their fathers'-houses into classes which had permanent names (cf. 1 Chron 25 and 26). Of the other names in our register only the following are identical: of the Benjamites, Sallu the son of Meshullam (1 Chronicles 9:7; Nehemiah 11:7); of the priests, Adaiah (1 Chronicles 9:12; Nehemiah 11:12), with almost the same ancestors; and of the Levites, Shemaiah and Mattaniah (1 Chronicles 9:10.; Nehemiah 11:15, Nehemiah 11:17). All the other names are different; and even if among the priests Maasiai (1 Chronicles 9:12) should be identical with Amashai (Nehemiah 11:13), and among the Levites Bakbakkar and Obadiah (1 Chronicles 9:16 and 1 Chronicles 9:15) with Bakbukiah and Abda (Nehemiah 11:17), we cannot identify the sons of Judah, Uthai and Azaiah (1 Chronicles 9:4.), with Athaiah and Maaseiah (Nehemiah 11:4.), for their ancestors are quite different. The similarity or even the identity of names, were it in two or three generations, cannot of itself prove the identity of the persons, as we have already seen, in the genealogy of the line of Aaron 1 Chronicles 6:3.), that, e.g., the series Amariah, Ahitub, and Zadok recurs at various times; cf. 1 Chronicles 6:11. and 1 Chronicles 6:12. Everywhere in the genealogical lines the same names very often recur, as it was the custom to give the children the names of their ancestors; cf. Tob. 1:9, Luke 1:59. Win. bibl. R. W . ii. S. 133; Hהvern. Einl . ii. 1, S. 179f. But if, on the one hand, the identity of these names in the two catalogues is not at all a valid proof of the identity of the catalogues, and by no means justifies us in identifying similarly-sounding names by supposing errors of transcription, on the other hand we must hold that the register refers to the pre-exilic population of Jerusalem, both because of the wide discrepancies in all points, and in accordance with the introductory statements in 1 Chronicles 9:2. This interpretation is also demanded by the succeeding remarks in reference to the service of the Levites, since they throughout refer to the pre-exilic time.
The duties of the Levites. - 1 Chronicles 9:18. The first half of this verse, “And until now (is he) in the king's gate eastward,” must be referred to Shallum (Berth.). To imagine a reference to all the doorkeepers, “until now are they,” does not suit 1 Chronicles 9:24-26, according to which the doorkeepers kept guard upon all the four sides. The eastern gate of the temple was called the king's gate, because by this gate the king went in and out to the temple; cf. Ezekiel 46:1-2; Ezekiel 41:3. The remark, “until now is Shallum watcher,” etc., presupposes the existence of the temple at the time of the preparation of this register, and points to the pre-exilic time. Against this Bertheau has raised the objection that the name king's gate may have been retained even in the post-exilic times for the eastern gate. This must of course be in general admitted, but could only be accepted if it were proved that Shallum lived after the exile. This proof Bertheau obtains by taking the words, “until now is Shallum in the king's gate,” to mean, “that, according to the ancient arrangement, Shallum, the chief of all the doorkeepers, had still to guard the eastern entrance; according to which Shallum would be the collective designation of the whole series of the chiefs of the doorkeepers who lived from David's time till after the exile;” but the words cannot be thus interpreted. Such an interpretation cannot be made plausible by identifying the name Shallum with Meshelemiah or Shelemiah, to whose lot it fell in the time of David to be doorkeeper to the eastward (1 Chronicles 26:1, 1 Chronicles 26:14); for in doing so, we would overlook the fact that in 1 Chronicles 9:21 of our chapter also he bears the name Meshelemiah. The circumstance that both Shallum and Meshelemiah are called Ben-Kore, of the sons of Abiasaph, by no means justifies the identification of these two quite different names; for it is neither necessary nor probable that בּן should here be taken in its narrower sense, and Kore regarded as the immediate father of both. The name קרא is repeated in the family of the east doorkeepers, as we learn from 2 Chronicles 31:14, where it is stated that this office was held by a Kore ben Jimna. “These (who are named in 1 Chronicles 9:17) are the doorkeepers for the camp of the sons of Levi” (of the Levites), - an antiquated expression, bringing to remembrance the time of Moses, when the Levites, on the journey through the wilderness, were encamped about the tabernacle (Numbers 3:21.).
