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Bible Commentaries
1 Chronicles 9

Preacher's Complete Homiletical CommentaryPreacher's Homiletical

Verses 1-44

CRITICAL NOTES.] In this chapter a list of inhabitants in Jerusalem (1 Chronicles 9:1-34); and genealogy of Saul repeated (1 Chronicles 9:35-44).

1 Chronicles 9:1-6.—Reckoned, registered in form of gen. First after captivity, 4 classes. Nethinims, root nathan, “to give,” a sort of hieroduli, or sacred slaves—persons given to Levites to perform lower and more laborious duties of sanctuary [Speak. Com.]. 1 Chronicles 9:3. Eph. and Man., some attached themselves to David when a fugitive, and were citizens of Jerusalem when it became capital (2 Chronicles 24:9). 1 Chronicles 9:4-6. Sons of Judah. Uthai, chief of family called after his name and not same as Athaiah in Nehemiah 11:4 [cf. Murphy]. 1 Chronicles 9:5. Shilonites (Shelani), family of Shelah, third son of Judah (ch. 1 Chronicles 4:21). Zerah, not mentioned after return, though an officer of this house was in Persian court (Nehemiah 11:24).

1 Chronicles 9:7-9.—Sons of Benjamin. Sallu’s gen. different from that in Nehemiah 11:7-8. 1 Chronicles 9:10-13. Three priests, heads of families in Jerusalem, origin of their names found in ch. 1 Chronicles 24:7-17.

1 Chronicles 9:14-16.—Levites. Shemaiah head (Nehemiah 11:15). Nehemiah and author of Chronicles fairly agree. The principal differences are that Nehemiah contracts “Obadiah” into “Abda” (1 Chronicles 9:17), gives Shemaiah an additional ancestor, Bunni (1 Chronicles 9:15), and in gon. of Mataniah substitutes “Zabdi” for “Zichri” (1 Chronicles 9:16) [Speak. Com.].

1 Chronicles 9:17-27.—Porters, i.e., keepers of the temple gates (2 Samuel 17:26; Mark 13:3; John 10:3). 1 Chronicles 9:18. Companies, orders or courses of service. 1 Chronicles 9:19. Korahites occupied a higher position, their office more directly connected with sacred service than others. 1 Chronicles 9:21. Porter, chief in reign of David (ch. 1 Chronicles 27:1-2; 1 Chronicles 27:2). Tabernacle, lit. tent of meeting (Exodus 29:42), and points to tabernacle on Mount Zion in time of David. 1 Chronicles 9:22. Seer, ancient popular term for prophet. 1 Chronicles 9:23. Children, office hereditary; wards, according to watches in set time. 1 Chronicles 9:24. Quarters (cf. 1 Chronicles 9:18 and ch. 1 Chronicles 26:14-16). 1 Chronicles 9:25. Seven (2 Kings 11:5), change of watch on Sabbath, which began at sunset. 1 Chronicles 9:26. Chambers, for use of priests (1 Kings 6:6; 1 Kings 12:18; 1 Kings 22:14). 1 Chronicles 9:27. Lodged daring week of office.

1 Chronicles 9:28-34.—Various other functions of Levites. Charge of vessels, “sacrificial bowls, trays for the shew-bread, and cups and flagons for the libations, vessels for holding stores not directly used in worship,” also 1 Chronicles 9:29. Charge of ointment, compounding which of special service, 1 Chronicles 9:30 (cf. Exodus 30:23). Charge of baking, 1 Chronicles 9:31. Charge of shew-bread, laid in order on table every Sabbath, 1 Chronicles 9:32 (cf. Leviticus 24:8). Charge of singing, 1 Chronicles 9:33, free from any special duty besides supervision, therefore could devote themselves night and day. 1 Chronicles 9:34. Closes first part of chapter.

1 Chronicles 9:35-44.—A repetition of ch. 1 Chronicles 8:29-38. Some propose to cancel in one place or other. This unnecessary, fitly given in both places. In ch. 8 an account of subdivisions of tribe of Benjamin, and could not properly omit the most celebrated family of that tribe, that of Saul. Here bent on connecting the genealogical section of work with historical, and find it most convenient to effect the junction by re-introducing the gen. of the person with whose death his historical section opens [Speak. Com.].


RETURNED EXILES.—1 Chronicles 9:2

First implies that others returned and settled afterwards in places not occupied by first. Numbers returned successively under Ezra, Nehemiah, and in later periods. Some who returned to the ancient inheritance had lived before time of captivity (Ezra 3:12; Haggai 2:4-10). Four classes, representatives mentioned.

1. Israelites. Laymen. The whole nation including Judah. The name “Jews” gradually supplanted the name “Israelites,” especially among foreigners.

2. Priests. Mediation essential idea of priesthood. Israel had representatives between them and Jehovah. The office typical, and a perpetual inheritance from father to Song of Song of Solomon 3:0. Levites. A special order to aid priests in higher functions. The first-born performed priestly offices before the organised temple service. To prevent disorder in domestic relations, and secure greater efficiency, primogeniture conferred upon tribe of Levi, which was to give undivided attention to duties of the sanctuary (Numbers 3:11-13). They had to guard tabernacle and temple, take charge of vessels, and encamp round the tabernacle to form a partition between it and the people.

