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Bible Commentaries
1 Chronicles 23

Benson's Commentary of the Old and New TestamentsBenson's Commentary


A.M. 2989. B.C. 1015.

David declares Solomon his successor, 1 Chronicles 23:1 . Numbers the Levites, and appoints them their several offices, 1 Chronicles 23:2-5 . Takes an account of the families of the Levites, 1 Chronicles 23:6-23 . Reckons them from twenty years old, and appoints them their work, 1 Chronicles 23:24-32 .

Verse 1

1 Chronicles 23:1. He made Solomon king over Israel Not that he resigned the kingdom to him, but only declared his mind concerning Solomon’s succeeding him in the throne after his death. Thus David himself is called king, 1 Samuel 16:1, because he was appointed and anointed to be king after Saul’s death, though till then he was only a subject.

Verse 2

1 Chronicles 23:2. He gathered together all the princes, &c. Partly to declare God’s will, and his own desire, that Solomon should be his successor; and so to cut off the claims and pretences which others of his sons might have made to the crown; and partly to acquaint them with those directions which he had received from God, by the Spirit, as appears from 1 Chronicles 28:11, &c., concerning the establishment of a new order and method in the ministration of the priests and Levites in the temple.

Verse 3

1 Chronicles 23:3. From the age of thirty years and upward Not only till fifty, as it was appointed Numbers 4:2-3, but even till their death: for that was but a temporary law grounded upon a special reason, because the Levites were employed in carrying the tabernacle and sacred vessels from place to place; and therefore God would have them freed from those burdens when they came to feel the infirmities of age: which reason wholly ceasing upon the building of the temple, their work being far easier than it had been, and their service being more a privilege than a burden, their time of service is justly prolonged.

Verse 4

1 Chronicles 23:4. To set forward the work of the house of the Lord To take care that all the work of the temple, about sacrifices, should be punctually performed, either by themselves or others; which they were not to do all at once, but by courses, a thousand at a time. Six thousand were officers and judges Not in the affairs of the temple, there the priests presided, but in several parts of the kingdom, where they assisted the princes and elders of every tribe, in the administration of justice.

Verse 5

1 Chronicles 23:5. Four thousand were porters Whose office it was to take the charge of all the gates of the temple, and its courts, that no forbidden or unclean person might enter there, and of the courts themselves, and of the several chambers and buildings belonging to the temple and the service thereof. These also were to do their work by turns. Praised the Lord with instruments Whereof two hundred and eighty-eight persons were of greater skill than their brethren, and instructed them, and had some authority over them.

Verse 6

1 Chronicles 23:6. David divided them into courses Which he did not by his own invention, but, as a man of God, by his command, and with the advice and concurrence of Gad and Nathan the prophets, as is manifest from 2 Chronicles 8:14; 2 Chronicles 29:25.

Verse 13

1 Chronicles 23:13. That he should sanctify the most holy things That he might keep them from pollution: for these most holy things were polluted when they were touched by any other person. He and his sons for ever Not only his eldest sons the high-priests successively, but all his posterity, or all the priests: for the works here following were not peculiar to the high- priest, but common to all the priests.

Verse 14

1 Chronicles 23:14. His sons were named of the tribe of Levi They were accounted only as common Levites, and were not priests: which is mentioned for the honour of Moses, and the demonstration of his eminent piety and self-denial, who willingly left the government to Joshua, and the priesthood to Aaron, and was content to have his posterity reduced to a private and mean condition.

Verse 24

1 Chronicles 23:24. From the age of twenty years and upward As the Levites were anciently numbered from two several times, from the twenty-fifth year of their age, and from the thirtieth, (Numbers 4:3; Numbers 8:24,) in like manner they are here numbered, both from their twentieth year, when they were solemnly prepared for, and instructed, and by degrees exercised, in some parts of their work; and from their thirtieth year, when they were admitted to the full exercise of their office. And the reason why they were now sooner admitted to service than they had been formerly, is given in the next verses, because now their work was more easy, being wholly discharged from that burdensome work of carrying the tabernacle. Besides, the people of Israel were multiplied, therefore more hands were necessary; that every Israelite who brought an offering, might find a Levite ready to assist him.

Verse 27

1 Chronicles 23:27. By the last words of David By his last order and constitution, made by God’s direction, and by the Holy Spirit. This is here added to signify, that this great affair was thus settled by David, not in his younger years, when it might have been thought to have been the effect of youthful heat, presumption, and rashness, but when he was come to the greatest maturity, when he was old and near his death, and going to give up his account to his Lord and Maker of all his actions, and particularly of the alterations which he made in the service of God, which he declared was done by the Spirit of God. These were, in a manner, his dying words, which usually make the deepest impression.

Verse 28

1 Chronicles 23:28. In the purifying of holy things Holy places, and garments, and vessels, and sacrifices, which were to be washed and cleansed from any filthiness that might cleave to them.

Verse 29

1 Chronicles 23:29. For all manner of measure All measures used either in sacred or civil things, the public standards whereof were kept in the temple; and therefore the care of keeping them inviolable, and producing them upon occasion, must needs belong to the priests, and under them to the Levites, who were to examine other measures, and all things by them, as occasion required, that so the priests might be at leisure for their higher and greater employments.

Verses 30-32

1 Chronicles 23:30-32. To stand every morning, &c., and at evening The two solemn times of offering sacrifices: which work was attended with public prayer and thanksgiving. According to the order commanded unto them continually That is, unto those persons, the Levites, of whom he speaks. The charge of the sons of Aaron That is, what the priests should commit to their charge, or command them to do.

Bibliographical Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on 1 Chronicles 23". Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/rbc/1-chronicles-23.html. 1857.
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