1 Chronicles 9:19
1 Chronicles 9:19 gives more exact information as to Shallum's person and his official position. He, the descendant of Kore, the son (descendant) of Abiasaph, a Korahite, and his brethren according to his father's-house (i.e., called brethren because they, like him, belonged to the father's-house of Korah), were over the work of the service, viz., keepers of the thresholds of the tent, i.e., of the house of God, of the temple, which, according to the ancient custom, was called tent, because God's house was formerly a tent-the tabernacle. “And his fathers (the ancestors of Shallum) were by the encampment of Jahve, guardians of the entrance.” With these words the author of this register goes back into the ancient time; and we learn that Shallum's ancestors, of the father's-house of the Korahite Abiasaph, had held the office of guardian of the entrance to the house of God from the time of the conquest of Canaan and the setting up of the tabernacle in Shiloh. The remark in 1 Chronicles 9:20, that Phinehas the son of Eleazar was prince over them in time past, points to the same period. In the book of Joshua and the older books there is no record of the matter; but since the Korahites were descended through Ishhar from Kohath, and the Kohathites held, according to Numbers 4:4., the first place among the servants of the holy place, and were responsible for the holiest vessels, we cannot doubt that the statement here rests upon accurate historical tradition. The “encampment of Jahve” is the holy place of the tabernacle, the dwelling of Jahve in the midst of His people. This designation also is derived from the circumstances of the Israelites in their wandering in the Arabian desert, and is likewise employed in 2 Chronicles 31:2 in reference to Solomon's temple; but in our verse the tabernacle is intended. It had only one entrance, מבוא, the guarding of which was entrusted to the above-mentioned Korahites.
1 Chronicles 9:20
Phinehas was prince over them, not as high priest, but during the high-priesthood of his father Eleazar, i.e., in the time of Joshua, just as Eleazar, under the high-priesthood of Aaron in the time of Moses, had the oversight of the keepers of the holy place, as prince of the princes of Levi (Numbers 3:32). The words עמּו יהוה do not contain a historical remark, “Jahve was with him,” for then the conjunction w would stand before it, as in 1 Chronicles 11:9; they are a blessing - “Jahve be with him” - in reference, probably, to the covenant of peace entered into with him and his descendants by Jahve (Numbers 25:11-13).
1 Chronicles 9:21
1 Chronicles 9:21 is quite unconnected with the preceding context, the conjunction w being omitted, and its contents also present considerable difficulties. Zechariah, the son of Meshelemiah, can only be the Zechariah who is mentioned in 1 Chronicles 26:2 as the first-born of Meshelemiah, and who lived in the time of David; for at the time when David divided the porters into classes, there fell to him the lot towards midnight, i.e., the duty of waiting at the door on the north side of the holy place (1 Chronicles 26:14). With this, indeed, the general statement of our verse, “he was porter of the door (or the entrance) of the tent of the covenant,” is not inconsistent. But what purpose does this general statement serve? With what design is Zechariah, and he alone, mentioned? We have no means of giving a definite answer to this question; but he may perhaps be named as being the person who, before David's division of the Levites into classes was carried out, had charge of the porters' service in the tabernacle. But even if this conjecture be accepted as well grounded, the abrupt way in which it is mentioned still remains enigmatical.
1 Chronicles 9:22
With 1 Chronicles 9:22 the narrative seems to return to the enumeration begun in 1 Chronicles 9:17-19, so that the reflections on the earlier times, 1 Chronicles 9:19-21, are to be regarded as a parenthesis. 1 Chronicles 9:22 runs: “They all who were chosen for doorkeepers for the thresholds, 212 (men): they, in their villages were they registered; they were ordained by David and Samuel the seer on their fidelity.” The infinitive התיחשׂ is used substantively, “in reference to them, in their villages as their genealogical registration accomplished.” If 1 Chronicles 9:22 be the continuation of 1 Chronicles 9:17-21, then the number given (212) will refer to the doorkeepers in active service at the time of the preparation of the register. With this hypothesis, however, the last clause of the verse, which states that David and Samuel had appointed them, does not seem to harmonize. But if we consider that the four men mentioned in 1 Chronicles 9:17 are heads of fathers'-houses, and that their fathers'-houses were not extinguished at the death of their temporary heads, and performed the same service from generation to generation, it might well be said of the generation performing the service at the time of the preparation of our register, that David had appointed them to their office. The case would of course be similar, if, as we have above supposed, the four names in 1 Chronicles 9:17 are designations of the classes of doorkeepers, for these classes also performed the same service continually. The statements of our 22nd verse cannot be referred to the time of David, for in 1 Chronicles 26:8-10 the number of