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Bible Commentaries

Coke's Commentary on the Holy Bible

1 Chronicles 23

Verse 4

1 Chronicles 23:4. Were to set forward the work Were to preside over the works. Houbigant.

Verse 24

1 Chronicles 23:24. Twenty years and upward In the 3rd verse it is thirty years and upward; but it appears that a different poll is there referred to: and from the 25th and 26th verses it seems to follow, that David made this second appointment of the Levites from twenty years of age, after he had made the former one mentioned in the 3rd verse.

REFLECTIONS.—1st, David, having declared Solomon his successor, convokes a solemn assembly to recognize his appointment, and prevent all competition when he should sleep with his fathers, as he shortly expected, being now grown aged and infirm; and this aggravated the crime of Adonijah and his adherents. At this assembly, David perfected the settlement of the Levites.

1. He numbered them. Thirty-eight thousand men, a vast increase since the time of Moses, Num 4:48 even if we suppose that those above fifty were now reckoned, who were then omitted. It is a distinguished mercy to any people when God giveth the word, and great is the company of the preachers.

2. David appointed to them all their several employments. Twenty-four thousand were employed, by a thousand weekly, in rotation, to set forward the work of the temple, kill the sacrifices, wash, divide them, keep the temple and all the vessels clean and in order, and be assistants in all the service to the priests, &c. Six thousand were appointed judges and officers, as best skilled in the laws civil and ecclesiastical, and distributed through the cities of Israel, to maintain peace and execute justice. Four thousand were the porters, a kind of guards, to prevent any unfit person from entering into the temple, or going farther than their limits. Four thousand more were singers, divided into choirs, and constantly in succession praising God day and night. Note; (1.) The work will go on well, where every man knows his post and business. (2.) In whatever station a Levite is placed, diligence and zeal in the service of God is his bounden duty.

3. The whole were divided into three classes, according to the three sons of Levi, from whom they descended: thus the nearest relations were employed together. Those who are united in blood should be more united in love, and give assistance to each other. The family of Moses classes with common Levites, and has no mark of distinction; an evidence of the disinterested conduct of their great progenitor. Rehabiah, one of his descendants, is remarked for his numerous family. Aaron's family appears with chief dignity, consecrated to God, to minister in the most holy things. God has a right to choose his own servants; and it were impious and perjured hypocrisy, for any man to take this honour to himself, who is not inwardly moved by the Holy Ghost, and called of God.

2nd, The ark and all the sacred furniture being no more to be removed, as they had been during their marches through the wilderness, David, by divine appointment, makes an alteration in the age at which the Levites were to begin their ministration, from twenty years old and upwards (see Numbers 8:24.); and this was the more necessary, as the temple-service would be much more frequented than the tabernacle had been at Shiloh or Gibeon. Note; (1.) God proportions our strength to our burdens. (2.) If the harvest be plenteous, the Lord in mercy will raise up labourers. The particular business of the attendant Levites, who assisted the priests, is here marked out to them. 1. They were to keep the courts and chambers clean, prepare the sacrifices and meat and drink-offerings, that the priests might have them ready to their hands; and this with exactness, according to the weights and measures prescribed. 2. Others, morning and evening, at the time of the daily sacrifice, offered up praises to God, with vocal and instrumental music. 3. The porters were to take care that nothing came into or was carried out of the temple, contrary to the law; and to execute the commands of their brethren the priests. Note; Let not those whom God has advanced to honour grow proud and imperious; but remember, that, though exalted above their brethren, they are still to treat them as brethren.

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Bibliographical Information
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on 1 Chronicles 23". Coke's Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/tcc/1-chronicles-23.html. 1801-1803.