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In this chapter we have some genealogies, but the emphasis is more on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the city God has chosen as His city, as it is after the exile. The highlights are the royal tribe of Judah, the priest tribe of Levi and the royal city of Jerusalem.
Nehemiah 11, where we find many names from this chapter, proves how difficult it has been to get Jerusalem inhabited again. After the return there had to come order again in Israel and especially in Jerusalem. This order has to some extent been restored. The genealogies played an important role in this. For those who went to live there, it meant that they lived in the direct presence of the King and of the temple.
Jerusalem After the Exile
We can interpret 1 Chronicles 9:1 as a kind of conclusion of the previous chapters. In the first part of the verse we read about the enrollment of the whole people in genealogies. Its importance is indicated in the second part of the verse, because there this enrollment is linked to the carrying away into exile to Babylon.
1 Chronicles 9:1 speaks of “all Israel”, although only a remnant, most of which belongs to the two tribes, has returned to Jerusalem. It shows that God always has the whole people in mind.
“the first who lived in their possessions in their cities” are divided into four groups: Israel, i.e. the normal citizens, the priests, the Levites and the temple servants (1 Chronicles 9:2).
Heads of Fathers’ Households
In 1 Chronicles 9:3, the two and ten tribes are mentioned. There is talk of Judah and Benjamin, the two tribes, and of Ephraim and Manasseh, which represent the ten tribes. We see the whole people of God. We too are bound to live according to the order that applies to all the people of God, which is God’s kingdom as it is now on earth. This must be done according to the instructions of the Lord of that realm which He gives in His Word.
There is talk of “the chief officer of the house of God” (1 Chronicles 9:11). The priests are called “very able men for the work of the service of the house of God” (1 Chronicles 9:13). This shows that they did the service in the house of God with the needed ability. To be a priest is one thing; to do priestly service in God’s house needs a God given ability. Here is talk of priest who have grown in their service: they are very able men.
Levites, Gatekeepers and Singers
The gatekeepers (1 Chronicles 9:17) must ensure that nothing enters God’s house that does not belong there. It is the task of every believer with regard to the present temple, the church of God, to watch over it (cf. Mark 13:34). For example, it means paying attention to what is taught, what gospel is brought, how is worshiped. The standard of assessment is that “all things” are “done for edification” (1 Corinthians 14:26).
Although all believers have the task of ensuring that what happens in the church is in accordance with God’s will, this task rests especially on the shoulders of elders or overseers. Besides the fact that the function of gatekeeper is important for the church, the vigilance of the gatekeeper is also important for our body, which is also a temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19). We have to watch what enters our hearts through our eyes and ears.
“The king’s gate” (1 Chronicles 9:18; 2 Kings 16:18) is the gate through which the king goes from his palace to the temple. This gate will always have been closed and only opened when the king goes through it to the temple and from the temple back to his palace (Ezekiel 44:2-Leviticus :). Although there is no king in Israel when the remnant has returned to Israel, this gate is still honored, probably in the hope that sooner or later the scepter will return to David’s house.
Can what is said of Pinehas also be said of us? “The LORD was with him” (1 Chronicles 9:20). This can be said of him because he watched over the honor of the LORD and stood up for it at the moment His honor was at stake (Numbers 25:6-Ezra :).
Something is said here about Samuel that we don’t read of him anywhere else (1 Chronicles 9:22). Here it appears that he not only as a prophet spoke the Word of God to the conscience of the people, but also contributed to the service in the house of God. After all, he also grew up in the immediate vicinity of the tabernacle and became completely familiar with the service in it. It is not a forgotten aspect of his service, but the Holy Spirit has thought it good to mention it only here. It reminds us that the service in the house of God must be fully in accordance with the Word of God.
Those who serve in the house of God also spend the night close to this house (1 Chronicles 9:27). This allows them to start their service as soon as they wake up. It is good for ministers to be close to their work, to the house of God, and to devote themselves fully to it. For us it means that we are constantly aware that we are in God’s house and that our whole daily life takes place there, while it is night in the world around us.
There is diversity and unity in the service of the Levites (1 Chronicles 9:28-Jonah :). We can learn from this that also in the church each has his or her own task to perform and that this task happens at the same time in unity with others.
The singers are never free (1 Chronicles 9:33). They are not with, but in the chambers and constantly praise God (“day and night”), as He, Who always does good, is due. Here the temple is a picture of heaven, of what is happening there (Revelation 4:8). “How blessed are those who dwell in Your house! They are ever praising You” (Psalms 84:4; Hebrews 13:15).
Genealogy of the Gibeonites
In 1 Chronicles 9:35, the historical part of the book begins, and it begins with again mentioning Saul’s genealogy (cf. 1 Chronicles 8:29-Matthew :). This is done to show the contrast with David. This is another illustration of the principle that the natural comes first and then the spiritual (1 Corinthians 15:46). We find this throughout the Bible. Thus we also read that God “takes away the first in order to establish the second” (Hebrews 10:9).
Saul is the king to the taste of the people, David is the king to the heart of God. We can already see a great difference in the activities of both persons at the time of their calling. Saul is searching for donkeys when he is promised the kingship (1 Samuel 9:3; 1 Samuel 9:19-Proverbs :; 1 Samuel 10:1); David is taken from behind the sheep to be anointed king (1 Samuel 16:10-1 Chronicles :). God is angry with His people when He gives Saul and even angrier when He takes him away (Hosea 13:11).
The kingship itself is according to God’s thoughts (Deuteronomy 17:14-Proverbs :), but that is a kingship according to the wishes of His own heart. God is the King of His people. He wants to give form to it in a human being. This man is the Man of His pleasure, His only begotten Son, who became Man. It is the kingdom of God, but the government over it is laid in the hands of a Man.
Kingcomments on the Whole Bible © 2021 Author: G. de Koning. All rights reserved. Used with the permission of the author
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de Koning, Ger. Commentaar op 1 Chronicles 9". "Kingcomments on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
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