the doorkeepers appointed by David amounted only to eighty, viz., sixty-two of the sons of Obed-Edom, and eighteen of the sons of Meshelemiah, which, with the addition of thirteen Merarites (1 Chronicles 26:10-11), gives a total of ninety-three, while in our verse the number is 212. According to Ezra 2:42, the number of doorkeepers who returned with Zerubbabel was 139 men; and in the register, Nehemiah 11:19, the number is stated to be 172. From the remark that they were registered in their villages ( חצריהם, as in 1 Chronicles 6:41; Joshua 13:23, and elsewhere), we learn that the doorkeepers dwelt in villages near Jerusalem, whence they came to the city so often as their service required, as the singers also did in the post-exilic time, Nehemiah 12:29. יסּד, to found, set, ordain, and so appoint to an office. “David and Samuel the seer:” הראה, the ancient designation of the prophets, for which at a later time נביא was the more usual word; cf. 1 Samuel 9:9. Nowhere else do we find any record of Samuel's having taken any part in David's arrangement of the service of the Levites in the holy place. Samuel, moreover, was no longer living when David began to arrange the worship at the time when the ark was brought to Jerusalem, for he died before Saul, and consequently before the beginning of David's reign; cf. 1 Samuel 25:1 with 1 Samuel 28:3. Bertheau is consequently of opinion that this statement of our historian rests merely upon the general recollection, according to which the worship was organized afresh, and established in its newer form, in the time of David and Samuel. This is of course possible, but there is no cogent reason against accepting the much less remote supposition that the chronicler took this remark from his authority. The mention of Samuel after David has not a chronological signification, but David is named first on account of his connection with the matter in hand; for the thorough re-organization of the worship, and the classification of the persons engaged in carrying it on, originated with David. For these arrangements of David, however, Samuel had prepared the way in his struggle for the restoration of the theocracy, and of the worship which had fallen into desuetude under Eli and his profligate sons. To do this in any measure, he must have, without doubt, ordained trustworthy men to the individual offices, and thus have prepared the way for King David. בּאמוּנתם is found in 1 Chronicles 9:26, 1 Chronicles 9:31 without the suffix, with the meaning “in good faith” (cf. 2 Kings 12:16; 2 Kings 22:7; 2 Chronicles 31:12), and accordingly is here upon their fidelity, i.e., because they had been recognised to be faithful.
1 Chronicles 9:23-24
They (those ordained by David) and their sons (descendants) were at the doors of the house of Jahve-of the tent-house ( האהל בּית is added to בּית־יהוה, in order that the latter might not be confined to Solomon's temple); for the watch ( משׁמרות of persons, as in Nehemiah 12:9; Nehemiah 4:3, Nehemiah 4:16), according to the four winds (quarters) were they, i.e., the doorkeepers stood so, in accordance with the arrangement made by David; cf. 1 Chronicles 26:14.
1 Chronicles 9:25-26
“And their brethren in their villages (cf. 1 Chronicles 9:22) were bound to come the seventh day, from time to time, with these.” The infinitive בּוא with ל expresses duty, as in 1 Chronicles 5:1. The seventh day is the Sabbath of the week, on which each class in order had to take charge of the services. אלּה עם are the chiefs mentioned in 1 Chronicles 9:17 who dwelt in Jerusalem, and of whom it is said in 1 Chronicles 9:26, “for they are on their fidelity, the four mighty of the doorkeepers.” In explanation of the גּבּרי, Bertheau very fittingly compares σταρτηγοῖ τοῦ Ἱεροῦ, Luke 22:52. The words הלויּם הם, which may be translated, “they are the Levites,” or “they (viz., the Levites),” are somewhat surprising. The Masoretic punctuation demands the latter translation, when the words would be an emphatic elucidation of the preceding המּה . Were they a subscription, we should expect אלּה instead of הם ; while, on the other hand, the circumstance noticed by Bertheau, that in the following verses the duties not merely of the doorkeepers, but of the Levites in general, are enumerated, would seem to favour that sense. Even in the second half of the 1 Chronicles 9:22 it is not the doorkeepers who are spoken of, but the Levites in general. May we not suppose that the text originally stood היוּ הלויּם וּמן (cf. 1 Chronicles 9:14) instead of והיוּ הויּם והם, and that the reading of our present text, having originated in a transcriber's error, found acceptance from the circumstance that 1 Chronicles 9:27 apparently still treats of, or returns to, the service of the doorkeepers? So much is certain, that from 1 Chronicles 9:26 onward the duties of the Levites in general, no longer those of the doorkeepers, are spoken of, and that consequently we must regard the Levites ( הלויּם ), and not the before-mentioned four doorkeepers, as the subject of והיוּ : “and the Levites were over the cells of the storehouses of the house of God.” The cells in the outbuildings of the temple served as treasure-chambers and storehouses for the temple furniture. האוצרות with the article in the stat. constr. (Ew. §290, d.), because of the looser connection, since the genitive בּית־הא also belongs to הלּשׁכוה .