4. Nethinims. As Levites, so these were given to help. A great increase of them when Gibeonites submitted (Joshua 9:23); enlargement made by David (Ezra 8:20). After return from captivity, their services most important on account of small number of Levites who returned (Ezra 2:40). These classes set forth different kinds of Christian work. “In the work of the service,” positions of trust and honour, duties lowly and menial, variety and unity. All appointed by God, calling forth ability and activity of man. “Who, then, is willing to consecrate himself?”

ABILITY FOR GOD’S SERVICE.—1 Chronicles 9:13-24

The return was a critical time, exposing to danger, requiring courage and physical strength. “Able men for the work of the service.” This ability requires

I. Intelligence to understand the work. It must be received as a divine appointment, “ordained in their set office” (1 Chronicles 9:22). No prosecution without comprehending its nature, design, and responsibilities. Porters and overseers, confectioners and singers, must train and cultivate gifts and power to work. Be well informed in the science of duty and of God. “Take your wise men, and understanding, and known among your tribes, and I will make them rulers over you.”

II. Perseverance to prosecute the work. They lodged all night (1 Chronicles 9:25); attended a week in turn (1 Chronicles 9:25); and were employed night and day. Many get tired, work half time, or leave entirely. The nobles bent not their necks to work, but Nehemiah continued at the wall (ch. 1 Chronicles 5:16). Steady, patient, faithful service acceptable to God. “Continue thou in the things which thou hast learned.” “Pray and stay are two blessed monosyllables” [Donne].

ORDER IN GOD’S SERVICE.—1 Chronicles 9:23-34

Extreme care taken to secure regularity and reverence in God’s house. “Order is heaven’s first law.”

I. In the appointment of officers to rule. Each his own place and authority. Priests at the altar, porters at the gate, and leaders in the choir. Times of duty and relief fixed. Many disorderly, unsympathetic, and fail. “For we sought him not after the due order” (1 Chronicles 15:13).

II. In the regular method of worship. Variety but unity. In sacrifices to present, bread to lay out, and songs to arrange, “they waited on their office according to their order.” Order gives cheerfulness, alacrity, and success. Disorder produces aversion, resistance, and failure. “Let all things be done decently and in order.” “God is not the author of confusion” (1 Corinthians 14:33-40).

“The least confusion but in one, not all
That system only, but the whole must fall” [Pope].

PEDIGREE OF SAUL.—1 Chronicles 9:35-44

To construct Saul’s genealogy, compare various statements in Scriptures (cf. 1 Samuel 9:1; 1 Samuel 14:51; 1 Chronicles 7:6-8; 1 Chronicles 8:29-33; 1 Chronicles 9:35-39). In the choice, anointing, and pedigree of Saul, which enter the history of Israel, notice—

1. The condescension of God. Both to human weakness, in asking a king, and to smallest and apparently trivial events in life.

2. The sovereignty of God. Independent of earthly and human relations. Saul not notable, from a prominent family; but unknown, “from the smallest family of the smallest of the tribes.”

3. The providence of God. In preserving the record for the instruction of others. “How has God, the Holy Ghost, stooped to become a historian of the smallest, most contemptible affairs on earth, in order to reveal to man, in his own language, in his own business, in his own ways, the purposes, the secrets, and the ways of the Deity” [Hamann].


1 Chronicles 9:1-2. Carried away.

1. The sin.
2. The punishment.
3. The return, and
4. The restoration. Many remained in Babylon, others returned to possessions, privileges, and honour. This typical of spiritual conduct. “A wonderful providence that as the land kept her Sabbaths for those seventy years, so the country should be all that while kept empty, till the return of the natives; for we read not that any colonies were sent thither, nor any displaced to make room for these at their return” [Trapp].

1 Chronicles 9:13. Very able men. Men of valour or men of work for the service; in either sense we get aptitude or fitness for service, bodily, mentally, and spiritually. “Able ministers of the New Testament” (2 Corinthians 3:6; cf. Ephesians 3:7; 1 Timothy 1:11-12).

1 Chronicles 9:20. Phineas, highly favoured.

1. God’s presence a mark of time. In individual life and national history. “The object of this verse is to mark the time to which the writer refers in the verse preceding” [Speak. Com.].

2. God’s presence the source of honour. “The ruler over them.”

3. God’s presence the source of success in effort. “The Lord was with him” in his action at Baal-peor (Numbers 25:0).

1 Chronicles 9:22. Samuel the seer a privileged person. One who receives dreams and visions, gets insight into divine revelation, and is consulted by the people. All teachers should be seers in opening the eyes and giving the light and knowledge of God (2 Corinthians 4:6).

1 Chronicles 9:26. Doorkeepers.

1. To open the doors of God’s house every morning and shut them at night (1 Chronicles 9:27).

2. To keep off the unclean and hinder those from intruding who were forbidden by the law.
3. To direct and introduce into the courts those who came to worship and facilitate their safety and profit [cf. Henry]. This required zeal, to be there first; patience, to stay until the last; and care, to be exact and successful. A mean employment in the estimation of many. Nothing mean for God. “I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.”

“The trivial round, the Common task,
Would furnish all we ought to ask—
Room to deny ourselves—a road
To bring as daily nearer God” [Keble].

Bibliographical Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on 1 Chronicles 9". Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/phc/1-chronicles-9.html. Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1892.
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