1 Chronicles 9:27
1 Chronicles 9:27 refers again to the doorkeepers. They passed the night around the house of God, because the care of or watch over it was committed to them, and “they were over the key, and that every morning,” i.e., they had to open the door every morning. מפתּח occurs again in Judges 3:25 and Isaiah 22:22, in the signification key, which is suitable here also.
1 Chronicles 9:28
And of them (the Levites), some were over the vessels of the service, by which we are probably to understand the costly vessels, e.g., the golden cups for the libations, etc., which were brought from the treasure-chamber only for a short time for use in the service. They were brought, according to the number, into the place where the service took place, and after being again numbered, were again carried forth; and according to 1 Chronicles 9:29, other Levites were set over הכּלים and over הקּדשׁ כּלי .
1 Chronicles 9:29
And of them, others were set over the vessels (in general), and over all the holy vessels which were used for the daily sacrificial service, and over the fine flour ( סלת, vide on Leviticus 2:1), wine, oil, and incense which was required therein for the meat and drink offerings, and the בּשׂמים, spicery, for the holy perfumes (frankincense, cf. Exodus 25:6).
1 Chronicles 9:30
And of the priests' sons were preparers of the ointments for the spices. It is the preparation from various spices of the holy anointing oil, Exodus 30:23-25, which is meant, and which consequently was part of the priest's duty.
1 Chronicles 9:31
Mattithiah, the first-born of the Korahite Shallum ( vide 1 Chronicles 9:19), was on good faith over the panbakings (pastry) for the meat-offerings, over the preparation of which he was to watch. To the name Mattithiah מן־הלויּם is added, in contrast to the הכּהנים מן־בּני in 1 Chronicles 9:30. The word החבתּים (pastry, panbaking) occurs here only; cf. מחבת, pan of sheet iron, Exodus 4:3.
1 Chronicles 9:32
Finally, to some of the Kohathites was committed the preparation of the shew-bread, which required to be laid on the table fresh every Sabbath; cf. Leviticus 24:5-8. The suffix אחיהם refers back to the Levites of the father's-house of Korah in 1 Chronicles 9:32.
1 Chronicles 9:33-34
1 Chronicles 9:33, 1 Chronicles 9:34 contain subscriptions to the section vv. 14-32. Since the enumeration of the Levites dwelling in Jerusalem in 1 Chronicles 9:14-16 began with the Levitic singer families, so here we find that the singers are mentioned in the first subscription, “these are the singers, heads of fathers'-houses of the Levites,” with an additional remark as to their service: “In the cells free, for day and night it is incumbent upon them to be in service,” which is somewhat obscure. פּטוּרים, from פּטר, in later Hebrew, let loose, set free. Rashi and Kimchi have already translated it, immunes ab aliis nempe ministeriis , or ab omni alio officio . Adopting this linguistically assured translation, we must supply with בּלּשׁכת, dwelling or waiting in the cells of the courts of the temple, freed from every other business in order that they may apply themselves wholly to their service, for they are wholly busied therewith day and night. Day and night is not to be pressed, but signifies perpetually, continually. Bertheau translates בּמּלאכה עליהם, “they were over them in the service,” i.e., had to take the oversight of the singers subordinate to them. but this can hardly be correct; and the passage quoted to justify this translation, 2 Chronicles 34:12, proves nothing, because there מפקד is used along with it. We therefore prefer to take עליהם in the signification “it is incumbent upon them,” although we should then expect המּלאכה instead of בּמּלאכה ; cf. 1 Chronicles 9:27. Yet בּמּלאכה can in this connection quite well be used elliptically or concisely for “to be in service,” i.e., to carry on their musical duties. The second subscription (1 Chronicles 9:34) refers to all the Levites, and is similar in contents and form to that in 1 Chronicles 8:28.
The family of King Saul . - This register has already occurred in 1 Chronicles 8:29-38, along with those of other families of the tribe of Benjamin, and is repeated here only to connect the following history of the kingship with the preceding genealogical lists. It forms here the introduction to the narrative of Saul's death in 1 Chronicles 10:1-14, which in turn forms the transition to the kingship of David. The deviations of this register from that in 1 Chronicles 8:29-38, show that it has been derived from another document in more complete preservation than that in 1 Chron 8, which had been handed down in connection with other genealogies of the Benjamite families, and had suffered considerably in its text. See the commentary on 1 Chronicles 8:29-38.
The Keil & Delitzsch Old Testament Commentary is a derivative of a public domain electronic edition.
Keil, Carl Friedrich & Delitzsch, Franz. "Commentary on 1 Chronicles 9". https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany